25.08.2017 | NIKITA MNDOYANTS’ new CD. Stunning review from Gramophone magazine

Nikita newsBEETHOVEN Bagatelles Op 126
SCHUMANN Davidsbündlertänze
Author: Patrick Rucker

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Winner of the 2016 Cleveland and 2007 Paderewski Competitions, as well as a finalist in the 2013 Cliburn, the Russian pianist Nikita Mndoyants would seem to be well on his way to an international career. He is also an accomplished composer who, at the age of 27, teaches orchestration at the Moscow Conservatory. His new release on the Steinway label shows him to be an excellent pianist as well as a wise and thoughtful musician.

Beethoven’s Op 126 Bagatelles seem not so much interpreted as realised. Each small-scale structure is delivered intact, their straightforward expressive gestures immaculately tailored. Individually and as a set, it is as though we are overhearing an improvisation.

Despite the communicative urgency maintained throughout the Davidsbündlertänze, they unfold with an air of unrushed inevitability. Schumann’s wit and mercurial playfulness, whether manifest in rhythmic emphases, melodic contours or voice-leading, are relished without ostentation. Pensiveness and longing are sensitively portrayed with a chaste rubato, coupled with abstemious pedalling. For all its earnestness, Mndoyants’s reading is refreshingly unaffected, bracingly masculine, spontaneous and willing on occasion to speak ardently of love.

Sarcasms fairly bursts with rhythmic vitality, punctuated with oases of wanton languor or stubborn insistence. Prokofiev’s bristling, in-your-face impudence is aptly captured, but in a surprising way: Mndoyants draws from his stylistic arsenal resources of touch and dynamic variety held in reserve in his Beethoven and Schumann. As he nonchalantly peels Prokofiev’s hard-boiled egg, we’re treated to flavours and textures within that are often overlooked.

One risk of programmes consisting entirely of miniatures is that they can leave listeners feeling stinted, desiring the more extended involvement of a variation set or sonata. Happily, Mndoyants is able to achieve a genuine balance of form and content, his interpretations informed, one feels, by his composer’s ear. His carefully wrought miniatures combine the clarity and immediacy of a snapshot with an aphoristic succinctness. The result is an appealing musical experience that both nourishes and satisfies.


31.03.2016 | BARRY DOUGLAS at the International Platonov Arts Festival

Barry Douglas NEWSPremiere in Voronezh! Barry Douglas (Piano), Ireland
10 JUNE / 18:00
Voronezh Philharmonic Hall

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I branch: Alban Berg – Sonata Op. 1,
Franz Schubert – A Major Sonata, D959
II branch:
Benjamin Britten – “Night-Piece”,
Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, “the Waldstein”

The concert programme features the works of the iconic western classical composers – Franz Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven, a representative of the Viennese school, as well as Platonov’s contemporaries – an Austrian composer, a representative of musical expressionism and the Second Viennese school Alban Berg and a British composer Benjamin Britten.

Barry Douglas is a renowned Irish pianist, who attained international acclaim after winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. He is the artistic director of the Camerata Ireland orchestra and the Clandeboye Festival in Northern Ireland.

He has performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestre National de France (French National Orchestra), the Israel Symphony Orchestra, the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Halle, Ulster Orchestra, the Brussels Philharmonic orchestra, London Symphony orchestra, the Russian National orchestra, the Singapore Symphony orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Melbourne Symphony orchestras alongside the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras, among others.

The pianist has collaborated with such prominent conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Colin Davis, Marek Janowski, Lawrence Foster, Mariss Jansons, Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, André Previn, Mstistlav Rostropovich, Kurt Sanderling, Leonard Slatkin, Yvegeny Svetlanov, Michael Tilson-Thomas and Yuri Temirkanov, as well as Neemi Jarvi, Krjstian Jarvi and Paavo Jarvi.

As an exclusive Chandos artist, he recorded a complete Brahms series in four volumes. September 2014 saw a release of Douglas’s album Celtic Reflections, presenting the pianist’s own arrangements of Irish folk music.

In 1999 Barry Douglas founded the chamber orchestra Camerata Ireland to celebrate and nurture the very best of young musicians from both Northern and the Republic of Ireland. In addition to striving for musical excellence, one of the orchestra’s aims is to further the peace process in Ireland by promoting dialogue and collaboration through its musical education programmes.

Barry Douglas was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2002 New Year’s Honours List for services to music. He also received a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music and an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Queens University Belfast; he is an honorary Doctor of Music at the National University of Ireland at Maynooth and a Visitng Professor at the Dublin Conservatory of Music. In May 2009 he received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the Uinversity of Wyoming (the USA).