Celebrated young Serbian violinist, and DG’s latest signing, returns to Australia to perform with Ensemble Liaison.

“I had the opportunity to play for the first time in a concert, and actually it’s that connection with the audience and being on the stage that really felt incredible and magical.”

While the passage of time has cloaked the exact details, Nemanja Radulović vividly recalls the feeling that was triggered by his first stage appearance. After debuting in his hometown of Niš, Serbia, the young violinist became indelibly addicted to the energy of performance.

“I just wanted to do something with the stage, to be on the stage. So this is the feeling I get immediately from the beginning,” Radulović reminisces. “I just feel like everything is possible. This connection with the audience, it’s very strong and I have the impression that the world is a much better place when I’m on the stage. So that connection kept me in the music and with the violin.”

The deal was sealed. Radulović pursued formal music tuition at the Conservatory of Saarbrücken, then at age 14, he moved to France to complete his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris. Radulović has since established himself as one of the most promising young soloists, appearing with the world’s most prestigious orchestras.

Earlier this year, Radulović released his first album under Deutsche Grammophon. At just 28-years-old, he became one of the youngest artists to ever sign with the label. Despite the honour, he remains self-effacing.

“I have to say, I feel very nice. I did until now six recordings, and the last one is for Deutsche Grammophon, and you know for me it changed maybe all the things,” he said. “An old label like Deutsche Grammophon is so famous and gives me a kind of very big responsibility, and it’s nice to see that someone is taking care much more seriously. I am very happy and proud to have chance to work with these kind of people.”

Through the album, Paganini Fantasy, Radulović demystifies the sometimes-misinterpreted Italian composer. As he explains, Paganini’s works are often avoided due to their impossible technical and virtuosic characteristics, and admits that it took some time to “find the true Paganini as I love to see him now”. These days, Radulović can appreciate the composer as “a man who made the most beautiful melodies and is musically so strong”.

Paganini Fantasy features seven different works, and despite their complexities, Radulović exhibits exceptional clarity and simplicity. Of his performance, the BBC Music Magazine said: “not since Menuhin has Paganini’s First Concerto sounded so musically compelling”.

It was during his last visit to Australia that Radulović struck up a friendship with fellow Serbian and Ensemble Liaison cellist Svetlana Bogosavljevic. During this time, he made a celebrated collaboration with Ensemble Liaison, and has now returned to Australia for a second rendezvous. While there is just one Paganini work on the program, Gypsy Rondo promises a satisfyingly varied selection of musical works. Radulović said that he always deliberates on programming decisions, taking into consideration the inclusiveness and reception of music.

“We [Radulović and Ensemble Liaison] spoke in common about what we should play. Finally we decided to have a more classical part with a Haydn trio and the Khachaturian trio, and then in the first part we will hear some shorter pieces for the younger new-generation audience,” he explained. “The presentation of classical concert and older standards and tradition is very important to respect, but it’s also very important to find a new way to bring young people to the concert. I think we should really think about the future and how we will live and educate the new generation.”

Ensemble Liaison and their guest soloist are in the thick of rehearsals, ahead of their performance in Melbourne next week. Nemanja Radulović said that he is loving every moment. “I am very happy to be back here – even if it’s already two years that we haven’t played together, it was like we played yesterday. And we actually had a lot of fun rehearsing – it’s so great to find musicians who just enjoy making chamber music and communicating through music.”

Nemanja Radulović and Ensemble Liaison perform Gypsy Rondo on June 23. Tickets via the website.