Concert Pianist Vladimir Svoysky at Pinewood Estate April 7
Russian-born concert pianist Vladimir Svoysky performs a romantic, inspiring program in the intimate setting of Bok Tower Gardens’ Pinewood Estate on Sunday, April 7 at 5 p.m. as part of the ‘Live at the Gardens’ concert series. Featured music includes 12 Etudes by Chopin, a Fantasy, an Impromptu, and an Etude by Scriabin.
In the years since he first touched American soil in 1979, Svoysky has toured the country as a pianist, harpsichordist and conductor, created and played in several different chamber ensembles, earned master’s degrees in piano and conducting from the Peabody Conservatory, and garnered an impressive array of awards and accolades along the way.
Svoysky made his debut in London at St. Martin-in-the Fields in 1995. His New York debut at Carnegie Hall came in September 1996. The program included works by Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Beethoven, as well as the New York debut of Sonata No. 1 by contemporary Russian composer David Finko.
“I have played it in many cities of the world,” Finko says. “My wife said, ‘Don’t be offended but Svoysky plays it better than you.’ And I agree.”
Whether Vladimir Svoysky is seated at the piano, at the harpsichord, or standing before an orchestra with baton in hand, his approach to music is pure passion born from the formative years he spent in his native Russia.
Born in Leningrad, Svoysky studied piano under the Russian great Berta Maranz. He toured Russia with the Gorky Philharmonic, and performed piano recitals throughout the country and on Russian television. After earning degrees in piano, organ and conducting from the Leningrad and Gorky conservatories, he accepted his government’s instructions to go to Siberia to build a symphony orchestra, literally from scratch.
Svoysky traveled across the USSR to find the country’s top musicians and brought them together under the banner of the Krasnoyarsk Symphony Orchestra, where he served as musical director for three years. Despite his success, the young Russian could not help chafing under the restrictive hold the government held over his musical life.
“I felt my life as a musician was limited,” he recalls. “I could not travel outside the country.” So in 1979 Vladimir Svoysky emigrated to the United States. American audiences have been the beneficiaries of his musical gifts ever since.
“Vladimir Svoysky is no dry formalist,” says Peabody Opera Director Roger Brunyate. “He is romantic. He is passionate. He plays from a great heart.”
As a pianist, Vladimir Svoysky is as comfortable playing before a small audience in an intimate setting like Pinewood Estate as he is before a large crowd at Carnegie Hall. He is a gregarious man who loves sharing his insights about music and composers, an inclination well suited to intimate, salon-style performances.
Svoysky’s repertoire is a rich one. He has dazzled audiences with his coherent, colorful handling of Chopin’s challenging “Etudes,” and has masterfully evoked the dark mood and Russian flavor of Rachmaninoff. His inspired performance of Beethoven’s Concerto #1, wrote one Russian reviewer, “was so spontaneous that it seemed as if the young Beethoven was speaking to the audience.”
The final performance of the Spring ‘Live at the Gardens’ Concert Series takes place Saturday, April 13 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Visitor Center. Classical guitarist Robert Phillips performs an evening of music from Spain and Latin America. This award-winning performer plays music by some of Spain’s best loved and most performed composers, including Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, and Francisco Tárrega, as well as sultry rhythms from Latin American composers including Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Tickets for Vladimir Svoysky’s April 7 concert at Pinewood Estate and Robert Phillips’ April 13 concert at the Visitor Center are $25 each per person for general admission seating. For more information, call 863-734-1222.