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Originally published Friday, April 6, 2012 at 5:32 AM

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Violinist Augustin Hadelich will be Seattle Symphony's guest

Violinist Augustin Hadelich, a favorite of Seattle audiences, will appear with Seattle Symphony Orchestra on April 12-14, 2012. The program will include Tchaikovsky's famous Fourth Symphony and Dvorák's Violin Concerto in A minor.

Special to The Seattle Times

CONCERT PREVIEW

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Program includes Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony and Dvorák's Violin Concerto in A minor; Augustin Hadelich, violin, Peter Oundjian, guest conductor, 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. April 14, Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $17-$110 (206-215-4747 or www.seattlesymphony.org). Note: Shorter, intermission-free "Rush Hour" program is 7 p.m. April 13.
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There are concertos that virtuoso violinist Augustin Hadelich could play all the time and never become weary of them.

Dvorák's Violin Concerto in A minor, which the charismatic former child prodigy will perform with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra next week, is not one of them.

"It's a piece I've been playing for a long time, though not for a while," says the 27-year-old from his home in New York City. "It's one of the strongest, most dramatic concertos in the repertoire. But many parts of it are really fiery and require huge energy.

"If you play it too often, it's not possible to always play it 100 percent. So I'm really excited to revisit it in Seattle."

Written for and dedicated to one of the 19th century's most important violinists, Joseph Joachim, the unusual form of Dvorák's 1879-80 composition dissuaded the latter from playing it. It debuted in Prague in October 1883, played by Dvorák's fellow Czech, Frantisek Ondrícek.

"It has a strong Czech character in its melodies and harmonies," says Hadelich. "It's very lyrical. The first movement is quite short and goes right into the second movement. It's very intense and I'm short of breath when I get that far. The last movement is very fast. But much of it is serene and beautiful."

On Thursday and Saturday, the concerto is on a bill that includes Baltimore composer Christopher Rouse's 1981 "The Infernal Machine" and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F minor. Peter Oundjian, music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducts.

Hadelich also appears on a shorter, "Rush Hour" version of the program next Friday. On Sunday afternoon, an informative "Beyond the Score" multimedia presentation and talk precede a performance of the Tchaikovsky (sans the Dvorák and Rouse).

Critically acclaimed for his versatility, maturity and distinctive spontaneity, Hadelich's long road to fulfilling his potential is nothing less than deeply moving.

Born to German parents and raised in Italy's rural Tuscany, Hadelich began playing violin at age 5, taught by his father, an amateur cellist, and occasionally by Uto Ughi, an Italian master.

At age 15, Hadelich was badly burned in a fire at his family's vineyard. His injuries resulted in a long recovery and multiple surgeries, and affected his bowing arm.

"The injuries went down to the muscles and tendons," he says. "I didn't play for two years. It was a very, very hard time. When I would think about playing again, I was almost a little bit scared of trying.

"I lost a lot of valuable time. It took me a while to find the courage and ambition to want to be a great violinist. I moved to New York and attended Juilliard, and that environment was very stimulating. I resumed playing and it became clear how far I had to go. I worked very hard again."

Tom Keogh: tomwkeogh@gmail.com

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