Pearls of Chamber Music

Chamber Music Compact
28–30 June 2024
Seven concerts in three days

When violinist Jonian Ilias Kadesha performs with cellist Vashti Hunter - his wife - and British pianist Nicholas Rimmer as Trio Gaspard, he casts a spell over the audience even before he has played the first note. With his wild curly hair, Kadesha resembles somewhat of a shaman. You would immediately believe that he is able to tame the four elements with his violin. It is breathtaking how he makes sounds flow as rivers of water, makes the air vibrate or bundles it into a hurricane. As a master of ceremony, he also knows the secret of musical transformations: In dialogue with the cellist and the pianist, Kadesha makes sensuous, earthy melody lines glow or transforms them into a blazing fire with the stroke of a bow. Who is the man?

A child in the artist
A critic once wrote about him that he had the appearance of a mad professor and the energetic playing style of a Paganini. The journalist was not only demonstrating his deep admiration for the musician and his art, but also how little he actually knew about this exceptional and versatile musician. Jonian Ilias Kadesha was born in Athens in 1992 to Albanian parents. He feels part of both cultures, says the violinist and emphasises that he had a wonderful childhood. His father gave him his first violin lessons. He was very strict, he remembers. "And I was very diligent!" In any case, he always found enough time for football and basketball or to fool around with his friends.

Unbridled curiosity
In addition to his music studies, Jonian Ilias Kadesha also studied philosophy and rhetoric. He has also always been interested in history. And acting. He describes his love of folk music as a passion. It has become his hobby to search for folk melodies and tinker with new styles. The violinist says that he also finds the simplicity and originality of Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven in the music of the 20th century. He is convinced that the way musicians see themselves needs to change: Kadesha advocates a holistic approach: in addition to playing, it must become a matter of course that a musician also composes and improvises. Simply reproducing pieces as an interpreter is not enough for him.

Creative programmes
He is an intellectual with creative potential. This is evident in the programmes he has put together for Ernen. The multi-award-winning Trio Gaspard will play seven short concerts over three days to kick off the festival. Plenty of time to get to know the musician better and ask him questions. For example, why the trio bears the name 'Gaspard'. Or how it feels to play all 46 of Haydn's piano trios. Haydn is a firm favourite in the trio's repertoire and will not be missing in Ernen. But the selected pieces are likely to shine in a new light.

Kadesha had the idea of combining Haydn's trios with works from the 20th and 21st centuries. To this end, he asked various prominent composers to write a short work inspired by one of Haydn's trios. The response to his idea was overwhelming. In addition to Leonid Gorokhov, Kit Armstrong, Sally Beamish, Helena Winkelman and Olli Mustonen, the famous Bernese-Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja also agreed to take part. The Swiss premiere of her brand-new work will be performed in the 5th chamber concert "Capriccio all'Ongarese" (30 June, 11 a.m.) in Ernen and will be accompanied by two Haydn trios and works by Sally Beamish and Nikos Skalkottas. An event not to be missed as part of Chamber Music Compact.

Chamber Music Compact | 28–30 June 2024 | Seven concerts in three days

On fire for the Trio Gaspard?

Buy your subscription

Not quite sure yet?

Discover the programmes of Chamber Music Compact

Listen to the music: Playlist 'Chamber Music Compact 2024' on Spotify

Written in December 2023, by Marianne Mühlemann (translated by Jonathan Inniger