March Masterworks:
Music for Friends

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 8 pm
Pre-Concert Talk at 7:15 pm
Memorial Hall, Melrose

Elgar - Enigma Variations
Shostakovich - Cello Concerto No. 1, Blaise Déjardin, cello

What does a Russian cello concerto from 1959 and an English orchestral work from 1898 have in common? Surprisingly, a lot.

Both pieces are dedicated to friends. Each variation in Elgar’s Enigma Variations features a “musical sketch” of one of his friends. Shostakovich dedicated his Cello Concerto to a friend who memorized it in just four days (it is considered to be one of the most difficult works for cello). Both works feature “musical cryptograms” – using initials of names hidden in its themes. And both works are hauntingly beautiful.

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About the Soloist


French-born cellist Blaise Déjardin was appointed principal cello of the Boston Symphony Orchestra by music director Andris Nelsons in 2018. He is the 14th musician to hold the position of Principal Cellist of the BSO since its founding in 1881. He is also a member of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, a founding member of the Boston-based string orchestra, A Far Cry, founder of the acclaimed Boston Cello Quartet alongside three BSO colleagues, and artistic director of the Boston Cello Society since its creation in 2015.

He has arranged numerous pieces for cello, including commissions from Yo-Yo Ma, and launched an online sheet music publishing company, Opus Cello. He holds degrees from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique of Paris and New England Conservatory.