Browsing: Piano

PREVIEW: of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn at 100, at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, Monday, November 19, 7:30 p.m.; and INTERVIEW: with pianist and conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn, son of Nobel Prize-winning author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the heroic anti-Soviet dissident whose vital and uncompromising documentation of the horrors of the Stalinist police state won the 1970 Nobel Prize for literature and provided indispensable impetus to the forces that brought on the communist regime’s late 20th-century downfall, would have turned 100 this December 11. In what promises to be an especially rich, personal and heartfelt early celebration of that centenary, New York City’s…

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Last Saturday, November 10, Mundia Productions presented Mozart’s Requiem and the Piano Concerto #20 in d minor k.466 performed by the Orchestre philharmonique du Nouveau Monde conducted by Michel Brousseau, along with the participation of the Société philharmonique du Nouveau Monde choir and guest pianist Vasyl Kotys. What you missed If we were able to travel 1000 years forward, my guess is that Mozart’s Requiem would still be performed somewhere in a distant galaxy. This work is a masterpiece that is worth attending anytime we have the chance. The highlight was the performance from Société philarmonique du Nouveau Monde choir.…

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REVIEW: of works by composers David Lang and Gregg Kallor – The Mile-Long Opera by Lang, performed on the High Line; and sketches from The Frankenstein Suite, plus the monodrama “The Telltale Heart,” by Kallor, performed in the Catacombs of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. Some uncanny musical surprises graced unusual locations both above and below New York City street-level during the early part of Halloween month. Here’s a diary retrospective. Going the Extra Mile Beginning at twilight on six consecutive evenings (October 3 through 8; viewed October 7), Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer David Lang and a host of collaborators presented a unique choral…

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Jan Ladislav Dussek could have been a contender if only Mozart had been born somewhere else and at another time. Dussek (1760 to 1812) has the wrong dates and the wrong skill sets. Two bars into every movement he picks a note that you know Mozart would have declined for a better choice and, while Dussek may recover quickly and deliver a passage that could pass for Clementi at his best, your ear is already tensed for the next false turn. Of the three concertos on offer here, two are contemporaneous with late Mozart in 1787 and 1791 yet have…

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Last May, 22-year-old pianist Élisabeth Pion from Otterburn Park, Quebec, won the Shean Piano Competition in Edmonton for her performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto. With this feather in her cap, she is about to embark on a Master’s at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London with Ronan O’Hora. Shortly before her departure for the U.K., Pion spoke about her world of freedom, multidisciplinarity and solitude – ingredients that seem to match her pensive look and the nonchalance of a young Martha Argerich. Talk of music quickly veers off into the autobiographical Carnets by Camus, which she is…

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At age 26, Nicolas Namoradze has had a remarkable career. He’s given recitals around the world and played with distinguished orchestras in Europe and the United States. Festivals have asked him to write works which have been played by eminent musicians. Most recently, he won first prize in the 2018 Honens Piano Competition in Calgary. Winning this competition was the stuff of dreams for Namoradze. And he thinks it came down to luck: “My teacher, Emanuel Ax, believes that competitions are like lotteries: you just have to be lucky. I certainly feel extremely lucky and I am enormously grateful.” The…

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A critic’s dilemma. The cellist Steven Isserlis is a pal. He lives around the corner and we bump into each other at local amenities. He knows I have received his latest release for review. He will be disappointed if I ignore it and grumpy if I find fault. To review or not to review? If I ruled out reviewing friends I’d have to turn down half the record output. By the same token, if I mentioned a friendship every time I reviewed, readers would switch off. So what to do? I made a rule a while back that I would…

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Amid the excitement over a rediscovered rehearsal tape of the composer playing Symphonic Dances, there arrives a new account of two concertos with Rachmaninov’s favourite orchestra and the living pianist who most resembles him. Deutsche Grammophon has titled the album Destination Rachmaninov. Departure and furnished the cover with a portrait of the soloist, Daniil Trifonov, sitting in the kind of railway compartment that went out with shellac records. Do not be distracted by these marketing tricks. Trifonov opens with C minor concerto with quiet authority, each chord darker than the one before, Rachmaninov at his most morose. If this concerto had a…

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Camille Saint-Saens was the first Frenchman to compose piano concertos. Of the five that he wrote between 1858 and 1886, only the second gets much play and one hears few claims that the rest are scandalously neglected. Some connoisseurs consider the fourth his best. Most agree that the fifth, a pastiche of tunes supposedly sung by Egyptian boatmen at Luxor, falls somewhere between embarrassing and irredeemable. The Canadian pianist Louis Lortie and the young Frenchman Bertrand Chamayou have kicked off cycles of the concertos on their respective labels. Lortie, vastly experienced, plays 1, 2 and 4 on his release, never…

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CALGARY, Canada, September 7, 2018 — Georgian pianist Nicolas Namoradze (age 26) has been named Prize Laureate of the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition. He wins the world’s largest prize for piano $100,000 (CAD) and an Artist Development Program valued at a half-million dollars.  Finalists Han Chen (Taiwan / age 26) and Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner (United States / age 21) each received Raeburn Prizes of $10,000 (CAD), and for the first time in Honens’ history an Audience Award of $5,000 (CAD) was presented to Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner. “What a wonderful thing for Honens … what a wonderful thing for Nicolas Namoradze!” says Neil Edwards, Honens’ President & CEO.…

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