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February 1, 2020 – Karl Stobbe & Andrew Armstrong

Dear music lover,Judy Bandsmer

Virtuosi Concerts features one of Winnipeg’s most prominent musicians in recital. WSO violinist and MCO Concertmaster Karl Stobbe is “an artist with a soulful musicality,” wrote a critic in the San Francisco Classical Voice. He is “a master soloist, recalling the golden age of violin playing” (London’s Sunday Times). His collaborator is virtuoso pianist Andrew Armstrong, celebrated for a sound which is “always fine-tuned to the needs of his duo partner in flawless synchronicity” (The Arts Desk).  Together, they have produced an original programme designed to highlight the unique voice of Carl Nielsen’s violin sonata while reflecting a combination of German and Nordic soundscapes.

Karl has performed in many of North America’s most famous concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall, the National Arts Centre, Roy Thompson Hall, Segerstrom Hall, and the Orpheum Theatre. Avie Records’ recording of Karl performing Ysaÿe’s Solo Violin Sonatas received worldwide attention, including Gramophone magazine, which hailed it as “full of spirit and energy… exciting, fearless…” It was nominated for a 2015 JUNO Award for best Classical Album: Solo or Chamber Ensemble, and was the winner of the 2015 Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Album of the Year. Most recently, he has recorded Leclair’s Op. 3 Sonatas for two violins with Gwen Hoebig on Analekta.

A lover of all things violin, Karl completed a minor in Violin Repair and Construction while completing his Masters of Music at Indiana University. His passion for the construction and mechanics of the violin is an important part of his professional musical life, and continues to influence his performances and teaching. He has given multiple presentations on the history of the violin family, violin building and repair, and organized showings and lecture recitals on rare, fine instruments at various concert halls, art galleries, universities, and conservatories.

A Winnipeg Free Press reviewer wrote that Karl Stobbe is “a performer who compels his listeners,” and that his concerts are like “a clinic in the art of violin playing.”

Here is his artistic vision for Saturday’s concert: 

"It is an honour to collaborate with Andrew Armstrong, one of the world’s great pianists. Andrew and I have known each other for many years, but this will be our first concert together in Winnipeg. In selecting a program, we wanted to present chamber music that showcases the power and beauty of the violin and piano as individual, yet complementary instruments, and we wanted to create a program with an original sound world that offered audiences a little bit of novelty. Nielsen, the great nationalist composer of Denmark, was an obvious place to look. I asked Andrew to listen to his second violin sonata, a work I had recently come across. We were both immediately drawn to it, and were determined our program would highlight its unique voice.

Nielsen’s second violin sonata is a rare masterpiece, exploiting the extremes of the two instruments with a combination of shy fragility and explosive power. To me, Nielsen has always been a musical bridge between his fellow Scandinavian composers, and his German neighbours to the south. Sibelius’ five dances presents a very charming Scandinavian pairing, while Brahms’ forceful, fiery final Sonata shows a different connection to Nielsen’s world. To open the concert, we present one of Nielsen’s traditional partners in Mozart, with his exuberantly joyful A Major Sonata. We look forward to bringing this wonderful music to Virtuosi Concerts, and hope you enjoy it as much as we do!"


You will appreciate the passion and excitement that these two artists bring to a very original program – inspired by the spiritual sense of “Nordic Gods”. As Karl wrote, the concert includes “music that will be new, and music that encompasses the great lineage of expression and colour that the violin and piano pairing has to offer.”




Young Artist Program

Paulina Gonzalez completed her Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Sonora in Mexico. She has performed in music festivals such as Fiestas del Pitic 2014 accompanied by the Sonora's Youth Orchestra. In 2015 she was selected by the University of Sonora to participate as a soloist in the Alfonso Ortiz Tirado Festival and The Pitic International Festival in May of 2016 and 2018. She participated in the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart with the Manitoba Underground Opera in August 2018, and as La Paix in the Barroque Chamber Opera Les Arts Florissants at the University of Manitoba in November 2018. In August 2019, Paulina appeared with Manitoba Underground Opera as a soloist in their project  Lost Voices. In November, she appeared as Esilena in Handel’s opera Rodrigo, as part of the chamber opera of the University of Manitoba. Paulina is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance under the tutelage of Tracy Dahl at the University of Manitoba. Tune into Classic 107 Thursday morning at 8:30 am to hear what Paulina has to say about her Virtuosi Young Artist Debut!