Great Barrington, MA – Russian piano virtuosos Natalia Lavrova and Vassily Primakov open the Close Encounters with Music season on Saturday, October 20, with “‘Dually’ Noted: Music for Four Hands,” a diverse and intriguing array of works for duo piano. The 6 p.m. concert takes place at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 14 Castle St. in Great Barrington.
The pair’s eloquent and precise dialogue for piano encompasses a wide range of styles and composers, from Mozart and Chopin (two Scherzos) to John Corigliano’s Gazebo Dances, inspired by the high-spirited mood of summer concerts on the village green. Also featured are a saucy Brazilian-flavored composition by Darius Milhaud, and Franz Schubert’s transcendently beautiful Fantasie for Piano in F minor, one of the foundational works of the chamber music repertoire.
Primakov’s playing has been described as “refined, multi-coloured, elegant of phrase and immaculately balanced” (BBC Music Magazine). Born in Moscow in 1979, he began his study of piano with his mother, Marina Primakova. He entered Moscow’s Central Special Music School at the age of 11, and at 17 came to New York to attend the Juilliard School, where he studied with pianist Jerome Lowenthal. While at Juilliard, Primakov made his debut at Alice Tully Hall and won first prize in the 2002 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. In 2007, he was named the Classical Recording Foundation’s “Young Artist of the Year,” and his 2009 recording of Chopin’s Mazurkas was named “Best of the Year” by National Public Radio. His extensive discography includes recordings of all 27 Mozart concertos as well as Beethoven sonatas, Chopin concertos and the music of Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Scriabin.
The founder and president of Music School of New York City, Lavrova has performed in solo and orchestral concerts around the world, including appearances in notable New York venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. A top prizewinner at numerous international piano competitions, she made her debut at the 1996 Leeds International Piano Competition, where she was the youngest performer admitted to the quarterfinal round that year. Born in Moscow, Lavrova entered the Moscow Conservatory at the age of 5, and went on to attend the Juilliard School Pre-College Division and the Juilliard School, where she also studied with Lowenthal.
Friends for more than a decade, Primakov and Lavrova first performed together in 2010, and record together on their own label, LP Classics.
Close Encounters With Music (CEWM) stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Kenji Bunch, and John Musto, among others—to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD.
A core of brilliant performers includes pianists James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Toby Appel; harpsichordist Lionel Party; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano; and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs.
Close Encounters With Music concerts are broadcast on WMHT-FM, and weekly broadcasts of “Classical Music According to Yehuda” are broadcast on WAMC Northeast Radio and at www.wamc.org.
Ticket Information for “‘Dually Noted: Music For Four Hands”
Tickets, $40 (orchestra and mezzanine) and $30 (balcony), are available at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100; through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778 or by emailing email@example.com. Subscriptions are $185 ($160 for seniors) for a series of 6 concerts. Visit www.cewm.org. Performances are supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
2012-13 Close Encounters with Music Calendar
October 20 “Dually” Noted: Music for Four Hands
November 4 Peter Rosen’s film Shadows In Paradise
December 9 Tragicomedia: A Baroque Holiday Celebration
February 24 Midwinter Fireside Concert: The Amphion String Quartet
March 3 Conversations With… Ben Luxon
March 23 An Evening with Eliot Fisk
April 20 Grand Piano Trios I: Schubert & Schoenfield
May 18 Grand Piano II: Mozart, Beethoven and Ravel
June 8 Nordic Lights: Grieg Revival