On Thursday, August 3rd, Manchester Music Festival Artistic Director Adam Neiman presents one of the organization’s season highlights at Southern Vermont Arts Center’s Arkell Pavilion at 8pm. On this evening, Maestro Ignat Solzhenitsyn will lead the group of musicians in two epic works of the orchestral repertoire: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major.
Recognized as one of today’s most gifted artists, and enjoying an active career as both conductor and pianist, Ignat Solzhenitsyn’s lyrical and poignant interpretations have won him critical acclaim throughout the world. He is the son of famed Nobel Prize winner and Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who settled his young family in Vermont in the late 1970’s. Of his return to the state for Manchester Music Festival after growing up here as a child, Ignat states that while he doesn’t perform here as often as he’d like, “it’s a wonderful and dear place that I love to share with people who also celebrate its beauty.”
In describing the evening’s works, Solzhenitsyn emphasizes how the two compositions are both unique in their own right and rarely performed together, “Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony is a familiar piece in the orchestral world, but still shocking and mesmerizing. At the time it was written, the composer was attempting a symphony on a scale that had never attempted before, by him or anyone else. The composition pushes the envelope of the range of human emotion that can be conveyed in one piece and Beethoven creates an entire journey within each movement resulting in a performance where the audience is truly transformed over the course of the hour.” Solzhenitsyn continues, “To have music that has that kind of profound and immediate impact on our lives, this is why I became a musician. I am grateful to live with music like this and share it with the public; it is such a privilege to create an experience like this for an audience.”
Presenting both works in one evening is unusual. They are big pieces that are typically performed alongside shorter compositions, but together they are complementary and create a musical dialogue.
On what to expect in the second half of the evening, Solzhenitsyn says, “Brahms only wrote four concertos, but they are all symphonic. The writing is superb and while he did not set any records for quantity, anything he deemed worthy of being published was highly sophisticated. At the time, concertos were a chance to show off for a soloist and wow the public. In these cases, what tended to be sacrificed was the work of the other orchestra parts and in their supportive role they were not terribly impressive. Brahms turned this on its head and made the orchestra and soloist equal protagonists. In this piano concerto, the piano writing is virtuosic and alongside the orchestra it creates a piece where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.”
On the 3rd, Solzhenitsyn is joined on stage by celebrated pianist Alexander Kobrin, 2005 Gold Medalist of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition – an event that is only held once every four years and brings together the best pianists in the world for two weeks of competition.
Of Solzhenitsyn’s appearance, Adam Neiman, Manchester Music Festival’s artistic director says, “We are ecstatic to have Ignat Solzhenitsyn headline our orchestral concert on August 3. He is one of the world’s great musicians and brings with him a tremendous amount of experience and wisdom. I think our audience will be blown away by his electric musicianship in this remarkable program.” He continues, “Alexander Kobrin is a powerful and dynamic pianist who will undoubtedly imbue his performance of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with poignancy and impressive virtuosic power; we are extremely fortunate to have him join Maestro Solzhenitsyn for this exciting evening.”
Tickets to the August 3rd Manchester Music Festival Orchestral Experience are $45 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online at mmfvt.org, by calling 802-362-1956, and at the Southern Vermont Arts Center Arkell Pavilion box office.