Violinist Eldar Hudiyev & pianist James Neiman in Home Concert

Over 60 invited guests, many of whom were important members of the Monterey Peninsula’s musical community, assembled last night at the home of Alicia and James Neiman at Carmel Valley Ranch to hear the local solo debut of violinist Eldar Hudiyev. Collaborating with Hudiyev was our host, accomplished pianist James Neiman, who although having for many years pursued an academic career in mathematics and science, never neglected his first love — the piano — and managed to continue developing his pianistic skills through many years of coaching with several distinguished pianists, including Adolf Baller and Hans Boepple.

Eldar Hudiyev is a member of an intensely musical family from Turkmenistan. His brother is the multi talented violinist, conductor and composer Farkhad Khudyev, who is also Music Director of the Youth Music Monterey Orchestra. Another talented brother, clarinetist Emil Khudyev (who has appeared locally as concerto soloist and recitalist) is married to the exciting young pianist Nozomi Marusawa. At a time when our Nation’s Presidential agenda is obsessed with “making America great again” and pushing for stricter immigration policies, this formidable family is a fine example of how America remains a land of opportunity and a haven for immigrants who have the potential to contribute greatly to the richness of our culture.

Eldar Hudiyev, who has a masters degree in Violin Performance from Boston University, has been the recipient of numerous awards in international violin competitions. In addition to his many appearances as concerto soloist and ensemble player, he is also a distinguished teacher of violin and is on the faculties of the Stevenson School, Monterey International School and the Home Charter School in Monterey.

It was an exciting program Hudiyev and Neiman had prepared for us on this occasion consisting of Mozart’s Sonata in G Major, K. 301, Beethoven’s Sonata in D Major, Op. 12, No. 3, Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, and concluding with the great Sonata in A Major by César Franck. There was a lot of contrast between the stylish presentation of Mozart and Beethoven, the lush drawing out of sensuous sound in the Rachmaninoff and then the roof raising intensity of the Franck Sonata. Elder impressed us with his virtuosity in the faster works and charmed us with his languishing soulful sound in the Rachmaninoff. This was bold authoritative playing in the grand romantic style.

Pianist Neiman proved himself equal to any challenge and played up a storm. Advancing from the refined Viennese classical style to the full-blown romanticism of César Franck he got around the keyboard like a seasoned pro. Not to be outdone by the many members of Eldar’s talented family, the Neimans were well represented. His charming wife, Alicia, was a gracious hostess, and one of his beautiful daughters, Angela, was turning pages — another beautiful daughter, Veronica, was in the audience, probably with some other members of the Hudiyev/Neiman clans I didn’t have the good fortune to meet.

It was an enthusiastic and cheering audience that demanded an encore. In fact, he played two: Liebeslied (“Love’s Sorrow”) by Fritz Kreisler and Sicilienne by Maria Theresia von Paradis. Eldar and his family (his wife was absent on this occasion tending for one of their ailing children) have settled in Monterey. We will be hearing a lot more from him in the future.

There was another artistic presence at this concert. It was the Neiman’s five-year-old ebonized Steinway Model B piano — it is a very distinguished and rich-sounding fabulous instrument. One more footnote I would like to add is about the pronunciation of Neiman. I wondered whether it should be pronounced “NYE-man” or “KNEE-man.” Daughter Angela settled that for me by saying, “Think Neiman Marcus, that’s the way we pronounce it.”

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