Christine Walevska has been center stage in the cello world ever since her first international concert appearances at the age of eighteen inspired the accolades normally reserved for star performers of mature years. The Los Angeles music critic Patterson Greene wrote: “…She parallels on the cello the single persuasiveness of Fritz Kreisler on the violin…” Within two years she won a scholarship to study with the great Maurice Marechal at the Paris Conservatoire, where two years later she became the first American ever to win First Prize in cello and Chamber Music.
Her rise was meteoric, beginning her career in Germany where in her second season she played 45 concerts in that country alone. Following a series of international triumphs, including heralded appearances at Buenos Aires’ famed Theatro Colon, where she performed a Recital, the Brahms double concerto with Henryk Szeryng and the Dvorak cello concerto in the same week to rave notices, there soon followed a round of appearances that sounded like a roll-call of the great European cities.
In over thirty years of concertizing across the globe she has played with orchestras throughout Germany, the United States, France, in every corner of Spain, Poland, Mexico, Central and South America,(where she has brought music to every big city or small, where ever there is a concert hall with an orchestra or piano to accompany her) in Holland with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Hague, in the Concertgebouw, the Stockholm Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, Vienna, Prague, Cuba the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dresdener Philharmonic, recitals in Japan, and lately, her first tour playing concerts in China and Hong Kong.
Her recording career has been similarly impressive. At 21-years old, she made her first record on the Philips label, of “Schelomo”, “Koi Nidrei”, and the Schumann concerto with the l’Orchestre de l’Opera de Monte Carlo, and so astonishing the critic of the San Francisco Chronicle who called it: “…the greatest recording in the cello catalog…”. As an exclusive Philips artist, she has also recorded concertos by Dvorak and Tschaikowski Rococo variation with the London Philharmonic, Prokofiev, Kachaturian Concertos with the Complete works for Cello and Orchestra by Saint-Saens with l’Orchestra de l’Opera de Monte Carlo, four Vivaldi concerti with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, and the two Haydn Cello Concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra.
Her playing was greatly admired by Jascha Heifetz and Arthur Grumiaux.
Arhur Rubinstein said of her: “… Christine Walevska has the most sensuous tone I have ever heard on the cello… She is the only cellist, who takes my breath away…”
Claudio Arrau, yet another from the ranks of great pianists, said: “…Christine Walevska is the world’s greatest cellist…”
Many composers have dedicated works to her, including Aram Kachaturian, Ferde Grofe (titled: “Christine”), Jose Bragato and Ennio Bolognini, who wanted her to be the only cellist to continue to play his compositions.
The violinist, Josef Suk, Dvorak’s great grandson, wrote to her and stated that her interpretation of Dvorak’s cello concerto was the greatest he had ever heard. He invited her to play it at the Prague Spring Festival and she has played since with the Suk Chamber Orchestra in the concerts: “Jewels of the PragueCastle.”
During the Anniversary year of Dvorak, 2004, she was invited to play the Dvorak Cello Concerto in many cities of the world. In a wave of concerts from Beiking to Brasil including three performances with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra in Italy.
The recording she made with the London Philharmonic of the Dvorak concerto was celebrated in a recent book by Prof. Fabio Uccelli: El Commiato de Anton Dvorak, (Dvorak’s Farewell), published in Florence, entirely devoted to analyzing this work in depth. The book analyzes phrase by phrase her interpretation with that of Rostropovitch. Because of this book, during the Dvorak anniversary year, she had a wave of invitations to play the concerto everywhere from Beijing to Brazil. She played the concerto three times with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. The book is dedicated to Christine Walevska as: “the world’s greatest interpreter of Dvorak’s cello concerto.” This book with multimedia excerpts can be read and heard at: http://conoscenza.8k.com.
For more info, please read the following interview by Tim Janof: