David Requiro is just 25, but he’s already appeared with the National Symphony in Washington DC and with the Tokyo Philharmonic in Japan. He’s played in recital at Weill Hall, in the Carnegie Hall complex, and the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. A quiet, skinny guy who grew up in the Bay Area, Requiro now lives in New York. His dark hair and gentle smile hint at his Filipino-American heritage.
We met backstage at Atherton Auditorium to talk about the piece Requiro will perform by Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich. With cello in hand, he also played for me some samples from the work.
“We open with solo cello, with a somewhat dry and witty tune (short burst of music) which is not directly related, but very likely inspired by Shostakovich’s own musical monogram DSCH (four notes) when you use German letter names.
As a teenager, Requiro spent hours listening to a famous recording of the concerto by Mitsoslav Rostropovich, for whom the piece was written. The music is bracing, and sometimes stormy, filled with Cold War tension and the composer’s sardonic humor.
“Shostakovich really takes advantage of the lower end of the cello, the lower registers, and the power that it can produce.
“At the same time, there are some passages that are up in the stratosphere, and I absolutely feel like a violinist sometimes when I have to play some of these passages.”
“And then there’s also a lot of aggression, to be honest. He writes a very powerful cello part, and there’s a lot of fortissimo, and a lot of noise.”
“And it builds straight up into the finale, which is in many ways a very wild and sometimes almost drunken Russian dance movement. We start out…”
“It’s very crude and in your face, and I think that’s what Shostakovich was going for.”
Don’t expect David Requiro to get in your face -- he’s far too polite for that. But you can anticipate a stimulating, angular performance of this moody, muscular concerto with the Stockton Symphony. And remember this young man’s name, all indications point to a busy, high profile career in years to come.
David Requiro performs Cello Concerto No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich with the Stockton Symphony Thursday, March 11th and Saturday, March 13th.