Russian Pianist Alexander Melnikov Returns to Middlebury February 23
February 5, 2014
Program Features an Encore Performance of Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues
Middlebury, VT—Back by popular demand, Russian piano sensation Alexander Melnikov returns to the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series on Sunday, February 23. On the heels of his stunning duo performance with violinist Isabelle Faust in January, Melnikov will this time play a solo program of Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes and Book Two of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues, op. 87.
Melnikov has become a known authority on the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues; his 2010 recording of the 24 Preludes and Fugues for the harmonia mundi label was greeted with rave reviews, including Classica Magazine’s 2010 “Choc de Classica” for best recording, and BBC Music Magazine’s 2011 Instrumental Recording of the Year. His interpretation was heralded as an “electrifying and rhapsodic” standard by the New York Times. Melnikov’s 2011 Middlebury performance of this epic work was rewarded with three standing ovations.
Born in Moscow in 1973, Melnikov performed Rachmaninoff’s First Piano Concerto at the age of 12 and was heavily influenced by famed Soviet pianist Sviatoslav Richter. He was awarded important prizes at such eminent competitions as the International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau (1989) and the Concours Musical Reine Elisabeth in Brussels (1991).
As a recitalist, Melnikov has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious music venues, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet, and London’s Wigmore Hall. As a soloist, he has performed with orchestras such as the Russian National Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, Philadelphia Orchestra (under Charles Dutoit), Rotterdam Philharmonic (under Velery Gergiev), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
His performances and recordings certainly please his audiences, but they also draw praise from the music critic community. “Melnikov’s playing has wonderful colour and imagination ... His pianissimi are astonishing, with long, meticulously nuanced passages often remaining very, very quiet, while, in the sculpted fugues, the intensification of volume runs to a purposeful plan ... Everything is testament to reflection and skill, yet the pianist is not lecturing, but laughing, dreaming, lamenting and dancing”—Jan Brachmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “His playing is always refined, yet resolutely committed. His great achievement is to be simultaneously conspicuous and discreet, both sensitive and full of character”—Bavarian radio.
Melnikov’s concert is made possible with support from anonymous Performing Arts Series Society (PASS) producer-level members. In just its second year, PASS now boasts over 100 members drawn from the College, the Addison County community, and beyond.
The concert by Alexander Melnikov will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 3:00 P.M. at Middlebury College’s Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts, in the Concert Hall. (Associate Professor of Music Larry Hamberlin offers a pre-concert lecture at 2:15 P.M. in the adjacent Room 221.) The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Free parking is available. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://www.middlebury.edu/arts.