(Classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić will join Les Violons du Roy on stage.)

By Montague Gammon III

Hampton Roads snagged first dibs on a new, century spanning program of truly golden oldies, thanks to the Virginia Arts Festival. 

The celebrated French Canadian chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy, in company with the likewise celebrated classical and genre-crossing guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, who’s usually credited as MILOŠ, kicks off their four stop transcontinental USA tour here in late April, with a 70 minute, no intermission concert that’s part of their first collaboration with that monomial Montenegrin guitar virtuoso.

Those “oldies” were composed between 1692 and 1763.

The Quebec-based 15-member Violons du Roy take their name from Les Vingt-quatre Violons du Roy, a 24 piece ensemble playing violin-family instruments who were the house band for the royal French court from 1626 (Louis XIII) to 1761 (Louis XV). These modern “Violins of the King,” which include violas, cellos and double bass, have 36 recorded albums to their name, and a concert history that has so far taken them to five continents. (No Oceania/Australia, no Antarctica…yet.)

“Scintillating, sexy, electric, elegant, sensuous, risky, robust, and just plain exciting and entertaining, “ (ClassicsToday.com) and “sumptuous, with delicious ornaments…like jewelry,”

(bachtrack.com) and “robust, rich-hued readings of several Handel works,” (New York Times) are among the praises Les Violons’ albums and concerts have earned.

Montenegro-born, movie star photogenic Miloš has racked up the plaudits too. The Guardian called his Royal Albert Hall debut an “hypnotic and quite extraordinary evening.”

The also monomial veteran reviewer Simon, writing for classicalguitarreview.com, called another of his programs, “A concert that stood out…played with impeccable accuracy and command…his excellent musical phrasing and clear melodic lines were consistently of a high standard…he managed to coax out some of the most beautiful high notes in [a piece titled] Asturias, that I have ever heard…a world class performer.”

“It’s as if MILOŠ is shining a brilliant light on the entire heritage of his instrument,” proclaimed the UK’s The Telegraph.

In summary, “The hottest guitarist in the world…,” said The Sunday Times, London.

The guitar virtuoso supplied recorded voice answers to some emailed questions about the upcoming concert:

“When I think about this program, this particular program…I think of it as such a wonderful diverse journey through the diverse influences through the Baroque era. I particularly always enjoy performing the Vivaldi concerto because as a representative of a more standard piece in the guitar repertory it really shows the guitar in its own Baroque light in a very exciting way.”

That’s the concert closing Concerto for lute, two violins and continuo in D Major, by Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, himself a virtuoso violin player. Interestingly, in this writer’s extra-musical experience, Vivaldi is the classical composer whose name is the third most often mentioned by the non-musical public. (Beethoven is first of course, Mozart second.)

Miloš also said that he and Violon’s Music Director and concert conductor Jonathan Cohen “have spent a lot of time researching the repertoire, searching for pieces that would marry our two worlds together, because the world of classical guitar is normally reserved for the more Romantic repertoire and the Baroque repertoire has a specific way…that the instruments are played and so to marry those two things into one cohesive whole has been an incredibly satisfying and creative process.”

“I was particularly excited to discover some pieces from the solo Baroque repertoire that I was about to transcribe and play on the guitar. They are beautiful representations of how timeless this music is. It’s incredible to think that music that was written three hundred, three hundred fifty years age can feel so modern and fresh to our 21st Century ears….a treasure trove of influences…where every single jewel… has a different shape and color. There will be so much to discover here.”

“I also have to say that during the concert [when not on stage] I like to sneak backstage and listen because I find that their playing so fantastic and the repertoire so intoxicatingly beautiful.”

Addressing potential audiences Miloš said, “Allow yourself to immerse into a world that deals simply with sounds…a beautiful world…completely enveloped with the world of beauty. In this world it has never been more important to collaborate and to be open and to create beautiful things.”

“For me music is the language of emotions, and that is the language that we all understand.”



Les Violons du Roy

Presented by Virginia Arts Festival

7:30 p.m., Mon, April 29

Norfolk Academy

1585 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk




Sinfonia, excerpt from L’Olimpiade, (1733), Antonio Vivaldi

Concerto for Oboe in D Minor, (c. 1716), Alessandro Marcello

Quintet for Guitar and Strings No.4 in D Major, (1798), Luigi Boccherini

Chaconne from the Partita for Violin No.2 in D Minor, (1720) Johann Sebastian Bach

Concerto Grosso in A Minor, Op. 6 No. 4, (ca. 1720) George Frideric Handel 

Concerto Grosso Op.5 No.12 in D Minor, “La Follia” (after Corelli) (1746), Francesco Geminiani

Les Arteres et les Heures from Les Boréades, (1763) Jean-Philippe Rameau/Víkingur Ólafsson

Suite de Pièces,Vol. 2 No.1: Keyboard Suite in B flat Major, (1733) Handel

Passacaglia, (first half of the 1700s) Sylvius Leopold Weiss

Excerpts from The Fairy Queen suite, (1692) Henry Purcell
Curtain Tune on a Ground from Timon dAthènes, (1694) H. Purcell

Concerto for lute, 2 violons and continuo in D Major, (1730), Antonio Vivaldi