Born in Italy to German parents, Augustin Hadelich began learning the violin at the age of five having been inspired to do so by his older brothers (a cellist and a pianist). One of his greatest childhood inspirations was the discography of David Oistrakh. He trained at the Istituto Mascagni in Livorno, then The Juilliard School as a pupil of Joel Smirnoff , where he gained graduate and artist diplomas. Hadelich suffered a severe setback in 1999 when a fire at his parents’ farm left his upper body and bowing arm badly burned. After a two-year hiatus, however, he resumed his playing career and quickly became a regular participant at prominent festivals, including those at Marlboro, Ravinia, La Jolla and Aspen.
A particular feature of Hadelich’s musical output is his writing of cadenzas (published on his website). As he puts it himself: ‘I love composing my own cadenzas—I actually find that I learn a lot about a piece that way! It’s very difficult to write cadenzas for Mozart concertos—each time I perform them I make huge changes. Ideally, a cadenza should be interesting and funny, but also fit into the piece in a natural way, without putting the whole movement off-balance.’
Hadelich’s small output of recordings to date reveals a very capable interpreter in the usual modern mould. His Haydn Concerto No. 3 (2007) is a standard interpretation for the twenty-first century: there is some influence of the historically-informed movement in his brisk tempi and tonal restraint, but otherwise the performance is of the mainstream. His Ysaÿe and Debussy sonatas (2009 and 2010) are confident performances. It is (perhaps a little surprisingly) Hadelich’s 2007 solo Telemann disc that shows him at his best, the Fantasie No. 2 being particularly vibrant and intense. There is little pretence here at authentic Baroque style but the performance is all the better for it and sounds relaxed and comfortable, echoing, perhaps, Hadelich’s interest in the spontaneity of cadenzas.
One expects Hadelich, still in his twenties at the time of writing, to develop further as an artist in the coming years; based on the evidence of these early discs, he is destined to be a fine player on record.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Milsom (A–Z of String Players, Naxos 8.558081-84)
See Augustin Hadelich’s Naxos interview
Naxos Violinist Augustin Hadelich receives Borletti-Buitoni trust Fellowship