Backstage at the George Gershwin International Music Competition

Whether one considers music competitions a necessary evil of the trade or a stimulating opportunity for disseminating excellence and for young artists to shine and transform their careers, there are plenty of good vibes to be found at the George Gershwin International Competition in New York. Photo: George Gershwin Inaugurated in 2013, the event is still securing its place among existing high-ranking competitions that grant management and performance opportunities, and monetary awards. Now in...
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Forging individualistic soundscapes through kaleidoscopic prisms of color – Vadym Kholodenko

SAVVY NEW YORK PIANOPHILES THIS SEASON WERE PRIVY TO TWO ELECTRIFYING ENCOUNTERS WITH THE KIEV-BORN PIANIST VADYM KHOLODENKO, HERALDED CHAMPION OF THE 2013 VAN CLIBURN INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION. A STUDENT OF VERA GORNOSTAYEVA, THE LEGENDARY PIANIST AT THE MOSCOW TCHAIKOVSKY CONSERVATORY AND MENTOR TO SOME GENERATIONS OF EXCEPTIONAL TALENT LIKE IVO POGORELICH, KHOLODENKO POSSESSES A DISTINCT SOPHISTICATION, EPITOMIZED BY INDIVIDUALISTIC REVERBERATION, AND PALPABLE ON THE STAGE. HE PERFORMED AT JEROME ROSE’S INTERNATIONAL KEYBOARD INSTITUTE...
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From a Curator’s Wish List to an Institution’s Evolving Interests: John Glover and Kaufman Music Center’s New Vision for the 21st Century Musician

Previously published by the author Ilona Oltuski on BlogCritics https://blogcritics.org/kaufman-music-center-john-glover-new-vision-musician-21st-century/ The administrator, producer, composer, and curator John Glover was recently appointed Director of Artistic Planning at Kaufman Music Center—a newly-implemented position—and he brings plenty of experience to the center’s diverse missions and ambitions. The focus of Glover’s work is to facilitate programming that connects artists with their communities. Speaking about his concurrent residency as Artistic Director of the genre-bending Look and Listen Festival, he...
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Alexis Pia Gerlach – collaborations with the freedom of keeping one's individuality

Cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach has been lauded by the press for the “gripping emotion” and “powerful artistry” of her interpretations, qualities which have led to a striking career including a wide range of artistic collaborations. She has appeared extensively in recitals and as a soloist with orchestras across the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America, with such conductors as Mstislav Rostropovich, James DePreist, and Peter Oundjian....
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Pavel Nersessian - Pianism Of A Deeply Reflective Nature

No matter what Pavel Nersessian plays at the piano—and his repertoire is un-endingly large and varied—his rich sound easily puts one deeply into the musical world of the composer. “The more polyphonic the character of the music,” he explains, “the better it facilitates balanced playing, bringing out the subtle coloring of each voice. Tureck, for example,” he says, referring to Rosalyn Tureck, the daughter of a Kiev cantor, harpsichordist, and pianist, who earned a...
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In alliance with its awarded artists: American Pianists Association

Pianists Sean Chen (2013) and Drew Petersen (2017), the two winners of its classical section, share their experiences at APA. “Sean Chen and Drew Petersen represent the zenith of piano playing. Both have unique musical gifts and interests, and are deeply compelling performing artists. I regard them as being in the top echelon of their generation of American pianists,” says Joel Harrison, APA’s longtime leading force. The American Pianists Association nurtures the artistic growth...
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Wei Luo, blissful individuality at the piano

“Wei is a young lady now, who deserves to go very far. She is not only a wonderful musical powerhouse but a brilliant thinker, who goes way beyond the score and brings her own ideas to everything she approaches,” says Gary Graffman, Wei Luo’s trusted mentor since she arrived at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 13, chaperoned by her mother. Under the tutelage of the legendary Graffman, who still joins...
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Pawel Knapik – Staying true to who you are as a human and as a musician.

For the Polish-born double bassist, composer, and educator being a musician in New York City is about the enormous variety of endeavors he is constantly engaged in. Each of them informs the other and together they transpire into his mission of music making at the highest level. For the past sixteen years, the Manhattan School of Music graduate became a devoted member of Orchestra of St. Luke’s, which grew from a virtuoso group of...
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The Attacca Quartet – dynamic imperative to dive into the next note

Far and between today’s copious landscapes of string quartets, the Attacca Quartet has distinguished itself for its captivating appearances and an aptitude for contemporary projects, yet equally high esteem for the traditional classical repertoire. Says founding member and cellist of the ensemble Andrew Yee: “When Amy and I formed the quartet with mutual Juilliard friends [in its original formation] in 2003, string quartets were becoming cool already, but there were not nearly as many...
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Lars Vogt – All in for the big picture of music

On the morning of his sold-out Zankel Hall chamber recital with violinist Christian Tetzlaff and his sister, cellist Tanja Tetzlaff, pianist Lars Vogt opens Carnegie Hall’s backstage door for me. The trio’s artists hail from Germany and are Grammy-nominated musicians of the highest caliber. Vogt has a busy schedule before the evening concert, and I am in awe that he is making time for our meeting. (photo credit: Neda Navaee) We had corresponded beforehand...
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