Other Events

Ernest Brown World Music Series
Joana Genova & Friends – Bartok & the Balkans

The Williams College Department of Music presents Joana Genova & Friends – Bartok & the Balkans. The performance takes place on Friday, March 1, at 8 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. This free event is open to the public.

The notion that music genres follow straight lines and that artists hand down traditions in unbroken chains of experience is just one of the ideas challenged in this concert of “classical” music. The composers featured on the concert all had a fascination with Eastern European folk music. By studying and incorporating elements of folk music in their works, they exerted a great deal of influence on music of the twentieth century, challenging musicians and audiences to seriously consider folk music as an art form. Bartok was especially fascinated by the folk music that surrounded him. During his lifetime he collected and classified more than 14,000 folk melodies of Hungarian, Slovak, Rumanian, Croatian, Turkish, Bulgarian, and North African origin.

The Hungarian Bela Bartok, and the Bulgarian composers Georgi Zlatev-Cherkin, Petar Chirstoskov, and Pancho Vladigerov, were very self conscious in their efforts to capture the essence of folk music in their work. This cross-pollination yielded works full of fire and innovation. They explored bold new tonalities, borrowed exotic rhythm patterns and time signatures, and married these elements with highly organized written structures. They created a new bridge between the oral traditions of Eastern Europe and the chamber music of Western Europe.

Ms. Genova is joined on this evening by fellow violinist, Joel Pitchon, violist Ariel Rudiakov, cellist Ronald Feldman in a performance of String Quartet no. 2, op. 17 by Bela Bartok. Pianist Elizabeth Wright collaborates on Bartok’s Roumanian Folk Dances, Sevdana by Zlatev-Cherkin, “Two Caprices for Solo Violin” by Christoskov, and works of Vladigerov.

Violinist Joana Genova, artist associate in violin at Williams College, has an active career as a chamber musician, orchestral player, teacher and soloist. She began playing violin at the age of six in her native Bulgaria and made her solo debut at the age of 12 with the Plovdiv Chamber Orchestra. She is a prizewinner of the National Competition in Bulgaria and has appeared as soloist with the Plovdiv Symphony Orchestra and Shumen Philharmonic. Ms. Genova received her Bachelor of Music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and her Master’s degree in chamber music at the Rotterdam Conservatory. Her teachers included Peter Brunt, Ilya Grubert and Prof. Samuel Thaviu. In Holland, Ms. Genova was concertmaster of the Amsterdam Bach Consort and a member of Amsterdam Sinfonietta.

Since 2000, Ms. Genova has lived in the U.S. where she is the principal second violin of the Berkshire Symphony, concertmaster of the Manchester Chamber Orchestra and a member of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. She is on the summer faculty at the Manchester Music Festival, and teaches violin at the Michael Rudiakov Music Academy in Vermont. Ms. Genova is active as chamber musician for the Manchester Music Festival and the Williams Chamber Players. Her collaborations include performances with the Shanghai String Quartet, Andres Cardenes, Nathaniel Rosen, Michael Rudiakov,Yehuda Hanani, Ruth Laredo, Davide Cabassi, David Deveau, Adam Neiman, and David Krakauer, among others. Ms. Genova has performed as soloist with Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, Metropolitan, Rockaway and Danbury Symphonies, Berkshire Symphony, and Manchester Festival Orchestra.

This concert is part of the Ernest Brown World Music Series bringing musicians from across the globe to share their musical talents with the Williams College community. The series is named for Professor Emeritus Ernest D. Brown, who taught at Williams from 1988 to 2011.