Miriam Fried | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Miriam Fried 

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Violinist Miriam Fried, born in Romania in 1946 and raised in Israel, has been working the international concert circuit steadily since her New York debut in 1969, but she doesn't enjoy anything like the marquee status of a much younger soloist like Sarah Chang. Her timing's at least partly to blame: though she was well-known as a prodigy in Tel Aviv as early as the 50s, the classical music world hadn't yet started making superstars out of preteens. But Fried's temperate, flexible style isn't really suited to celebrity: it's somewhere between the fierce flamboyance of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the steely elegance of Anne-Sophie Mutter, wider than both in its expressive range but consequently less distinctive. In the last decade or so Fried's developed a judicious mix of intelligence and emotion, controlling her lush sound with clean execution; when she tackles the chamber repertoire, she cooperates with the other players instead of upstaging them. Fried has collaborated with the likes of Isaac Stern, pianist Garrick Ohlsson, and cellist Nathaniel Rosen--as well as with her husband, violist Paul Biss, and her teenage son, pianist Jonathan Biss. Both she and Paul teach at Indiana University, and at her eighth consecutive Ravinia stint she'll supplement her performances by serving as a coach at the festival's Steans Institute for Young Artists, a sort of boot camp for aspiring musicians. This weekend she's the soloist at a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert conducted by Ravinia's head maestro, Christoph Eschenbach, featuring Berlioz's seldom heard Reverie et caprice, his ubiquitous Symphonie fantastique, and Ernest Chausson's dreamy, urbane Poeme. Fried will also play a chamber recital on Thursday, July 8, with cellist Gary Hoffman and pianist James Tocco. Sunday, 7 PM, Pavilion, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 847-266-5100. TED SHEN

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