Review: Roll over Paganini, teen virtuoso is the news

Written by: Saira Araiza / Staff Writer

03/19/2013

A HEAVENLY TALENT– Annelle Kazumi Gregory is just 17 years old, but put on a masterful performance in Mayan Hall.
Photo by Karen Tome/Staff

Legend has it that the prodigious violinist Niccolò Paganini sold his soul to the devil in trade for his talent. Any deal Annelle Gregory may have made had to involve angels. She can make her violin sing like one.

Gifted is hardly sufficient to describe the 17-year-old virtuoso who gave a spell-binding African-American History Month performance in Mayan Hall. No sulfur on this young lady.

Gregory lit up “Summerland,” a romantic and dreamy song by William Grant Stills, and fired up the audience.

Tchaikovsky’s “Violin concerto, MTVS 2 and 3,” was no match for Gregory, who channeled the Russian masterpiece through her lithe fingers, nor was J.S. Bach’s “Sonata No.1 for solo violin, Adagio and Fugue.” She captured Bach’s dramatic and intense composition like a tiger by the tail, handling a strong and beautiful beast that devours lesser talents.

Young Gregory played like an old soul on Mozart’s “Concerto No. 4, MVT 1.”

Her brief description before the selection was unnecessary as her artistry told the story itself.

Maestro Paganini himself came back to life in “Caprice No. 5.” Gregory raced along with the quick, energetic melody like an Olympic sprinter, charging down the track with elegant explosiveness. If the devil is in the details he may soon find himself out of work. Gregory plays a heavenly violin and she is still learning. That is a divine thought.