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The Rising Stars Piano Series

The Rising Stars Piano Recital Series Presents our 2014 Spring season

Piano Duo Soyeon Lee and Ran Dank
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Generously sponsored by the Carr Charitable Trust

Tomer Gewirtzman
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Generously sponsored by Dr. Morrell Avram & Mrs. Maria Avram

Keru Zang
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Generously sponsored by the Hon. Bruce Kaplan and Janet Yaseen Kaplan

2012/2013 Season: 10th Anniversary Celebration with Distinguished Pianofest Artists and Guests

September 29, 2012
Tanya Gabrielian
Bach French Suite No. 2, Haydn Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob XIV/49, Rachmaninov Three Etudes-Tableaux Op. 33, Gounod-Liszt Waltz from Faust
Sponsored by The Carr Charitable Trust

November 10, 2012
Margarita Schevchenko
"Chopin of transporting musicality..." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Her technical superiority was constantly the servant of the music..." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany
Handel Chaconne in G-major op. 229,Tchaikovsky "Dumka" op.59,
Scriabin Sonata -Fantasie No.2, op.19 (in two movements,Chopin Scherzi No. 2 and 4
Sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Morrell Avram

Scroll down for a review of this recital

December 8, 2012
Igor Lovchinsky
Chopin, Prokofiev Sonata No. 7, Liszt/Horowitz Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

SAVE THE DATES for these upcoming recitals:

April 6, 2013
Michelle and Kimberly Cann (Duo)
Rachmaninov Second Suite, Ravel La Valse, Lutoslawski Paganini Variations
Sponsored by Dr.and Mrs. Michael J. Errico and Dr. and Mrs. Arthur T. Canario

April 27, 2013
Di Wu
Works by Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev

May 18, 2013
Konstantin Soukhovetski
Program will include Philip Glass The Hours, Ravel La Valse

June 8, 2013
Orion Weiss and Anna Polonsky (Duo)
Program to include Saint-Saens Variations on the Theme of Beethoven, Poulenc Two-Piano sonata, Schumann Andante and Variations
Sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. James Marcus

October 5, 2013
Anthony Molinaro

"Genre-defying... An original, often iconoclastic thinker equipped with a leonine technique." – Chicago Tribune

Featuring music from Anthony's new recording exploring music of The Beatles. The program will include Anthony's unique interpretations of classic songs like "Blackbird," "Yesterday," and "The Long and Winding Road," as well as Anthony's Prelude and Fugue based on "Norwegian Wood" and a theme from "In My Life." The program will also include music of Debussy, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff.

November 9, 2013
Awadagin Pratt
Program will include Liszt Sonata in B minor
Sponsored by Annaliese Soros
Awadagin Pratt
Program will include Liszt Sonata in B minor
Sponsored by Annaliese Soros

