From Overland Park to the greatest concert halls, violinist Maria Ioudenitch keeps Kansas City close
Violinist Maria Ioudenitch grew up around Kansas City, and is part of a very musical family — her parents are world-renowned pianists and educators. Now, she's balancing the rollout of her debut album, "Songbird," with the an international touring calendar.
Maria Ioudenitch was a bona fide violin prodigy well before her teen years. She began training with violin master Gregory Sandomirsky at the age of 3.
“It felt so natural growing up, surrounded by my parents playing," says Ioudenitch, who grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, and is the daughter of world-renowned pianists and educators Tatiana and Stanislav Ioudenitch, the artistic director at Park University’s International Center for Music.
"There was never really any separation or conflict between how I (was) as an 11-year-old, and then my musical life — it was all sort of intertwined," she says.
After success in several international competitions, and studies at the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory, Ioudenitch is enjoying growing international fame. Her remaining 2023 calendar includes performances in New York and Washington, and stints in Jerusalem, Spain and Germany.
"My father would always say: 'I'm so jealous of the violin, because you can really sing like the human voice,'" Ioudenitch says. "That always stayed with me."
The album features works by well-known composers like Peter Tchaikovsky and Robert Schumann, and composers deserving of more attention, including Amy Beach, Clara Schumann, Nadia Boulanger and Fanny Mendelssohn.
Highlighting female composers isn't a performative act for Ioudenitch. She says these works stand on their own merits.
"I think these are incredible pieces of music that we should all know, that happen to be written by women," she says. "I really think that underappreciated composers should be part of our repertoire.”
And don't expect the 28-year-old to sing on the album.
"(I) definitely don't sing," she admits. "It's terrible. It's really bad."
Despite regular international touring, Ioudenitch says she loves coming back to Kansas City to perform — and just to hang out.
“It means the world to be able to come back to perform for my hometown," she says.
Ioudenitch also remembers and cherishes the normal kid stuff she got to experience growing up around the Kansas City metro.
"I grew up here. I loved it," she says. "There's a special magic in growing up in the suburbs ... because it's so green, it's so beautiful, everyone's so friendly, and there's this feeling where you can really hone your craft in such a place.”
It's part of why she hopes her burgeoning success can help inspire young kids in her hometown, and around the world.
"The meaning of music for me is to share it with others, and I think that's the most beautiful thing," she says. "If you have a chance to share your passion with others; do it, do it, do it.”
6 Romances, Op. 4, No. 4 Don’t sing, my beauty, for me
by Sergei Rachmaninoff arr. by Maria Ioudenitch
L'Alouette - The Lark
by Mikhail Glinka arr. by Leopold Auer
6 Romances, Op. 6, No. 6 None but the Lonely Heart
by Peter Tchaikovsky arr. by Mischa Elman
Fairy Tale, Op. 20, No. 1
by Nikolai Medtner arr. by Jascha Heifetz
Forgotten Melodies, Cycle II, Op. 39 - No. 4 Canzona matinata
by Nikolai Medtner arr. by Kenny Broberg
Romance for Violin & Piano, Op. 23
by Amy Beach
6 Lieder, Op. 7, No. 2 Erwin
by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel
*4 Lieder, Op. 27, TrV 170 No. 4, Morgen
by Richard Strauss
Fantasie in C Major, Op. 159, D. 934 - I. Andante molto
by Franz Schubert
3 Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22, No. 1 Andante molto
by Clara Schumann
3 Romances, Op. 94, No. 2 Einfach, innig
by Robert Schumann
by Nadia Boulanger
**Fantasie No. 3 in F Minor (Mvt. II, III, IV)
by Georg Philipp Telemann
All music performed by Maria Ioudenitch - violin and Kenny Broberg - piano
* With Theresa Pilsl - soprano
** Maria Ioudenitch - violin only