New Ross Piano Festival
September 26th - 29th, 2013
The eighth New Ross Piano Festival promises to be another fascinating weekend. Russia is one of the iconic sources of piano music and pianists, from Tchaikovsky and The Five to Shostakovitch and Alfred Schnittke, from Rachmaninov, Gilels and Richter to Kissin, Demidenko and Volodos, to name but a few. So it is with great anticipation that we have this year engaged three Russian pianists. They come with varying backgrounds.
Lilya Zilberstein came to international attention in 1987 when she won the Busoni Competition in Bozen. From 1988 onwards although born in Moscow she was able to perform in the west, regularly visiting Italy, USA, Austria, and France. Over and above these appearances she has performed in practically all European countries as well as in Mexico, Japan, Korea and Brazil. For many years Lilya Zilberstein has been performing duos with Martha Argerich and Maxim Vengerov. She now lives in Germany.
28 year old Denis Kozhukhin was launched onto the international scene after winning First Prize in the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. Previous awards include 1st Prize at the Vendome Prize in Lisbon in 2009, and 3rd Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006. In the 12/13 season Kozhukhin will perform with the Vienna Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony and the Bournemouth Symphony. He returns to Japan to perform the complete cycle of Prokofiev sonatas and will also play the Prokofiev War Sonatas in London at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
In 2012 Nikolay Khozyainov, aged 19, took the title and won the Dublin International Piano Competition, and in the process now gets an opportunity to debut recitals at the Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York and Dublin's own National Concert Hall. He is from Blagoveschensk in the far eastern region of Russia. He began playing piano of his own accord when he was just 5 years old. He has performed recitals and played with orchestras around the world including in Malaysia, South Africa and the US and he has already won numerous prizes in his young career.
We also have a Russian violinist, Ilya Gringolts. As is usual at the Piano Festival, we engage a chamber group to play one item at each main concert, partnering each of the main pianists in turn. This year we are featuring the RTE Vanbrugh Quartet who are the Resident Quartet to Radio Telefis Eireann and Artists in Residence to University College Cork. Ilya Gringolts joins them for one special performance. The Financial Times calls him "...One of the most inspirational violinists today..." Ilya studied violin and composition in Saint Petersburg with Tatiana Liberova and Jeanna Metallidi and at the Juilliard School with Itzhak Perlman. Ilya’s recent and future orchestral highlights include the Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Abbado, a tour of Germany and Spain with NDR Orchester Hannover, a tour of Japan with the NHK Orchestra, Halle, Liverpool and Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, BBC Scottish Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, and Basel Symphony Orchestras, amongst others.
Our Artistic Director, Finghin Collins, will also be part of the main concerts. Widely regarded as one of Ireland's finest classical musicians, Finghin Collins is currently embarked on a fascinating project as the first ever Associate Artist of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. He is nearing the end of his three-year cycle of the complete Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos with the orchestra, and is directing many of them from the keyboard. Since taking first prize at the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Vevey, Switzerland in 1999, he enjoys a flourishing career that embraces Ireland, Europe, the United States and Asia.
Finally, in honour of the special year in New Ross, which is celebrating the anniversary of President JF Kennedy's visit to the town of his ancestors 50 years ago, we are looking forward to an all-American solo programme played by an American pianist Alexander Bernstein.
There will be the usual programmes with students of all ages, and pianos put in public spaces for the use of passers-by - all of which adds to the friendly, informal side of what is a festival of the highest quality performances.
Details of the artists and programmes will be posted shortly. In the meantime you can look up something about the artists at the website addresses below.
Reviews of past festivals are available in our Review Section
Jeremy Hill, writing about the festival, opined that "this piano festival now ranks in quality and imaginative organisation and programming with any other event of its like around the world. Its uniquely personal atmosphere is engendered by the superb location and acoustic quality of St. Mary’s Church. A dedicated volunteer and amateur committee deserves the sweetest smelling bouquet of bright and colourful flowers for they present an unequalled opportunity for music lovers to engage with the genius of world class piano playing."
Reviews were also written in the UK music magazines Gramophone, International Piano and Classical Music. Read them all in our Reviews Section, including BBC Music Magazine, where Daniel Jaffe gives a very accurate account of the feel of the festival and the area.