Violin Concerto

Imagine having your master’s thesis in composition personally commissioned by a top international soloist and then released on that same soloist’s latest CD. That’s exactly what happened with Clarice Assad’s Violin Concerto, which was submitted in fulfillment of a composition degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The soloist in this instance is Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, who pairs Assad’s new work with one of the most celebrated violin concertos of all time, the Tchaikovsky, which she has surprisingly never before committed to disc. It’s an extremely tough act for anyone to follow, whether a grad student or a Pulitzer Prize winner, but Assad’s sometimes Zappa-esque and occasionally castanet-filled, Latin-tinged opus—she is, after all, the daughter of Brazilian guitar master Sergio Assad—proves an exciting complement to its older, more European-sounding companion.