Chinese American pianist Haochen Zhang became a gold medalist and a first prize winner of the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. At age 19, he was one of the youngest winners in the competition. Ten years later, Haochen has just released his second recording. It features Tchaikovsky's powerful Piano Concerto No. 1 and the work he performed in the final round of the Cliburn Competition: Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2.
Bach and Gounod's Ave Maria has always held a special place in violinist Anne Akiko Meyers' repertoire: she grew up playing the beloved work. "It's just one of the most beautiful pieces," Meyers shared during her August 16 Impromptu performance with pianist Marta Aznavoorian. Meyers visited WFMT ahead of her Sunday evening performance of Barber's Piano Concerto at Ravinia Festival with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra.
Mahan Esfahani’s goal in life, his biographical note says, is to “bring the harpsichord to the concert mainstream”. To further this, the Iranian-American musician commissions new pieces, which is certainly one way of taking the keyboard instrument that plucks its strings out of history’s cocoon and welcoming it into the modern world. The other way is to give such thunderously exciting performances of old repertoire that anyone with ears to hear will sit there with mouth agape.
As the outstanding harpsichordist of the younger generation, Esfahani naturally plays the toccatas on a harpsichord… Esfahani’s playing feels free and spontaneous without losing the underlying pulse of the music. The toccatas display their brilliance proudly. One can imagine the young Bach showing off his prowess just like this.
One of the most gifted violinists of her generation, Anne Akiko Meyers embodies what a virtuoso violinist should be as a powerful interpreter of beloved repertoire that spans centuries and yet poised to open that same repertoire to new music, serving as a vanguard in what has traditionally been a guarded space.