The Pharos Contemporary Music Festival may be over for another year but the Pharos Arts Foundation is still going strong with the organisation of even more concerts by the best artists in their fields. The foundation’s dedication to music continues next Friday with another first when pianist Konstantin Lifschitz will make his debut appearance to the Nicosia crowd.
Having established a worldwide reputation for performing extraordinary feats of endurance with honesty and persuasive beauty, Lifschitz has appeared in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls with leading orchestras, besides being an active recording artist and a commanding conductor. His performance was praised as “the most magical moment” and “deeply satisfying” by The Independent, and “naturally expressive and gripping” by the New York Times.
For his recital at The Shoe Factory, the pianist will perform a colossal programme with what is considered to be the twin peak of the classical keyboard repertory: Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations.
Goldberg Variations was composed in 1741. It is a demonstration of unmatched craft in music history and genuine, poetic imagination. This sublime, compassionate and relentlessly intricate work, consisting of an aria and 30 variations, still engages scholars hundreds of years after its publication and is equally valuable for attracting new listeners to the magnificent music of JS Bach.
The story behind Diabelli Variations is just as mesmerising as the piece itself. In 1819, Viennese publisher Anton Diabelli sent a letter to a number of leading composers of the time (including Schubert, Czerny and Liszt), asking each of them to write a variation on a waltz he composed. His idea was to publish the collection, and raise money to support the orphans of soldiers killed in the Napoleonic wars. Beethoven initially declined, then he decided to submit one variation, and eventually, he was so fascinated by the idea that over a period of four years and while working on his ninth Symphony, he composed a set of 33 variations based on Diabelli’s theme.
Lifschitz, who will take on these two pieces, was enrolled in the Gnessin Special School of Music in Moscow at the age of five. After graduating he continued his studies in Russia, England and Italy.
Since his sensational debut recital in the October Hall of the House of Unions in Moscow at the age of 13, the pianist has performed solo recitals at major festivals and the most important concert venues worldwide and appears with leading international orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
As a soloist he has collaborated with leading conductors such as Mstislav Rostropovich and Sir Roger Norrington and as a passionate chamber musician he has collaborated with such artists as Gidon Kremer and Misha Maisky.
The Pharos Arts Foundation presents a piano recital. October 27. The Shoe Factory, Nicosia. 8.30pm. €10/15. Tel: 22-663871