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A Passing Thought

GiltburgOur 32nd season opened this past Sunday with the Russian-born, Israeli-based pianist Boris Giltburg. He may be young (27 years), and he may not be a household name, but he left no doubt he is an artist to watch.

The buzz in the lobby at intermission was great: one woman described to me his ‘magic fingers’ and the beauty of the tone Boris summoned from the piano. No bashing here.

Boris’s program avoided the crowd-pleasing, bravura works that are often the mainstay of the recital stage, but his repertoire of Prokofiev, Bartok, Franck and Liszt still would have tested the mettle of any pianist. For me, what really set his playing apart were the breathtaking, gossamer pianissimos (if you attended the performance, think of the slow movement of the Prokofiev Sonata). Anyone who has played an instrument knows, it is one thing to make a loud sound, it is entirely different to produce the quietest tones and still have your instrument ‘speak’ with clarion tones.

Boris was charming and gracious in the question-and-answer session that followed his performance. It made the afternoon all that more special to have a glimpse into Boris’s life as a touring musician and his insight into his artistic choices.

Thank you Boris – it was a great way to begin the season!

We would love to hear what you have to say about our opening recital. You can leave your comments here.

Paul Gravett
Executive Director

PS  Boris graced us with two encores: the Rachmaninoff arrangement of Kreisler’s Liebesleid, and the Prelude in C sharp minor, again by Rachmaninoff.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Giltburg and Rysanov

Pianist Boris Giltburg at the Vancouver Playhouse on Sunday, September 25 at 3pm.

“From start (Liszt) to finish (Prokofiev), Boris Giltburg’s recital brought to light an aspect of virtuosity neglected by many of his peers: the close relationship between art and technique.” Schwetzinger Zeitung. In addition to Prokofiev and Lizst, Mr. Giltburg performs music by Franck and Bartok.

After reading the above review, we are thrilled that Boris Giltburg has included Liszt and Prokofiev on his September 25 debut at the Vancouver Playhouse. In anticipation, we have included a video of Mr. Giltburg performing Liszt at the Artur Rubinstein Piano Competition.

Video: Giltburg performs Liszt at Rubinstein Competition

Violist Maxim Rysanov with pianist Eldar Nebolsin at Kay Meek Centre on Sunday, October 16 at 3pm.

In selecting Rysanov’s recording of Bach Suites as the CD of the week, The Sunday Times wrote: “…Rysanov really claims the music for his lush-tones and 1780 Guadagnini viola in a manner few can rival. No admirer of great viola playing should forgo the pleasures of Rysanov’s playing.”

Maxim Rysanov performs music by Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Dubugnon and Franck.

Of course, we are equally thrilled that Maxim Rysanov has included Bach on his Kay Meek Centre program. Here is a film clip from his recording of the Bach Suites… for “the pleasures of Rysanov’s playing.”

Video: Rysanov Performs Bach

Getting to Know: Boris Giltburg

“The best about being the musician is that you get to experience that magical atmosphere…. created between the music, you and the audience…” Boris Giltburg

  • Who: 26-year-old Russian residing in Israel
  • First teacher: mother
  • Debut: age seven
  • Hobbies: languages and computer programming
  • Biggest inspiration: “classical music in its entirety – I learn and experience a lot by listening to the huge amount of works that exist in musical literature…”
  • Listening to: “I’m a heavy classical music fan – late Shostakovich Quartets, that type of thing. I like also opera and baroque music and of course jazz, which I unfortunately cannot play.”
  • Boris’s Facebook ‘likes’: Rainer Maria Rilke, Artur Rubenstein, Sviatoslav Richter, Grigory Sokolov (some of whom he counts among his inspirations).
  • Boris Giltburg makes his Vancouver debut at the Vancouver Playhouse on Sunday, September 25.

Call the Vancouver Recital Society box office this week to reserve your tickets and you will receive a special 15% discount: 604-602-0363.

(sources:, Facebook,