It was as a pianist that Rachmaninoff first distinguished himself, and the three concerts celebrate his virtuosity as composer for the keyboard. Chinese phenomenon and Curtis Institute of Music graduate Haochen Zhang and Russian sensation Nikolai Lugansky share pianistic laurels by performing all four of Rachmaninoff's piano concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
All three performances begin with Rachmaninoff's signature Vocalise, once for strings (heard with Rachmaninoff and The Philadelphia Orchestra via recording), once for piano four-hands (including Stéphane Denève), and once for voice and orchestra (featuring soprano Vanessa Vasquez). The repertoire for the performances April 27-29 also includes a work without which any Philadelphia Orchestra Rachmaninoff celebration would be incomplete: the composer's Symphonic Dances. Rachmaninoff's final completed work, it was dedicated to Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and premiered by the ensemble in 1941.
In fact, half the orchestral works in this Festival were premiered by The Philadelphia Orchestra. The composer himself was at the keyboard when the Orchestra and Leopold Stokowski gave the premieres of the Piano Concerto No. 4 and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, in 1927 and 1934, respectively.
Ticket holders are also invited to enjoy pre- and post-concert activities.
April 28—The Journeyman Musician
Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center
The Rachmaninoff Trilogy, Play Two: “Music in Exile”
John Hutton Sergei Rachmaninoff
Todd Cerveris Eugene Ormandy
Judith Lightfoot Clarke Natalia/Female Reporter
David Beach Alfred Swan
Peter Bradbury Dr. Nickolai Dahl / Alexander Siloti
Didi Balle Director/Script Writer
The Rachmaninoff Trilogy revolves around the real-life performances and events surrounding Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 1939 historic anniversary "Rachmaninoff Cycle" concert series featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff as pianist, composer and conductor. In "Musician in Exile" Rachmaninoff and his family are in a Moscow apartment having fled their home estate of Ivanovka. Food shortages, blackouts, and gunshots on streets below are part of daily life. Rachmaninoff is working on revising his Piano Concerto No. 1 written as a student. Rachmaninoff writes to his cousin Alexander Siloti to arrange the family’s escape. Siloti visits late at night and confesses there’s no way. The next day a cabled invite is sent to Rachmaninoff to visit Sweden for 10 concerts. Rachmaninoff takes his family along, telling authorities they’ll return to Russia after the concerts. Forced to leave everything behind, he arrives in Finland on Dec. 24, 1917. Rachmanionff learns that Ivanovka has been burned to the ground. Heartbroken, homeless, and without the country he loves, he decides to leave for America in 1918.
Concert (program listed above)
“Russian Salon” Postlude immediately following the orchestral concert:
Szymanowski Caprice No. 24 in A minor, from Three Paganini Caprices, Op. 40
Juliette Kang Violin
Parker Kitterman Piano
Rachmaninoff Prelude in G major, Op. 32, No. 5
Rachmaninoff Prelude in G-sharp minor, Op. 32, No. 12
Nikolai Lugansky Piano
Support for these performances of the Rachmaninoff Festival is provided by Tatiana Copeland. Mrs. Copeland's mother was the niece of Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Tatiana Copeland was named after the composer's daughter, Tatiana Sergeyevna Rachmaninoff.