By Alix Norman
If there’s one arts organisation that’s weathered the calamities of 2013 and emerged with shining colours, it’s The Pharos Arts Foundation. Funded to a great extent by the philanthropy of patrons both here and abroad, it’s an organisation that strives to do its best for the artistic community, ensuring that – no matter our economic woes – cultural darkness doesn’t descend. And 2014 is set to be no different, with a plethora of brilliant events on the horizon, starting with the piano recital this coming Friday by charismatic Greek virtuoso Panagiotis Trochopoulos.
Taking place at The Shoe Factory in Old Nicosia, and given under the auspices of the Ambassador of Greece on the occasion of the Hellenic Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the recital promises an electrifying start to the cultural year. Barely 30, Trochopoulos is already a universally celebrated talent with a host of international performances to his name. Born in Greece in November 1982, the artist studied under legendary virtuoso Nikolai Petrov, graduating from the Moscow State Conservatory in 2006 and quickly achieving worldwide acclaim: “Panagiotis Trochopoulos has perfect hands, outstanding technique and everything he needs in order to make a big journey in Music,” in the words of legendary Russian pianist, Andrei Gavrilov.
Possessed of a repertoire which includes 15 solo programmes and 30 concertos for piano and orchestra, incorporating the complete concertos of Rachmaninov and the Busoni Piano Concerto, the artist has already collaborated with many of the world’s most distinguished conductors, such as Tomasz Bugaj, Murad Annamamedov, Ovidiu Balan, Grigor Palikarov and Oktav Calleya. With orchestral appearances which include performances of Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto with the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra of Pazardjik, Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with the Symphony Orchestra of Kissinau in Moldavia, Liszt’s First Piano Concerto with the Orchestra of the Municipality of Thessaloniki in Greece and Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto with the Russian Symphony Orchestra of Yaroslavl, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Croatia’s Simfonijski Orkestar Hvratska Vojske, this musical prodigy is also a frequent draw at major international festivals.
Having given a number of recitals at key international events such as the Athens Festival, the Sofia Festival, the “Musical Kremlin” Festival of Moscow, the Malta International Festival and the Nafplion Festival, Trochopoulos astounds audience and critics alike wherever he plays: “Panagiotis Trochopoulos wowed audiences with his virtuosic performances,” enthuses festival founder Em Marshall-Luck of the all-Holbrooke recital at the 2009 English Music Festival. Similarly, the artist’s four CDs have also met with great admiration, his first, performed in collaboration with the Belarus State Academic Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marius Stravinsky, declared Record of the Month by MusicWeb International, while his Holbrooke solo works CD (vol.1) received rave reviews from Gramophone magazine.
Currently in the process of recording his fifth CD with piano transcriptions of Manos Hadjidakis’ music, Trochopoulos has taken time from his busy schedule to delight local audiences with a programme that includes the Cyprus premiere of both Holbrooke’s Fantasie-Sonata No.1, ‘The Haunted Palace’, and Alkan’s momentous ‘Concerto for Solo Piano’. Composed in 1857 and clocking in at an impressive 50 minutes, this ‘Concerto’ is an epic work which demands unprecedented levels of technical ability and physical stamina. Fortunately, in Trochopoulos, listeners will have found a musician more than equal to the task.
“Trochopoulos is an exceptional pianist and he is a living proof of the great pool of talent that exists nowadays in Greece, despite the economic crisis,” says Yvonne Georgiou, Artistic Director of the Pharos Arts Foundation and herself a highly accomplished musician. “I am not personally aware of many pianists, especially at Panagiotis’ age, who have attempted such a monstrous work as Alkan’s Concerto with such virtuosity and commitment.”
Having been at the Athens premier of this great work a few months previously, Yvonne professes to be very excited by the upcoming concert: “I was utterly overwhelmed by Panagiotis’ performance; I sense that this will be a historical concert. At Pharos, we always feel privileged when we present a legendary musician, but we are twice as privileged and happy when we discover a rare young talent like Trochopoulos.” So don’t miss the start of what is guaranteed to be an amazing season, as The Pharos Arts Foundation guides us into a bright future.
Piano Recital with Panagiotis Trochopoulos
At The Shoe Factory on January 31 at 8.30pm. Programme: Fantasie-Sonata No.1, The Haunted Palace, Op.124 by Joseph Charles Holbrooke, Concerto for Solo Piano (12 Studies in the Minor Keys) by Charles-Valentin Alkan. www.pharosartsfoundation.org, [email protected] / Tel: 22 663871. Tickets: €15 Adults / €10 Members of the Foundation, Concessions, Students. Box Office: Tel. 7000-9304 (daily 9.30-11.30am) / www.pharostickets.org