All live music performances are unique in their own way, but some performances have an extra dose of once-in-a-lifetime specialness. Our upcoming Solo Bravura violin recital on March 14, which is part of the 2024 Artist Residency, is one of those truly special and truly unique performances.

Noah Bendix-Balgley has programmed an incredibly difficult violin recitala violinist’s dream or their worst nightmare — featuring a series of technical Everests for solo violin by Paganini, Bach, Corigliano, and Béla Bartók.

Hungarian composer Béla Bartók was one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, and beyond his unique contributions to Western music (of which there are many), Bartók has a unique connection to Asheville.

Already one of Europe’s great composers, Bartók was suffering from financial difficulties and what he thought was tuberculosis when he arrived in Asheville in 1943. The ailing composer, 62 at the time, spent his days in Asheville at the Albermarle Inn attempting to recover from what was actually leukemia with little success. Despite his failing health, Bartók continued to work, translating the lyrics of several thousand Romanian folk songs, rewriting some portion of his Concerto for Orchestra, and completed his Sonata for Solo Violin, the same Sonata that Noah Bendix-Balgley will be performing March 14.

Noah sent us a picture of his score, which you can see here – if you look at the final measure you can see it is dated as having been completed on March 14, 1944 —  exactly 80 years to the day before Noah’s upcoming performance of the work.

This work was commissioned by Bartók’s friend and one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century: Yehudi Menuhin.

Born in New York in 1916, Menuhin was known during his lifetime worldwide for his legendary performances, his gentle spirit, and his support of young artists, including the creation of the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists dubbed “the Olympics of the Violin.”

Even in his later years, Menuhin continued to travel around the world inspiring young and established musicians alike, including Asheville-native Noah Bendix-Balgley:

“This is me with Yehudi Menuhin. I was 9 years old — it was 1992. I met and played for him in Switzerland.

Of course it was Menuhin who commissioned the sonata that Bartók composed in Asheville (it was actually a way for Menuhin to support Bartók financially with the commission, since Bartók was not in good shape financially, and he refused to accept charity from friends and supporters).”

Don’t miss the chance to hear this incredibly challenging work with a connection to Asheville history performed by Noah Bendix-Balgley, concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic and who once performed for the man responsible for the creation of the work itself.

In addition to the monumental Bartók Sonata for Solo Violin, this program includes Paganini’s fiendishly challenging Caprice No. 24, Bach’s formidable first violin sonata, and Corigliano’s bluegrass- and jazz-inspired “STOMP” written for scordatura violin.

Get your tickets to Solo Bravura