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Hotchkiss Summer Portals Excitement

Music Preview
by Kevin T. McEneaney
Tue Jul 18th, 2017

Oxana Yablonskaya at Hotckhiss last summer

Hotchkiss Summer Portals Program for students covers a whole range of subjects from astronomy to robotics, theater to music, and numerous other subjects. The most well-known program that admits students from all over the globe, remains the Piano Portals program because it offers free public concerts.

The Fifth Anniversary Gala Concert will be celebrated at Elfers Hall on July 22 at 7:30 pm. The Fine Arts Quartet will perform Haydn’s String Quartet in D major, Op. 64 (The Lark). The Fine Arts Quartet will accompany Fabio Witkowski and Gisele Nacif Witkowski on Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 47 and Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44. The concert honors Frederick Frank '50, a former board member and chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his wife, Mary Tanner Frank. The concert will be preceded by student piano recitals beginning at 2 pm, which will are also open to the public. Rumor has it that there are some super-talented students who will perform this year.

The free concert series began last Sunday with Boris Berman from Yale University. The next concert is tomorrow evening at 7: 30 with Brazilian pianist Luiz De Moura Castro from the Hartt School of Music, whose concert I missed last year and I am excitedly looking forward to review this year. I did once hear him play and I recall that his sense of rhythm was extraordinary. He is renowned for his performances of Cuban and South American composers, as well as Chopin and Alberto Ginastera. Among his over forty cd recordings, I possess his recording of Ginsatera’s piano pieces—I regard that superlative recording as definitive.

Tuesday, July 25, at 7:30 p.m. will feature Yuri Bogdanov (born 1972), an assistant to Professor A. Nasedkin at the Moscow Conservatoire; Yuri currently is Professor at the Moscow State Chopin Music College. He regularly gives master classes in Russian cities and abroad, including Hotchkiss this summer. He gave his first public piano concert at the age of five. He has won numerous Russian and international awards and has several CD recordings. Radio and TV appearances of Yuri Bogdanov have been broadcast nationwide in Russia. As a soloist of the Moscow State Philharmonic, he gives recitals and performs with orchestras in the best concert halls of Russia (including the Big Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire and Tchaikovsky Concert Hall). A video of Bogdanov playing a Chopin Scherzo appears below.

Thursday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m. will feature Oxana Yablonskaya, renowned for her Romantic virtuosity at the keyboard and once considered “The best kept secret of the Soviet Union.” Ms. Yablonskaya has now performed in more than 40 countries. For a review of her exciting—fabulous really—concert last year click here. For that most marvelous concert, Elfers Hall was filled to capacity, so I advise an early arrival.

Saturday, July 29, at 7:30 p.m. will present the Grand Finale Concert whose program is not yet announced and always remains a mystery to be unveiled. This program consists of both teachers and students, and is often the most lively and spontaneous event for music lovers in the area.