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The young Ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov, whose playing “requires every superlative in dictionary” (Classic FM Magazine), releases his first recording as an exclusive Virgin Classics artist, a pairing of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Bartók’s Violin Concerto No 2. The 24-year-old Ukrainian, who was featured in the Bruno Monsaingeon 2006 documentary, Natural born fiddler, is joined by conductor David Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchester. This new concerto program combines great works from the 19th and 20th centuries, both containing elements of folk music. The Strad described one of his performances as “full of effective contrasts, steel alternating with velvet … his sound sumptuous when he gave it free rein and thrilling when high on the G string. It was dramatic and exhilarating, and bound together by a firm sense of direction.” The French director Bruno Monsaingeon first encountered Sokolov when the violinist was 16 and studying at the Yehudi Menuhin School in the UK on a scholarship he had won in the Pablo Sarasate Competition. “Not the slightest tension marred the impression he gave of total ease with his instrument,” says Monsaingeon, ” … Absolute control of technique, a musical maturity … and above all an utter abandonment to the flow of the music”. Sokolov, who in 2005 won the Grand Prix of the George Enescu International Competition, went on to study at London’s Royal College of Music.