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The Arts Circle – I Am Something, We Are Everything

Elena Baksht is something - again. The Russian pianist, founding director of the Southampton Arts Festival and music educator has now implemented "The Arts Circle," into New York's cultural scene.

A recital evening at the venerable Koscuiszko Foundation on the Upper East Side, featured the inspired pianist with the eminent Italian flutist Mario Carbotta, in a program titled A poetic journey from Prokofiev to Fellini and Kundalini. The connection between both musicians had been made through a conductor both artists had performed with; the details had been sorted out through their mutual management. I always find it fascinating how the world of the arts functions; its perhaps not as different as in other specific related fields, but I find it true that people somehow connect through the arts in a different way. Baksht put it sweetly: "In these two days of rehearsals, before the concert Mario and I really connected. It was difficult at first, Mario's English could be better, he does not speak a word of Russian and my Italian is non-existent. So there was not a lot of talking, but once we started to rehearse, we understood each other perfectly well. The music was all we needed, we looked at each other and new what we had to do. We are indeed quite fortunate to be speak this powerful language, the language of music."

This is also at the core of the goal,  Elena is aspiring to. Bringing people together from different walks of life and of course, getting them involved in the circle.

She threw in all her energy and talent, especially lovely were her poems, recited in Russian. Mrs. Baksht also brought in fashion from Geraldine Brower's Bridal Garden, a special collection of high end, donated designer wear. The proceeds of sales through Bridal Garden, go to social benefits.

A nice idea to throw fashion into the mix. As Baksht told me, last time they actually had an entire fashion show to the music of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an exhibition and its musical promenade. But this time, the slender pianist took it upon herself to model some of the designer's dresses, obviously enjoying herself and looking quite fab, in them.

I would have thought it may have been a bit distracting to have to change every couple of minutes in between performing, sometimes quite challenging pieces and returning to the piano. But Baksht did not seem to mind - and there was more.In addition to the fashionable presentation and the pianist's accompaniment, which was at its best in Prokofiev's Sonata op.94 in D-minor for Flute and Piano, Baksht recited her poetry in English and in her native Russian. While it was nice of course to understand the English words, I was much more taken by her native Russian fluidity of declamation, even her voice seemed to have a more natural flow and indeed a lyrical quality.

Many of the audience members were acquainted with each other,  some were supporters and fans of Baksht's Southampton Arts Festival initiative, they all visit during the summer months. It looks like this will be a busy summer for the energetic artist and she has some transcendent thoughts about the energy that drives her, and seems to come to her so easily: "What generates that flow of energy, what ignites it? Can we capture that moment where our soul opens up, longs for something outside of ourselves, expands to receive the energy from above?  The Kabbalah says that all the Universe desires from us is that moment of the soul, that longing to connect with the Divine - that longing which is the movement of the soul's unity with the Divine, the memory of being an integral part of a whole."



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