Photo: Davide Cerati

Renowned Italian-American violinist Francesca Dego and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra have announced the UK premiere of a Violin Concerto composed in the early 1940s by the Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. The performance on 8 March 2017 titled When in Rome will be conducted by the sought-after Italian conductor Daniele Rustioni. The concert will be followed by a new recording of the concerto which will feature both Wolf-Ferrari’s Violin Concerto and Paganini’s Violin Concerto Number 1 and is to be released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

Although the composer is better known as a writer of Italian comic opera, Wolf-Ferrari’s Violin Concerto has remained for many years on the fringes of the violin repertoire. The work received its first performance in 1943 from Guila Bustabo, the violinist for whom it was written. Speaking about the Concerto, Francesca comments: “One day I would love to see the Wolf-Ferrari Violin Concerto as part of standard violin repertoire. It’s practically never performed and I think it is a beautiful piece that deserves to be heard. Wolf-Ferrari developed a strong attachment to Guila Bustabo (who was coincidentally the same age as me when she gave the world premiere). This probably explains the predominant tone of rather intense, lyrical yearning. It’s like being immersed in an Italian Opera written for the violin!

Francesca Dego will also give the South African premiere of the concerto with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in February. This season sees Francesca perform on all 6 inhabited continents. Her recent and forthcoming highlights include débuts with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Grosses Orchester Graz, Gürzenich Orchester Cologne and Mannheimer Philharmoniker, as well as UK recitals with pianist Francesca Leonardi.