Catch rising star Simone Porter while you can

05.29.15
Simone Porter
Seattle Times

There is a special pleasure in hearing hometown talent on the rise to stardom. That pleasure is in store for Seattle Symphony audiences this weekend, when the 18-year-old violinist Simone Porter repeats Thursday’s knockout performance of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5. She made her professional debut with this orchestra at the age of 10, when it was already apparent that Porter had phenomenal promise; now that early promise has been realized.

With the close and attentive partnership of conductor Mikhail Agrest, Porter displayed a smooth, well-focused and unforced tone of considerable sweetness and warmth in Thursday’s concert, the first of three. Her phrasing is clear and beautifully finished; the intonation is reliable with only a few minor lapses, and her interpretation is mature and confident. Clearly this is an artist ready for the big leagues, and the Benaroya Hall crowd gave her a correspondingly enthusiastic ovation.

Porter’s success was no surprise, with recent credits like her Avery Fisher Career Grant and her signing with the prestigious Opus 3 Artists management group. 

Every phrase of the music was sharply delineated from the podium, as Agrest crouched and leaped and cued. His expressive gestures left no doubt about what he wanted: a tenderly shaped phrase here, a furious stab there, a sense of serenity, or an all-out riot.

Read the rest of the review here