Pianist Till Fellner  – In allegiance with the composer’s intent   

A disciple of Alfred Brendel since 1990 and known to share his mentor’s fondness for the inveterate Austro-Germanic repertoire, Fellner also shares the veteran’s suggestion that piano playing is a ‘long-term objective’ – a continuous dialectic immersion into detail to illuminate an essential perspective and build on its inner principles. After winning first prize at the 1993 Clara Haskil International Piano Competition, Fellner followed suit with his own extensive dedication to two of the...
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Nikita Mndoyants – Pianist, Transcriber, Composer shines in powerful US debuts

At EURASIA FESTIVAL, which launched in the fall of 2017, immediately representing an important NYC performance podium with viable space at the National Opera Center, young Mndoyants’ recital was presented among the series’ strong concentration on Russian artists, many of whom are former colleagues of the festival’s co-founder, pianist Aza Sydykov, from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Presenting artists such as those from the former Soviet regions and showcasing their broad heritage and the...
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Passage from Russia to America – Pianist, composer and transcriber Vyacheslav Gryaznov delights in musical storytelling

A version of this article was published on BlogCritics (Nov.31,2017) Currently enrolled in the Artist Diploma program at Yale University, Slava, as he is called by his friends, speaks freely about the experiences that brought him to America from his native Russia. Dissatisfied with the trend in Russian politics toward entangling career with ideology, Slava was keen to follow his fascination with the “land of the free,” and search for new opportunities. Many of...
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Violinist Stefan Jackiw – “music connects you with humanity”

I am reconnecting with the slender, young looking 31 years old violinist, Stefan Jackiw, who impressed me deeply when I had heard him perform several years ago, at the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. Home of the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players – just a block from Lincoln Center – less frequently performed repertoire is presented here in an accessible way, by musicians belonging to the former orchestral ensemble led by the late Jens Nygaard and upcoming...
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Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust – shtetl buoyancy re-invented

Soulful violist and composer/arranger Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin was featured in Ljova and the Kontraband’s Sunday afternoon concert at Brooklyn’s new home for the all-inclusive new music scene, National Sawdust. Going by ‘Ljova,’ the kindred version of his traditional Russian-Hebrew name, Lev, the artist and his Kontraband filled the room, which had been arranged cabaret-style, with tuneful energy. Folksy tango tunes with virtuosic viola passages next to Yiddish folk songs performed with great gusto by...
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Pianist Steven Lin – focus on essential music making

What does it take these days for a young pianist to survive in a talent market saturated with more and more prolific contenders? Given the unusually high-ranking technical, as well as musical eloquence young artists are achieving through training at top educational breeding hothouses, a good portion of talent and practice alone – as important as may be, will hardly suffice. And yet, while it seems harder than ever to distinguish the rays of true talent shining through a thick crust...
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No Child’s Play – Joey Alexander

This article was published in German at PianoNews, 2015. Every once in a while, the established suggestion of long labored and ardent efforts behind true mastery, fall short in explaining the emergence of a true talent, (Ausnahme Talent) appearing out of seemingly nowhere. Excited by a glimpse of such true genial capacity to mastermind the most intricate challenges instantaneously, innate and with the most natural appeal, we can’t help ourselves, but to allow this...
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Kein Kinderspiel – Joey Alexander am Klavier

 Ab und zu werden wir einfach vom Hocker gerissen, vor allem dann, wenn wir es mit einem seltenen Ausnahmetalent wie dem erst 11-jährigen Jazz-Pianisten Joey Alexander zu tun haben. Für diesen Knirps scheinen die üblichen Regeln langjährig erworbener Meisterschaft einfach ausser Kraft gesetzt. Mit größter Selbstverständlichkeit setzt er sich ans Klavier und jammt mit den Besten seiner Zunft. Da kann man nur staunen und hoffen, dass das wunderbare Spiel des kleinen Künstlers nicht durch...
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Interview: Pianist Yoonie Han on Interpreting New Compositions ‘Gloriously’ Dedicated to Her

Yoonie Han had been invited to perform some of her most recent repertoire in 2006 at a private house concert in New York when she first met Theodore Wiprud. Yoonie immediately observed his keen listening capacity and personal demeanor. As the New York Philharmonic’s Vice President of Education, Wiprud wears many hats: educator, concert presenter and music executive. Through his own compositions, he further impacts the musical world with creative works that reflect his widespread...
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Vika goes wild – a classical pianist taps into her passion for rock

When her parents were told that she – at kindergarten age – had perfect pitch and a talent for music, there was no going back: “My parents took it seriously, and the natural consequence seemed to be continued studies at a special music school. That included competitions, exams, and concert performances under high pressure, requiring utmost commitment and all the other expectations that go along with that…and- it was all understood,” says pianist Viktorya...
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