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Violinist prepares Shostakovich masterpiece

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — _WebHeadline”>EXCERPT: Written in 1947-48 while the Soviet government denounced the composer, it premiered after Stalin’s death in 1953.

South Korean violinist Yoonshin Song’s Chinese first name translates into “whole trust and belief.”

“It means I can be trusted by everyone and everything and I trust and believe in everything everywhere,” she said in a telephone interview from Detroit, where she was the concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony before being appointed to the same position at the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

Violinist Yoonshin Song.

Song will display that trust when she perform Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto with the New Mexico Philharmonic on Saturday, March 21, at Popejoy Hall.

Written in 1947-48 while the Soviet government denounced the composer, it premiered after Stalin’s death in 1953. A sonic journey, it unfolds from an eerie opening and dazzling scherzo to a Baroque passacaglia with one of the longest and most challenging cadenzas written for the violin.

“Like all of Shostakovich, it has a very unique voice,” Song said. “It’s very scary but beautiful, the sarcasm of it I really enjoy. Obviously, Shostakovich was going through a very difficult time. He was oppressed, but he still wanted to show the many expressions of human beings.

“It has humor, it has dance,” she added. “It finishes almost like a crazy person dancing.”

Song began playing the violin at the age of 5. Her mother loved classical music.

“My brother and I started playing because her dream was for us to play one line of Mozart,” she said.

Encouraged by her teacher, Song began taking the instrument seriously by the time she reached “9 or 10.”

“I guess when I was playing I really liked the register of the violin and the sound,” she said. “It is a very difficult instrument; you have to stand in an awkward position. At the same time, you’re having fun on stage. I enjoy wearing a puffy dress.”

Song moved to Boston in 2015 to study at the New England Conservatory of Music, then to New York to study at the Manhattan School of Music. She is the top prize winner of many competitions, including the Stradivarius International Competition in the U.S., Poland’s Lipinski Wieniawski Competition, the Lipizer in Italy and the Henri Marteau in Germany.

The New Mexico Philharmonic will perform selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

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