Leila Josefowicz was in the midst of one life-altering experience -- pregnancy -- when she began another project that also changed her life -- learning the Violin Concerto by John Adams, with which she will make her Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra debut this weekend.
The 27-year old Canadian violinist first came to prominence more than a decade ago. She was finishing her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia when she made her first commercial recording in 1994 with Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields for Philips Classics.
"Adams plays with tonality in some ways, but it's the way he plays with rhythm and how he texturizes the orchestra that is really unique."
Josefowicz says learning the piece during pregnancy was beneficial "because it was a good time focus on something. I try to memorize all the pieces I love in new music" to convey the same commitment she brings to music by masters such as Ludwig van Beethoven.
Among her performances of Adams' Concerto was with her teacher from Curtis, Jamie Laredo, conducting the Vermont Symphony. She says Laredo told the composer he had to hear her play his music.
Josefowicz was overwhelmed upon meeting Adams.
"He's such an amazing person, such a wonderful man. After that, my diary became just filled with all kinds of performances with Adams conducting," she says. "It was an instant profound friendship that formed."