Looking back on 2011, ears attuned to classical releases were given a wealth of exhilarating discoveries; in new music, young musicians and rediscovered historical scores. It was also the 200th anniversary of the birth of composer and virtuoso Franz Liszt, which all but required commemorative Liszt recordings from A-list pianists bent on proving themselves worthy of his thundering musical legacy. Hip young composers like Matt Haimovitz and Nico Muhly turned an eye on the indie market with collaborations and crossovers, while early music fans were treated to discoveries and premiere recordings of newly unearthed Renaissance works. But it was the string soloists who stole the show: the troupe of young violinists like Charlie Siem, Hilary Hahn, Mikhail Simonyan and Nicola Benedetti dominated the musical conversation with one stunning performance after the next.
For more music in this vein, check out my Classical Young Guns Cheat Sheet.