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Serving Up Virtuosity

I read with interest a New York Times article (found here) about the plethora of virtuosi currently found on the concert stages.

According to the author, Anthony Tommasini, there are perhaps more technically gifted pianists now than at any other time. Compositions that were once the exclusive domain of the rare pianists are now commonplace on the concert stage.

Interestingly, Tommasini suggests today’s concert-goer does not necessarily appreciate the upsurge in technical prowess due to the simple fact that phenomenal technique is now expected.

Tommasini goes on to describe reasons for the increased dexterity (“learning to practice the craft better, becoming better conditioned”), as well as two types of pianistic groups: those who have the technique to play anything and those who have the technique to play the music that is most important to them.

Throughout the article many pianists are cited, almost all of whom are very familiar to the VRS audiences. We posted a link to the article on the VRS Facebook page last week. In response, David Gordon Duke wrote that the article “made me think about how remarkable our Vancouver recital diet has been over the years”.

Perhaps with a little bravura of our own, we thought it would be fun to list the pianists mentioned by Tommasini along with some of their performance dates.

Yuja Wang (November 2008, May 2010); Lang Lang (October 1999, March 2002, November 2004, October 2008, January 2011); Yundi Li (April 2004, April 2006); Pierre-Laurent Aimard (October 2003, October 2007); Nikolai Lugansky (February 2009); Piotr Anderszewski (March 2003, October 2008); Richard Goode (February 1998, April 2001, April 2005, February 2007); Jean-Yves Thibaudet (January 1999, April 2001); Evgeny Kissin (September 1996); and Stephen  Hough (February 1991, October 2000).

It reads like a VRS season made in heaven!

We are equally proud to be presenting three more mentioned pianists in our upcoming season: Kirill Gerstein, the Gilmore Artist Award-winning pianist performing on Thursday, April 19; Alfred Brendel, who offers a lecture on Friday, October 21; and pianist András Schiff, who will perform with baritone Christian Gerhaher on Monday, May 14.

The Vancouver recital diet has indeed been rich, and the Vancouver Recital Society is more the pleased to provide the menu.

Paul Gravett
Executive Director

P.S. Mr. Schiff made his Canadian debut on our series at the Arts Club on Granville Island in 1982. Leila describes it as “one of the landmark concerts of my life”.

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