BRATTLEBORO -- Violinist Bella Hristova knows how to play well with others.
Hailed as "a player of impressive power and control," Hristova has performed with symphony orchestras around the world.
She also honed her chamber music chops in Vermont during three summers at the Marlboro Music Festival.
"I think (Marlboro) changes you as a musician. It’s like a family that plays together every day," said the acclaimed 28-year-old star.
But, in the words Greta Garbo immortalized in the 1932 film "Grand Hotel," sometimes she just wants to be alone.
And it is in that guise that Hristova will perform as part of the Brattleboro Music Center’s Chamber Music Series this Saturday at 7:30 p.m., at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St.
Acclaimed for her passionate, powerful performances, beautiful sound and compelling command of her instrument, Hristova will be all by herself, performing a program of solo violin pieces by J.S. Bach and Eugene Ysaye.
"I think it’s both very scary and very rewarding ... and also very tiring," said Hristova in a telephone interview Tuesday. "There’s a lot of technique required and a lot of stamina."
Hristova has been developing programming of solo violin pieces for a while, but Saturday will be the first time she has ever performed the five pieces -- three by Bach, two by Ysaye -- together.
"My favorite instrument is the piano because it’s an instrument all too itself. It can do everything. I think I’m doing unaccompanied music because I like the piano," she said.
The program includes Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BVW 1001, Partita No. 3 in E Major, BVW 1006, and Partita No. 2 in D minor, BVW 1004, interspersed with the Sonata No. 2 "Obsession" and Sonata No. 6 "Manuel Quiroga" by Ysaye, a Belgian violinist, composer and conductor who lived from 1858 to 1931.
Hristova said she paired Bach and Ysaye because they go well together -- "Ysaye wanted his pieces to be thought of as modeled after Bach" -- and also because there’s a personal connection.
"I studied with Jaime Laredo, and he studied these pieces with his teacher who studied directly with Ysaye, so I feel like I have a connection to the music."
She said she would like ultimately to perform all six of Ysaye’s violin sonatas and Bach’s six sonatas and partitas as one program -- though not, of course, in one concert. Too exhausting.
Some of these pieces are featured on her most recent CD, "Bella Unaccompanied," which was recognized with placement on the first-round Grammy ballot. Clearly, there are times when Hristova enjoys being along on stage.
There will, however, be another star on stage. Hristova plays a violin made in 1655 by Nicola Amati, Antonio Stradivari’s teacher.
"My violin was made 30 years before Bach was born. Someone once said that to me, and I thought ‘How is that possible?’" Hristova said. "It has a really rich sound. ... Because it’s so old, it gets cranky when the weather changes."
Hey, don’t we all.
So it will be just Hristova and her Amati at Centre Church this Saturday, but she hasn’t forsaken playing well with others. Along with the concert in Brattleboro, Hristova has gigs in a duet setting with a pianist, in chamber ensembles with Musicians from Marlboro and with an orchestra.
"Right now I do a variety of concerts. I would like to keep doing all of those things," she said.
That orchestra concert happens to be on Christmas Eve, at Carnegie Hall, with the New York String Orchestra, where she will play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, conducted by her friend and teacher Jaime Laredo.
"Jaime’s wonderful. He’s just the most supportive, sweetest and warmest person I know," she said.
In addition to continuing to play concerts in a variety of settings, Hristova said she would like to become more involved with commissioning new works and with "reaching out to new audiences and younger audiences in a way that’s memorable and effective. ... It would just be good to find a meaningful way to reach children."
Hristova was recently awarded a prestigious 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant, given to outstanding instrumentalists and based on excellence alone.
Engagements of note include leading/performing Vivaldi’s "The Four Seasons" with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic; performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; a national tour with the Musicians from Marlboro and two world premieres written specifically for her.
A sought-after chamber musician, Hristova was selected as a member of CMS Two and has frequently performed chamber music at Lincoln Center, as well as at The Grand Teton Festival, Music@Menlo, Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Music from Angel Fire and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. She has appeared multiple times on Garrison Keillor’s "A Prairie Home Companion" on National Public Radio and with symphony orchestras throughout North America and in New Zealand.
In addition to the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Hristova is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including First Prize in the 2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, First Prize of the 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand, and Laureate of the 2006 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. She made her debut in the Young Concert Artists Series during the 2009-10 season at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, sponsored by the Rhoda Walker Teagle Prize, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. Hristova is the first recipient of YCA’s Helen Armstrong Violin Fellowship and has been honored with the Miriam Brody Aronson Award, the Ruth Laredo Memorial Award, the Mortimer Levitt Career Development Award for Women Artists. Hristova currently holds the John French Violin Chair of YCA.
Born in Pleven, Bulgaria in 1985, Hristova began violin studies at age 6. At 12, she participated in master classes with Ruggiero Ricci at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 2003, she entered The Curtis Institute of Music, where she worked with Ida Kavafian and studied chamber music with Steven Tenenbom. She received her Artist Diploma with Jaime Laredo at Indiana University in 2010.
Tickets to Bella Hristova’s concert Saturday at Centre Congregational Church are $30, $20 and $10 and are available by calling the Brattleboro Music Center at 802-257-4523 or visiting www.bmcvt.org.
Her appearance in Brattleboro is sponsored by Douglas Cox, violin maker, and Vermont Public Radio.