The UAB Piano Series this season will feature performances by world-class pianists Nikolai Lugansky on Oct. 28, 2012, Alexander Shtarkman on Jan. 13, 2013, and Sara Daneshpour on March 10, 2013.
Performances in the UAB Piano Series are held at 4 p.m. in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $5 for UAB students with valid I.D. Season tickets for all three performances are available. Call 205-975-2787 for tickets. The UAB Piano Series is presented by the UAB Department of Music; visit the department online at www.uab.edu/music.
Lugansky, set to perform Sunday, Oct. 28, is among the world’s top five pianists, says UAB Professor of Piano Yakov Kasman, D.M.A. Born to research scientists in Moscow, Lugansky’s musical ability shone brightly at an early age. When he was only five, before he had even been taught to read music, he went to a neighbor’s house and played a Beethoven sonata from memory, having learned the music by ear. He won first prize in the All-Union Competition in Tbilisi in 1988 and the silver medal at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig. In 1990 he took second prize at Moscow’s Rachmaninoff Competition. He was awarded “Best Pianist” in 1992 at the International Summer Academy Mozarteum in Austria. In 1994, after recovering from back and foot injuries sustained in an accident, and after the death of his teacher, he won the 1994 Tchaikovsky Competition.
Today, Lugansky is considered one of the world’s great interpreters of piano repertoire. His concerts, recitals and chamber music performances throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas have earned him rave reviews. His recordings include Chopin’s “Etudes,” as well as Rachmaninoff’s “Preludes and Moments Musicaux” and Chopin’s “Preludes,” all of which won Diapason d’Or de L’Annee awards. In addition to performing, Lugansky teaches at the Moscow Conservatory.
Shtarkman, set to perform Sunday, Jan. 13, has wowed critics and audiences alike. His debut recitals in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City prompted strong words of praise. Martin Bernheimer of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Alexander Shtarkman. Remember the name.... He plays the piano with all the strength, flash and eagerness that his age would suggest. He also plays with the sensitivity and mellow refinement one associates with certain grand old men of the keyboard, most of them Russian.”
In August 1995, Shtarkman was awarded the First Prize of the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy. As a result, he has been offered more than 60 European recitals and orchestral engagements. Shtarkman also is a winner of the 1989 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the 1994 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. He won first prize at the First Taipei International Piano Competition. He is a frequent guest performer at the prestigious Great and Small Halls of the Moscow Conservatory. Since 2002, Shtarkman has been a member of the piano faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
Daneshpour, set to perform Sunday, March 10, is a finalist for the ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association. She won first prize this year at the XII Concours International de Musique du Maroc, in Morocco; second prize in the 2007 William Kapell International Piano Competition; first prize and gold medal of the 2007 International Russian Music Piano Competition; and first prize at the 2003 Beethoven Society of America Competition. Daneshpour is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, studying under Leon Fleisher, and is pursuing her master’s degree at the Juilliard School with Yoheved Kaplinsky. Daneshpour has performed in her native city of Washington, D.C., and in New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Russia, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Denmark and Sweden. She has been heard on the stages of prestigious venues including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and the Great Hall of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
Of her performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Washington Post wrote “she created transfixing poetry. And she found delightful details in passagework and incidents that other pianists treat as routine.” The Baltimore Sun stated that she “delivered a powerhouse account of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No.1, producing enough tone for two pianists in the process,” while The Mercury News called her performance “sensational,” adding: “Strength, finesse, passion; it was all there.”