Young Spinner of Silken Tones

Many current stars of the classical music world were chosen for Young Concert Artists Awards very early in their careers. Judging by her recital at Zankel Hall on Monday, the 21-year-old Japanese violinist Mayuko Kamio is standing on the gilded threshold.

Ms. Kamio won first prize at the Young Concert Artists Auditions when she was 13 and made her New York recital debut in 2003. Recent prizes include the gold medal at the 2007 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

Virtuosity is abundant these days, and musicians conquer Everest-like technical hurdles with calm insouciance. Ms. Kamio, another talent from the seemingly bottomless well of noteworthy young female violinists, certainly had technique to burn as well.

But on Monday she was distinguished by her warmly luxurious, buttery tone and long, seamless phrases.

Ms. Kamio performed repertory ideally suited to her gifts, including Karol Szymanowski's "Fontaine d'Aréthuse" from "Mythes" (Op. 30), which opened the program. A Polish composer whose catalog includes several operas, symphonies and a number of piano works, Szymanowski wrote three "Mythes" in 1915, when he was greatly inspired by Debussy and Ravel.

The influence of the French composers is immediately apparent in "La Fontaine," particularly the impressionistic piano writing. Ms. Kamio, who sways gracefully while playing her 1727 Stradivarius (previously owned by the violinist Joseph Joachim), spun out singing lines and fluid trills above the watery piano patterns.

Her distinctive phrasing was also elegant in Franck's Sonata in A. Noreen Polera was the strong, sensitive accompanist, although she often didn't match Ms. Kamio's finesse and sometimes sounded rather perfunctory in Beethoven's "Kreutzer" Sonata, which seemed more a showcase for Ms. Kamio's fiery passion than a partnership of equals.

The program concluded with Tchaikovsky's Valse-Scherzo (Op. 34), during which Ms. Kamio again demonstrated her silken tone and ability to elongate phrases without milking them mercilessly.

As an encore she performed the "Mélodie" from Tchaikovsky's "Souvenir d'un Lieu Cher," another vehicle for her lyrical gifts and impassioned playing.

Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times
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