‘Poet at the piano’ returns to dazzle SA audiences

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Vitaly Pisarenko
Vitaly Pisarenko

In September, South African music lovers will again revel in the exquisite stylings of pianist Vitaly Pisarenko during his nationwide concert tour.

Described by the New York Times as an “immensely gifted pianist … with prodigious technique, myriad shadings and scrupulous accuracy”, the Russian pianist is regarded as one of the finest young musicians of his generation.

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His dazzling style has prompted more than one critic to compare his playing to that of a “young Franz Liszt”, so it was no surprise that he scooped first prize in the 8th International Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht 10 years ago. Since then, Pisarenko (now 31) has become a sought-after performer on the global stage, having toured to more than 25 countries.

He added South Africa to that extensive list three years ago, winning over hearts and minds with his meticulously executed and entertaining performances. Music reviewer Paul Boekkooi observed in Beeld that Pisarenko “knows intuitively that anticipation creates magic” and praised his “enchanting”, “evocative” and “charming” interpretations that saw “composers regaining their inherent grace”.

Now, Pisarenko is returning for a series of intimate recitals as well as concerts with local orchestras, from 2 to 29 September 2018, taking in Gauteng, the Free State, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Pisarenko’s programme for the seven recitals includes No.1 and No.2 of Schubert’s three Klavierstücke (D 946), Prokofiev’s 10 Pieces for Piano (Op. 12), Schumann’s Piano Sonata No. 2 (Op. 22), and Liszt’s Ballade No. 2 and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 10.

Vitaly Pisarenko’s South African recitals:

  • 2 September at 15:30 – Overstrand Arts/Kunste, Hermanus. Book via the tourism information office in town or call 028 312 2629.
  • 8 September at 19:00 – Lemon Jack Theatre, 267 Poole Avenue, Raslouw Agricultural Holdings, Centurion, Pretoria. Book via www.hannieheferpromotions.co.za/reservations/
  • 9 September at 16:00 – Olde ’n New Recitals at Glenshiel, 19 Woolston Road, Westcliff, Johannesburg. Tickets at the door.
  • 14 September at 19:30 – Tatham Art Gallery, Chief Albert Luthuli Road, Pietermaritzburg. To book, email Bryony.Clark@msunduzi.gov.za
  • 27 September at 18:00 – Wahnfried, 27 Bree Street, McGregor. Tickets at the door.
  • 29 September at 19:00 – La Motte Concert Series, Historic Wine Cellar, R45, Main Street, Franschhoek. Tickets online at www.la-motte.com or 021 876 8000

Vitaly Pisarenko will also perform as a soloist with local orchestras on the following dates:

  • 6 September at 20:00 – KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, Durban City Hall, performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, S. 125 under the baton of Daniel Raiskin. Tickets at Computicket.
  • 12 and 13 September at 20:00 – Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Linder Auditorium, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, under the baton of Perry So. Tickets at Computicket.
  • 22 September at 19:30 – Free State Symphony Orchestra at Odeion, University of the Free State Campus, Bloemfontein, performing Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, under the baton of Alex Fokkens. Tickets at Computicket.As an encore, here is how one Dutch reviewer described Pisarenko’s interpretation of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1: “The young virtuoso’s interpretation was highly individualistic, finely balanced on the dividing line between poetry and drama. His playing was filled with scintillating runs and feather-light trills, darting playfully among the pizzicato of the strings, sharing a musical joke with the lowly triangle, then just at the right moment looming up out of the shadows with tempestuous octave patterns. Like a poet at the piano, Pisarenko showed great affinity for the composer (he even looks a little like him!).”

    Don’t miss this opportunity to see this expressive performer in action in South Africa once again!

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