CSO's RUSSIAN WINTER FESTIVAL II To Feature Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto

CSO's RUSSIAN WINTER FESTIVAL II To Feature Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto

The celebration of Russian composers continues as CSO Music Director Rossen Milanov and the musicians of the Columbus Symphony present a program that juxtaposes Tchaikovsky's passionate, romantic music against Prokofiev's bold symphonic tableaux. The program includes the Suite from Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty as well as his Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring special guest pianist Sergei Babayan. The performance will conclude with Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5.

The Columbus Symphony presents the Russian Winter Festival II: Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.) on Friday and Saturday, January 11 and 12, at 8pm. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.columbussymphony.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. The CAPA Ticket Center will also be open two hours prior to each performance.

Prelude - Patrons are invited to join WOSU's Christopher Purdy in the theatre at 7pm for a 30-minute, pre-concert discussion about the works to be performed.

Postlude - Directly following the performance, patrons are invited to stay for a talk-back with Maestro Milanov and pianist Sergei Babayan.

Experience a working rehearsal prior to that evening's opening-night performance. Seating is general admission for this 2.5-hour, open rehearsal, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the fine tuning and preparation behind a Masterworks main stage performance. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.columbussymphony.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Admission includes coffee and light fare.

Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Rossen Milanov is currently the music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (OSPA) in Spain.

In 2017, Milanov received an Arts Prize from The Columbus Foundation for presenting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as part of CSO's 2017 Picnic with the Pops summer series. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its reach by connecting original programming with community-wide initiatives, such as focusing on women composers and nature conservancy, presenting original festivals, and supporting and commissioning new music.

Milanov has collaborated with some of the world's preeminent artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Christian Tetzlaff, and André Watts. During his 11-year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra, he conducted more than 200 performances. In 2015, he completed a 15-year tenure as music director of nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C in New Jersey. In 2013, he wrapped up a 17-year tenure with the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria. His passion for new music has resulted in numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Derek Bermel, Mason Bates, Caroline Shaw, Phillip Glass, Richard Danielpour, Nicolas Maw, and Gabriel Prokofiev, among others.

Noted for his versatility, Milanov is also a welcomed presence in the worlds of opera and ballet. He has collaborated with Komische Oper Berlin for Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtzensk), Opera Oviedo for the Spanish premiere of Tchaikovsky's Mazzepa and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle (awarded best Spanish production for 2015), and Opera Columbus for Verdi's La Traviata.

An experienced ballet conductor, he has been seen at New York City Ballet and collaborated with some of the best-known choreographers of our time, such Mats Ek, Benjamin Millepied, and most recently, Alexei Ratmansky in the critically acclaimed revival of Swan Lake in Zurich with the Zurich Ballet, and in Paris with La Scala Ballet.

Hailed for his emotional intensity, bold energy, and remarkable levels of color, Sergei Babayan brings a deep understanding and insight to an exceptionally diverse repertoire. Le Figaro has praised his "unequaled touch, perfectly harmonious phrasing and breathtaking virtuosity." Le Devoir from Montreal put it simply, "Sergei Babayan is a genius. Period." Babayan has collaborated with such conductors as David Robertson, Neeme Järvi, Yuri Temirkanov, Thomas Dausgaard, Tugan Sokhiev, and Dima Slobodeniouk among others. Over the years, he has performed with Valery Gergiev numerous times to great critical acclaim, including appearances at the International Festival "Stars of the White Nights," the Moscow Easter Festival, the Barbican Centre with Mo. Gergiev conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, in St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Théâtre des Champs-Elyseés in Paris, at the Salzburg Festival, and at the Rotterdam Philharmonic-Gergiev Festival where Babayan was artist-in-residence.

Tchaikovksy was a Russian composer of the romantic period, whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the US. He was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III and awarded a lifetime pension.

The Sleeping Beauty is a ballet in a prologue and three acts, first performed in 1890. Completed by Tchaikovsky in 1889, it is the second of his three ballets. The premiere performance took place at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on January 15, 1890 and has since become one of the classical repertoire's most famous ballets.

The Piano Concerto No. 1 was composed by Tchaikovsky between November 1874 and February 1875. It was revised in the summer of 1879 and again in December 1888. The first version received heavy criticism from Nikolai Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky's desired pianist. Rubinstein later repudiated his previous accusations and became a fervent champion of the work.

Russian Soviet composer, pianist, and conductor Sergei Prokofiev is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. He created - excluding juvenilia - seven completed operas, seven symphonies, eight ballets, five piano concertos, two violin concertos, a cello concerto, a symphony-concerto for cello and orchestra, and nine completed piano sonatas.

Prokofiev wrote his Symphony No. 5 in one month during the summer of 1944 in Soviet Russia. Fourteen years had passed since he wrote the first version of his Symphony No. 4. World War II was still raging during the symphony's gestation, and Prokofiev composed it in the Soviet Union. He gave out in a statement at the time that he intended it as "a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit." He added "I cannot say that I deliberately chose this theme. It was born in me and clamored for expression. The music matured within me. It filled my soul."

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