Sunday, February 23, 2014
3:00 pm, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Concert Hall
Alexander Melnikov, piano
The New York Times calls pianist Alexander Melnikov’s performances “electrifying and rhapsodic.” The Washington Post says, “his imagination and ability to create long narrative arcs . . . put him among the most elite pianists today.” The last time Melnikov played in Middlebury, everyone asked us when would he be coming back. On this return engagement, he performs Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, and Book Two of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues. Associate Professor of Music Larry Hamberlin offers a pre-concert lecture at 2:15 pm in Room 221. Sponsored by the Performing Arts Series, with support from anonymous PASS producer-level members.
Reserved Seating. Tickets: $25/20/6. Visit the Box Office for details>>
SCHUMANN Symphonic Etudes
SHOSTAKOVICH 24 Preludes and Fugues, Book 2
Alexander Melnikov, born in Moscow in 1973, performed Rachmaninov's First Piano Concerto at the age of 12 and was heavily influenced by Sviatoslav Richter. Melnikov's involvement with historically informed performance began at 18; today, it continues to play an important role in his repertoire. In addition to performances on the fortepiano, Melnikov shares the stage with Andreas Staier in a special collaboration featuring Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues (Alexander Melnikov - piano) and J.S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier (Andreas Staier - harpsichord).
Melnikov's recording of the Shostakovich cycle, released in 2010 with harmonia mundi, was awarded the BBC Music Magazine Award 2011 in the instrumental category, "Choc de classica" for the best recording in 2010, and the Deutsche Schallplattenkritik 2010. It was also named by the BBC Music Magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Recordings of All Time." Melnikov has brought the cycle to Vienna, Berlin, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Tokyo and Nagoya.
Melnikov's association with the label harmonia mundi arose through his regular recital partner, violinist Isabelle Faust, and in 2010 their complete recording of the Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano won both Germany's ECHO Klassik prize and a Gramophone Award. This CD, which has become a reference recording of this repertoire, was also nominated for the Grammy. Melnikov has recorded works by Rachmaninov and Scriabin, among others, for harmonia mundi as well; his highly-anticipated recording of Shostakovich's Piano Concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Teodor Currentzis was released in February 2012 to critical acclaim.
Chamber music provides an essential complement to Melnikov's activities. In addition to Isabelle Faust, his colleagues include cellists Alexander Rudin and Jean-Guihen Queyras, as well as baritone Georg Nigl. He also performs as a member of a wind quintet featuring Teunis van der Zwart (horn), Marcel Ponseele (oboe), Lorenzo Coppola (clarinet) and Javier Zafra (bassoon).
As a recitalist, Melnikov has appeared in halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet and London's Wigmore Hall.
As a soloist, he has performed with orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra, NDR Sinfonieorchester, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, HR-Sinfonieorchester, BBC Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, NHK Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic and Orquestra Sinfónica de Madrid, under conductors including Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Paavo Järvi, Teodor Currentzis and Alexander Vedernikov.
Highlights in the 2012/13 season include orchestral engagements with the Münchner Philharmoniker, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden/Freiburg, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Tapiola Sinfonietta. In addition to solo and chamber music recitals at Berlin's Konzerthaus, Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw, Vienna's Mozarthaus, London's Wigmore Hall and The Philip's Collection in Washington, DC, Melnikov will be making appearances at festivals such as the International Chopin Music Festival in Warsaw, Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, Niedersächsische Musiktage in Germany, Mozartwoche in Salzburg, Zaubersee Festival in Lucerne, Hindsgavl Festival and Eilat Festival.
"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