Violinist Ilya Kaler to Substitute for Valentin Zhuk at PMF Concert

Violinist Ilya Kaler

Violinist Ilya Kaler has agreed on short notice to substitute for Peninsula Music Festival concertmaster Valentin Zhuk. Mr. Zhuk was to have performed the Khatchatourian Violin Concerto as the featured soloist on Tuesday, August 18 during the Festival’s 57th Season. The Peninsula Music Festival has been unable to secure the proper visa for Mr. Zhuk’s appearance with the festival as concertmaster and soloist, a visa that has been approved 15 times prior to this year.

Problems began in early July when an approved visa had not arrived for Valentin Zhuk. With all previous applications having been approved, there was no inclination that there would be a problem this year. After it became apparent that the approval would not happen in time for the start of the 2009 Peninsula Music Festival, Music Director Victor Yampolsky, and Sharon Grutzmacher, PMF’s Executive Director, began to make alternative plans.

Frank Almond, concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony and past concertmaster of the Festival was available to take Mr. Zhuk’s position as concertmaster of the PMF for week one. Accomplished violinist MingHuan Xu was available to sit concertmaster for weeks two and three. With the concertmaster position solved, the search for a violinist who could perform the Khatchatourian Violin Concerto began. Kaler was then contacted, who has worked with the festival previously.

Kaler has earned rave reviews for solo appearances with distinguished orchestras throughout the world, which include the Leningrad, Moscow and Dresden Philharmonic Orchestras, Montreal Symphony, Danish and Berlin Radio Orchestras, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and Seattle Symphony, among others. He is the only violinist to have won Gold Medals at the Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Paganini Competitions.

Tickets for the August 18 concert are still available. For more information, call 920.854.4060 or visit