In the twenty-four years of its existence, the Keyboard Charitable Trust has assisted exceptionally talented young musicians to find and to sustain a platform in an increasingly difficult environment. The Keyboard Trust has never had a more worthy artist to champion than Vitaly Pisarenko, a pianist well-known in his native Russia, and in recent times a popular figure in many European cities. Pisarenko’s greatest success as a young competition player is undoubtedly the First Prize he took at the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht in 2008, and it was on the back of this achievement that the Keyboard Trust, in collaboration with the Liszt Society, gave him his first chance to play in London. He has since performed around the world with a broad and compelling series of recital programmes and concertos, to great critical acclaim. The present Wigmore Hall recital is offered by the Keyboard Trust in recognition of Pisarenko’s superior artistry.
Vitaly Pisarenko’s programme on 16th April 2015 presents a splendid array of music by Beethoven, Ravel, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev that is very close to his heart. He has described his choices in these words:
This Wigmore Hall recital programme was chosen for its juxtaposition of different styles, characters and emotions which encompass much that is important in the development of the Romantic and post-Romantic piano repertoire. Beethoven’s famous Grande Sonate pathétique is a relatively early composition (Op. 13, 1798) which adumbrates the direction that will be taken by his symphonies and some of the late piano sonatas. This arresting beginning is balanced by a polar opposite: Ravel’s piano cycle Miroirs, rarely heard in its entirety, with its rich impressionistic palette of unusual and mystical harmonies, and transparent and illusory sounds. Midway in sound and style lie Rachmaninov’s ‘Elegy’ and ‘Melody’ – Nos. 1 & 3 of the Morceaux de Fantaisie, Op. 3. These pieces are amongst the most delightful miniatures in the essential piano repertoire: romantic creations of extremely beautiful melody and harmony. It would be difficult to imagine a greater contrast with the final work in the recital: Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 6, the first of his triad of War Sonatas. This dramatic, tragic, defiant, and even sometimes grotesque composition of 1940 is imbued by the foreboding of the impending arrival of the Second World War upon Russian soil.
BEETHOVEN – Sonata No. 8 in C minor Op. 13 (Grande Sonate pathétique)
RAVEL – Miroirs
RACHMANINOV – Morceaux de Fantaisie Op. 3
PROKOFIEV – Sonata No. 6 in A major Op. 82
Further information and tickets
A little more background on Vitaly Pisarenko can be found in his responses to my Meet the Artist questionnaire:
Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career?
We had an upright piano at home as my mother studied at the musical school. I was trying to play something on it at the age of four and asked my parents to bring me to musical school.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
My teachers – Yuri Slesarev, Dmitri Alexeev, Boris Petrushansky, Oxana Yablonskaya and Aquiles Delle Vigne.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I try to create an interesting programme, making an unusual combination of pieces or adding some not overplayed compositions. In future I want to play more contemporary music. Unfortunately, I don’t have that much time for working on it now due to learning more “core repertoire”.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
I really enjoyed playing in Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Triphony Concert Hall in Japan. Those halls have an amazing acoustics.
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
I love every single piece I am performing and I am convinced it has to be like that.
I listen to a lot of orchestral and chamber music. Now my favourites are Schubert and Tchaikovsky Symphonies, piano trios by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Arensky, etc.
Who are your favourite musicians?
My favourite pianists are Emil Gilels, Vladimir Horowitz, Dinu Lipatti, Grigory Sokolov.
Vitaly Pisarenko gave his first public recital at the age of six. His initial musical training was in Ukraine (in Kiev with Natalia Romenskaya and in Kharkov with Garry Gelfgat). From 1999 to 2012 he studied at the Central Music School and State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow with Yuri Slesarev. From 2009 to 2012 he also studied with Oxana Yablonskaya at her Piano Institute in Italy. Since 2012, Pisarenko has been studying with Dmitri Alexeev at the Royal College of Music. He completed his Master’s degree at the RCM (with distinction) in 2014; and is currently studying at the RCM for an Artist Diploma and is an Emma Rose Scholar supported by a Kenneth and Violet Scott Award. He is also studying at the Piano Academy in Imola, Italy with Boris Petrushansky.
In 2008 (aged 21) he won First Prize at the Eighth International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht. Since then he has performed as a soloist with leading orchestras and ensembles, and as a recital soloist, throughout the world.
The Keyboard Charitable Trust is funded entirely by voluntary donations. Detailed information about the Trust may be found on its website.