Photo: Alexander Trizuljak
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
In the largely bright and airy E major score, Pochekin holds each dance-like miniature so captivatingly ‘en pointe‘ that it is hard to remain in your seat, and even in the darker abysses of the A minor sonata and the D Minor partita, he lightens the load with countless nimble touches and reminds us that the greatness of music evolves naturally and can’t be forced. An outstanding achievement.
In 2024, the Czech Republic celebrates its “Year of Czech Music.“ It’s a year filled with the anniversaries of several important composers, among them Antonín Dvořák, who passed away 120 years ago. Reason enough for violinist Mikhail Pochekin to dedicate an album to this composer’s oeuvre for violin and orchestra.
“I have long felt a strong connection with and deep admiration for Dvořák’s music. I performed his violin concerto for the first time about twelve years ago, while I was studying in Munich with my dear teacher Ana Chumachenko, and since then, it has found a very special place in my repertoire.“ The long personal history which connects violinist Mikhail Pochekin with Dvořák’s music has grown rich fruits on the present CD, on which the complete works for violin and orchestra by the Czech composer have been recorded. In the Slovak Philharmonics and their chief conductor Daniel Raiskin, who joined the philharmonics four years ago, Pochekin has found ideal partners for this project. Produced in Bratislava’s beautiful Reduta concert hall, it is an outstanding publication. “During the recording, we had a very special atmosphere, there were lively emotions and totally spontaneous moments. And I believe that in this way we have created a fresh and lively recording. I truly hope that our audience, when listening to this CD, can feel the same energy and joy that we experienced while recording it,“ says Pochekin.
The fascination which Pochekin feels for this music is apparent in every bar. “Dvořák was truly a magnificent composer, a master of orchestration, and he composed incredibly beautiful melodies; his harmonies were absolutely magical. And when we listen to this music, it sinks deep into our heart. I can feel an unbelievable humanity and generosity in his works.“ And this has affected Pochekin‘s interpretation as well: Dvořák’s magical melodies resound in all their splendor and transport much from the special atmosphere of their times. “I think that it is important for interpreters of Dvořák’s music to understand the world in which he lived and composed. Folklore, folk dances, the atmosphere in Prague, the character of the native people – you have to emphasize with all of that deeply. Our work on this CD was a great joy and inspiration for me. I got the feeling that Dvořák’s music is like a mother tongue, a native language for the musicians of the Slovak Philharmonics and Daniel Raiskin.“ A mother tongue which, incidentally, also has connections to the land in which Mikhail Pochekin has lived for 25 years: Spain. “Mazurek“ (the fifth track on this CD) is dedicated to the Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate.
Mikhail Pochekin’s impressive artistic charisma has gained him the admiration of his audience, while his musical talent has been lauded by international critics and many of the best orchestras across the globe. Over the last few years, he had the privilige of performing with, among others, the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Lithuanian National Orchestra, the Neubrandenburger Philharmonie, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra.
Mikhail Pochekin has performed in numerous concert halls across the world. Music to him is a universal language in which he can communicate with very different people. Solo performances have led him to renown festivals and concert halls like the Munich Gasteig, Auditoria Nacional de Música Madrid, Tchaikovsky concert hall in Moscow, National Philharmonics in Kiev, Ukraine, Kronberg Academy Festival, the Great Hall at Stiftung Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Concordia International Festival of Contemporary Music in Kazan.
He has been working with the Live Music Now foundation for many years. He has collaborated with conductors duch as Vasily Sinaisky, Stanislav Kochanovsky, Heinz Holliger, Daniel Raiskin, Valentin Uryupin, Mei-Ann Chen and Sebastian Tewinkel. In 2019, he published his album “Six sonatas and partitas BWV 1001-1006“ for solo violin by J.S. Bach under the German label Solo Musica. The CD was lauded highly by international critics. A special highlight of his career his Pochekin‘s duo with his brother, violinist and violist Ivan Pochekin. In 2021, Mikhail’s recording of Mozart’s Violin Concerto Nr. 5 and the Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola together with his brother Ivan and the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester was released under the label Hänssler Classic. In 2022, his recording of Mendelssohn’s Concert in E Minor and Bruch’s Violin Concerto Nr. 2, recorded with the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen and Sebastian Tewinkel, was released.
In 1990, Mikhail Pochekin was born into a musical family: His father is a violin maker, his mother a violin teacher. Thus, the sounds of the violin accompanied his earliest childhood. At the age of five, he began taking classes with G.S. Turchaninova and then continued his studies with Viktor Tretiakov, Rainer Schmidt and Ana Chumachenco, whose teaching forever changed him as a person and musician. The master classes with Christian Tetzlaff likewise had a great effect on his artistic development. Already at a young age, Pochekin won prices at different renown international competitions, among them Premio Rodolfo Lipizer, Pablo Sarasate International Violin Competition and the Jascha Heifetz International Violin Competition.
Mikhail Pochekin lives in Landshut and Madrid. He is the co-founder and artistic director of the Landshut Kammermusikfestival in Bavaria, which has been organized by the “Freunde der Musik e.V. Landshut“ since August 2023. In 2008, he received the Pablo Sarasate National Award in Spain, after which he received an invitation by the Royal Conservatory of Madrid to play a concert on the Antonia Stradivarious Ex Boissier, which once belonged to the famous Spanish violinist.