Olivia De Prato


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The violinist Olivia De Prato has an interesting history: after mainstream studies in Vienna, she came to the U.S. and for a time continued along similar lines at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. But then she moved to New York, became fascinated by the city's avant-garde scene, and has been identified with contemporary music ever since. She has appeared on various albums with her own Mivos Quartet as well as other works, but Streya (2018) is her solo debut album. Publicity from the New Focus label promises "a broad cross section of some of the most versatile and interesting composers active today: Reiko Füting, Missy Mazzoli, Taylor Brook, Ned Rothenberg, Victor Lowrie, and Samson Young." At least three of these are from De Prato's immediate circle, and Victor Lowrie, whose solo violin composition Streya lends the album its title, is her husband. Nevertheless, the program delivers the promised variety. Some of the works use electronics, while others are for solo violin. Sample the opening attraction, Samson Young's Ageha.Tokyo, which takes the violin to technical extremes and blends it inventively with electronic layers. Missy Mazzoli's Vespers for Violin, nominated for a Grammy award for contemporary composition, likewise uses electronics; the work is extracted from and elaborated upon a section of a larger Mazzoli work. The title composition has clear links to the virtuoso violin tradition of Ysaÿe, but pushes it tonally. Whatever the style, De Prato approaches it confidently, and you might pick this album for an introduction to some new New York, electro-acoustic sounds as well as to De Prato's specific virtues.

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