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credit: Benjamin Ealovega

Dutch cellist, Russian pianist perform in Center for the Arts November 7

October 24, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? At 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7, in the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Concert Hall, Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey and pianist Alexander Melnikov will perform together a collection of works by Barber, Chopin, Martinu and Rachmaninoff. Wispelwey performed at Middlebury in 2006, accompanied by pianist Dejan Lazic, featuring a program of Beethoven's complete works for cello and piano.

Wispelwey is among the first of a generation of performers who are equally at ease on the modern or the period cello. His stylistic awareness, original interpretation and phenomenal technical mastery have won the hearts of critics and public alike.

Born in Haarlem, Netherlands, Wispelwey received early musical training with Dicky Boeke and Anner Bylsma in Amsterdam, and later with Paul Katz and William Pleeth. In 1992 he became the first cellist to receive the Netherlands Music Prize, which is awarded to the most promising native young musician. His career has spanned five continents and he has performed with many of the world's leading orchestras and collaborated with conductors including Ivan Fischer, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Herbert Blomstedt, Vassily Sinaisky, Paavo Berglund, Louis Langrée, Marc Minkowski, Ton Koopman, Libor Pesek and Sir Roger Norrington.

Recent performances include return engagements throughout Europe, Asia and North America. He will do extensive touring in the Netherlands and across Europe to mark Haydn's anniversary in 2009.

With regularly scheduled recital appearances worldwide, Wispelwey has established a reputation as one of the most charismatic recitalists performing today. His discography, available on Channel Classics, displays an impressive line-up of more than twenty recordings, six of which attracted major international awards. With pianist Dejan Lazic, he has recorded the complete works for cello and piano by Beethoven. Other releases include Dvorák's "Cello Concerto," with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Ivan Fischer in 2007 and Shostakovich's Concerto No. 2 with Sinfonietta Cracovia in 2008.

Pianist Alexander Melnikov joins Wispelwey for this performance. Born in Moscow in 1973, Melnikov has earned a reputation as one of the finest Russian pianists of his generation. He began studying music at age six at Moscow's Central Music School, and graduated from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in 1997. He completed his post-graduate studies in Munich with Elisso Wirssaladze and at the Fondazione per il Pianoforte in Italy, where he had lessons with Andreas Staier and Carl-Ulrich Schnabel among others. As a student he won several major international piano competitions and soon after launched his worldwide tours.

Melnikov collaborates with orchestras including the Russian National Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, BBC Philharmonic and BBC Symphony. He also performs on fortepiano.

He regularly appears at the world's leading concert halls including the Concertgebouw, Santory Hall, Alte Oper Frankfurt and Théâtre Musical de Paris Le Chatelet. Melnikov had close artistic ties with the late Sviatoslav Richter, who often invited him to participate in his festivals in Moscow and and had close artistic ties with the late Sviatoslav Richter, who often invited him to participate in his festivals in Moscow and Tours, France.

Between 1993 and 2003, Melnikov performed extensively with Vadim Repin, and he is currently part of a well-established duo with Isabelle Faust. Other partners include Natalia Gutman, Yuri Bashmet, Alexander Rudin and Jean-Guihen Queyras. In piano-duo he appears regularly with Andreas Staier, Boris Berezovsky and Alexei Lubimov.

Melnikov was featured as a BBC New Generation Artist from 2000 to 2002 and broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 3 in recital and chamber music as well as performing and recording with the BBC Orchestras. Since 2004, he has recorded with Harmonia Mundi France and released CDs with works by Brahms, Rachmaninov and Scriabin. Future releases will include the Shostakovich "Preludes and Fugues" for piano and all Beethoven "Sonatas for Violin and Piano" with Isabelle Faust.

Since 2002 he has taught piano at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

The performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series. Reserved seating tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for seniors. A pre-performance dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. at Rehearsals Cafe in the Center for the Arts. Reservations are required. For information, tickets or dinner reservations, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433, or visit the Web site at