December 14, 2013
Qi Xu

Review of Igor Lovchinsky's Recital
Notes of a Critic at Large
F. Cord Volkmer

It could almost be said that the piano recital series at the Levitas Center in Southampton, known as “The Rising Stars,” is misnamed. It seems to me that many, if not most, of the performers in this series have already risen and begun to take their places in the musical firmament. This is certainly true of Igor Lovchinsky, who performed on December 8.
Mr. Lovchinsky is the recipient of the first place prizes in two piano competitions, the Eastman International Piano Competition and the Kozciusko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition. His work has won the praise of the great Earl Wild, who upon hearing him invited him to record on Wild’s own label, Ivory Classics. This debut CD was designated as one of the top five recordings of 2008 by Time Out International.
“The Rising Stars” series is the brainchild of Liliane Questel, a classical pianist and music presenter who is on the board of the Southampton Cultural Center.
Mr. Lovchinsky began his program with three pieces by Chopin: the Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2, the Ballade in F Minor, Op. 52, and the Nocturne in C sharp Minor, Op. Posth. These works fall well within the “Chopin’s favorite hits” category. Mr. Lovchinsky brought to them a brilliant technique and captured at once the exquisite grace and the peasant earthiness that characterize Chopin’s music, as well as what someone once called the “liquid architecture” of his larger design.
Mr. Lovchinsky followed this with Prokofiev’s great Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83. It is one of his three “war sonatas.” Written during the Second World War, it, as well as its companion sonatas Nos. 6 and 8, depicts the terrible uncertainty of its time: the deaths of friends and colleagues, the horrors of war and the terrors of the police state. It is characterized by jarring, dissonant harmonies and complex shifting rhythms. The heart-on-the-sleeve romanticism of the second movement beginning gives way to an anguished second theme but is brought back in a somewhat diminished form. The final movement is a relentless toccata, almost brutal, but not quite, demonstrating the motoric rhythms that are often characteristic of Prokofiev’s music. Mr. Lovchinsky proved himself to be as great an interpreter of Prokofiev as he is of Chopin and this was a profoundly moving rendition.
The final work of the evening was the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. This is the second of a series of nineteen and is surely the most popular. With characteristic humor, Mr. Lovchinsky noted that the interpretation by Bugs Bunny in “Rhapsody Rabbit” was a great inspiration for him. Mr. Lovchinsky performed this old warhorse as if it were a colt and the ink still wet on Liszt’s manuscript.
He closed the evening with two encores, “The Man I Love” and “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” both of which are etudes by Earl Wild on the original songs by George Gershwin. In his hands they glittered with a jazzy joy in life, and we left the hall humming.
After a few month hiatus the “Rising Stars” series will continue on April 6, with duo-pianists Michele and Kimberly Cann.

Review of Margarita Shevchenko's Recital
Notes of a Critic at Large
By F. Cord Volkmer

It goes without saying that Margarita Shevchenko would bring a superb technique to her performance at the Levitas Center for the Arts on November 10, 2012, but she also revealed a probing intelligence and an emotional commitment to her performance that raised it to the dizzying heights of pianism.

Ms. Shevchenko is the second returning pianist in the 10th anniversary season of the very successful Rising Stars Piano Series, which was initiated and is directed by Liliane Questel a board member of the Southampton Cultural Center, the association that directs the Levitas Center.

Ms. Shevchenko, who as a past participant in Pianofest and a returning pianist in this series, is well known to local audiences. She is a First Prize Winner in the Cleveland Piano Competition and was for several years on the piano faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music. She now lives in Florida, but she performs to great acclaim throughout the world.

The first work on her program was the Handel Chaconne in G major, op. 239. A chaconne is a vehicle for variations on a repeated short harmonic progression. The most famous of these is Bach’s great chaconne for solo violin. Though Handel devoted much of his career to the composition of operas and oratorios, he was a keyboard virtuoso, and this work is a tribute to his own abilities. Ms. Shevchenko sailed through every variation, decoration and invention with a silken ease, revealing that she is as at home in the baroque period as she is in the romantic music that took up the rest of her program.

She continued with Tchaikovsky’s Dumka, op. 59, in C minor, subtitled “Rustic Russian Scene.” A “dumka” is a Polish or Russian ballad, usually of a plaintive nature, and Ms. Shevchenko commented on its sheer emotional desolation, “the eternal note of sadness” that is an element in the Russian soul.

Next we heard the Scriabin Piano Sonata No.2. This is a work in two movements that has a quality of “hothouse” Chopin, and is of the period before Scriabin’s total loopiness. It is extraordinarily difficult to play and normally requires large hands. At one point there is a stretch of a twelfth. The second movement is unbelievably fast. Scriabin described it as the agitation of a stormy ocean. Ms. Shevchenko’s traversal of the work was nothing if not virtuosic.

But the two great masterworks on the program are Chopin’s two scherzi, No. 4 in E major and No. 2 in B-flat minor, played in that order. Here Ms. Shevchenko plumbed oceanic depths. No. 4 is the sunnier of the two, reflecting the light-heartedness that we normally associate with a scherzo. But even here the central movement is meditative and has a somber mood. Scherzo No. 2 has all the drama, the passion, and the variety of emotion that one might normally find in a much larger work. Ms. Shevchenko was more than equal to it. She had at her command a muscular power, a fleet-fingered grace, and a rubato that was like the breath of life itself. Her judicious use of pedal helped to provide an entire palette of nuances. This was artistry of the highest order. One could only feel privileged to be present to hear it.

Photo: Margarita Shevchenko and Liliane Questel at Little Red, Southampton, NY.


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