Guest Soloist Victor Romanul, Violin

As a soloist, violinist Victor Romanul has 93 concerti in his repertoire. Performances of the complete twenty-four Paganini caprices, the six Ysaye Sonatas, and the Bach Sonatas and Partitas are commonplace in his schedule. Previous seasons’ performances included concerti by John Williams, Sibelius, Jose White Lafitte, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Mendelssohn, Paganini, the Brahms Double concerto, the Bach Double Concerto for Violin and Oboe, the Beethoven Triple Concerto, and many more. Having delved deeply into the obscure great works of the historic virtuoso violinists, he delights in bringing them to the concert stage. Romanul has written an article for Strings Magazine about the story of his career, and Mel Magazine featured him in an article about learning to love classical music, comparing his performance to that of Eddie Van Halen. A student of Jascha Heifetz, Joseph Silverstein, and Ivan Galamian, Romanul served for three years as concertmaster of the Ars Poetica Chamber Orchestra based in Detroit, comprising outstanding players from major U.S. orchestras. The Boston Symphony Orchestra has streamed performances of Romanul’s solo and chamber music work, including Paganini’s Aria in A, Sauret’s Fantasie, Bach’s Chaconne, the Maud Powell arrangement of Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen recorded at Tanglewood, and William Grant Still’s Suite for Violin and Piano recorded from the Symphony Hall stage. Starting in 2025, Victor will transition into doing solo work full time. 

Interview with Victor Romanul

You’ve been a featured soloist at the WPO twice before, and we’re so happy to have you play with us again. This time it will be White Lafitte’s Violin Concerto, a piece not often played. Can you tell us more about it and what it means to you?

White Lafitte’s violin concerto is such a gift. It is an amazing piece of music. He traveled to Paris and had compositional and violinistic training from the best at the Paris Conservatoire in the 19th century. I am grateful to Maestro Korn for introducing this great work to me. I feel that it even bests the other virtuoso concerti written in France during that century. It is exciting, notoriously difficult, and fun. It is a delight to play. I am really looking forward to it. 

According to your bio, the renowned composer and conductor John Williams composed a piece for you (violin) and viola. How did that come about?

John and I have been friends for more than 20 years. I have a pile of letters from him.  He attended a duo violin-viola concert I gave and came backstage to talk to us. My viola partner Michael Zaretsky asked him to write a piece for the two of us, and one day a FedEx truck pulled up to his house with the music for the 14-minute duo.  The world premiere recording is on You Tube.  I am also fortunate to have played for him his unpublished violin concerto from the music he sent me, and he graciously allowed me the rights to perform it whenever and wherever I want, and the rights to borrow the orchestral parts.  

You say that you aspire to new challenges on the violin and delve into obscure works. Please describe some of these challenges, and the works you’re discovering for yourself and your audiences.

From my grandmother Stella Roman, the great Opera diva, I learned that music does not have to be boring. There are magical works hidden in plain view from a range of composers that just need to be brought to light on stage. I performed quite a few hidden gems during the time of the pandemic on Boston Symphony live streams from the stages of Symphony Hall and Tanglewood.  

In a magazine article, your style of performance for some pieces was compared to that of the late, renowned rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen! What’s the basis for that comparison?

Mel Magazine published an article several years ago featuring ten online performances from around the world that would make you fall in love with classical music. Here is the link to the article. I am number 6 out of 10. This image is apparently me. 

How to Trick Yourself Into Liking Classical Music

My performance of Locatelli’s Labyrinth was selected as one of them (see YouTube video, above). They said that the style of my playing was like classical music’s equivalent of Eddie Van Halen. 

Tell us about your decision to transition into full-time solo work. What will this mean for you as a musician? How do you feel about your time with the BSO?

I have appeared as soloist sixteen times with the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops over the years, playing multiple performances of the Korngold, Beethoven, and Bruch Concertos, as well as the Beethoven Triple Concerto and various Sarasate  pieces. Recent solo video streams I have done for the BSO were the Bach Chaconne, Paganini, and Sauret from Tanglewood and the William Grant Still Violin and Piano Suite from the Symphony Hall Stage and the Korngold “Much Ado About Nothing” suite.  Starting in 2025, I will be a solo artist exclusively.

We missed you playing with the WPO last year due to illness. So glad to have you back! How do you feel about performing with the WPO again?

I couldn’t be more delighted. Maestro Korn is a wonder, and I am especially proud of the times I have had the privilege of performing with the Waltham Philharmonic.