Benjamin Grosvenor in Miami

Benjamin Grosvenor

On Tuesday March 5, 2019, Benjamin Grosvenor gave a remarkable recital
to a a very enthusiastic audience in Miami. Although still in his mid-twenties, Grosvenor has developed a large, enthusiastic following of sophicaticated pianophiles in Miami since his first recital at age 17. Grosvenor, who had met the late Ivan Davis when he first played in Miami, remarked that Davis had encouraged him to play more Schumann. As a tribute to Davis, Grosvenor played Schumann’s Blumenstücke and Kreisleriana in the first half and ended the recital with Liszt’s Norma Paraphrase, for which Davis had made a legendary recording.

Unlike many pianists, Grovenor’s programs are fascinatingly balanced
with a wide range of repertoire. On this occasion, the program ranged
from the Schumann to a Janacek Sonata, excerpts from Prokofiev’s
Vision Fugitives and Liszt’s Norma Paraphrase.

The Kreisleriana in the first half of the recital was reminiscent of
an unforgetable Kreisleriana that Horowitz played at Carnegie
Hall in November 1968, while his stunning rendition of Liszt’s
Reminiscences de Norman was the most memorable since Davis over 30
years ago. The audience exploded with enthusiasm!


Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Piano, Romantic Era

Joyful Atavism: Benjamin Grosvenor in Recital


Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor

British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor more than justified his celebrity among dominant virtuosos Tuesday, March 12 at the MacAfee Performing Arts Lecture Center, Saratoga, under the auspices of the Steinway Society the Bay Area. In a manner as astonishing technically as it proved intellectually aggressive, Grosvenor performed a marathon recital in the style of the “old school” grand masters – Hofmann, Backhaus, Wild, and Slenczynska – with music by Schumann, Janacek, Prokofiev, and Liszt that raised the roof to a degree that superlatives become trite. Even the two encores, respectively by Moszkowski (Etude in A-flat) and Ginastera, would have sufficed to establish Grosvenor’s mastery in scintillating and virile musicianship if the prior piece, his rendition of Liszt’s 1844 Reminiscences de Norma: Grande fantasia, had not generated enough kinetic energy to spin an infinite chorus of dervishes.  

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Romantic Era

Duo Papillion — Music for Piano Four Hands

We were treated to piano synergy Friday night, March 8, 2019, at First Presbyterian Church in Carmel. Pianists Barbara Ruzicka and Kumiko Uyeda debuted as a newly-founded, four-hand piano ensemble to be known as Duo Papillion.They filled the sanctuary with wonderful music for an attentive audience performing on a Steinway concert grand piano that sounded very nice indeed. I have fond memories of playing duets as a piano student, but my efforts didn’t come close to the fine musicianship exhibited by Duo Papillon.

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Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Piano, Romantic Era

Aptos Keyboard Series — Pianist Daria Kiseleva

Pianist Daria Kiseleva

In presenting the truly gifted Russian star pianist Daria Kiseleva, Artistic Director Josef Sekon has lifted the artistic bar another notch. Ms. Kiseleva’s two-hour performance Sunday, February 3, at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Aptos was beyond exhilarating. 

Saint John’s Episcopal Church is an excellent acoustical and intimate venue well suited for the Aptos Keyboard Series’ highly talented artists. In the words of Roy Malan, Concertmaster of the San Francisco Ballet “the most superb acoustics in Santa Cruz County” rang true.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Classical Era, Piano, Romantic Era

Yoel Levi Conducts Israel Philharmonic in Miami

Yoel Levi

On February 6, 2019, Yoel Levi conducted the Israel Philharmonic
at Miami’s Arsht Center. The program consisted of Schubert’s Third
Symphony and the Bruckner Seventh Symphony. The featured work, Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony, written between 1881 and 1883, was played after intermission. It is a work of gigantic dimensions, fullness of sound and richly complex harmony.

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Archived in these categories: Classical Era, Orchestral, Romantic Era