Kreutzer Sonata & Sonata Mulattica

Tuesday 18 May
7.30pm - 9.30pm

Noah Bendix-Balgley (violin) 
Piers Lane (piano)
Sheila Johnson (speaker)

Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata, Violin Sonata No. 9, Op. 47 
Rita Dove Sonata Mulattica: A Life in Five Movements and a Short Play (excerpts from)

Arguably Beethoven's greatest Sonata for piano and violin, the “Kreutzer Sonata” will be performed interwoven with readings from U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove’s collection of poems, “Sonata Mulattica: A Life in Five Movements and a Short Play," published in 2009 about the life of Afro-European violinist George Bridgetower (1778–1860) .

What we now know as the “Kreutzer Sonata” was originally dedicated to George Bridgetower as "Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer [Bridgetower], gran pazzo e compositore mulattico". Shortly after completion, the work was premiered by Bridgetower and Beethoven on May 24, 1803 at the unusually early hour of 8:00 am! 

After the premiere performance Beethoven and Bridgetower had a falling out, causing Beethoven to change the dedication to Rodolphe Kreutzer, who was considered the finest violinist of the day.

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Artists' Biographies

Noah Bendix-Balgley - Richmond 2021 juror and guest artist 

Find out more about Noah Bendix-Balgley here

Piers Lane - Richmond 2021 juror and guest artist 

Find out more about Piers Lane here

Sheila Johnson 

Sheila C. Johnson is founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, overseeing a portfolio of properties including the Forbes Five Star-rated Salamander Resort & Spa. Sheila Johnson is a partner and Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment which owns the WNBA World Champions Washington Mystics (for which she serves as President and Managing Partner), NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards. She co-founded Black Entertainment Television and has served as executive producer of documentary and feature films. She was also a music teacher. At the request of Queen Noor of Jordan, her Young Strings in Action orchestra performed at the Jerash Festival garnering the Al Nada award, Jordan’s highest educational honor, from King Hussein. A fervent supporter of the arts, she endowed two chairs at the School of Music at her alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received a BS of Arts in Music.