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3, 2, 1 ... Piano!

KELLY FERJUTZ sees Red in Cleveland


The last few days of January 2005 were a veritable feast for anyone who enjoys piano concertos. In eight days, I attended four concerts, heard seven different concertos, and five pianists, along with two orchestras. And this was Cleveland, not New York!

The Cleveland Orchestra led by Franz Welser-Möst, and pianist Radu Lupu completed a series of concerts at Severance Hall that presented all five of Beethoven's Piano Concertos, and the American première of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Night's Black Bird. They then all moved to the east where they repeated these performances at four concerts in the Big Apple.

Our other orchestra, a chamber-sized ensemble, now in it's third season, Red {an orchestra} continued its improvisatory ways on Sunday afternoon, 30 January 2005, at Cleveland's Masonic Temple. The theme of the concert was immediately apparent as one entered the concert hall. The walls around the outer edge of the stage area were bathed in red lights, adding warmth to the chill of the afternoon. But there, in front of the orchestra seating were three -- count 'em -- three! shiny black Yamaha concert grand pianos. This is a sight not often seen on concert stages around here, and it sent an extra tingle of anticipation up one's spine.

3,2,1... PIANO - 1.30.05

Jonathan Sheffer, Artistic Director and Conductor programmed three works for piano -- from pretty (Mozart) to witty (Saint-Saëns) to dramatic (Prokofiev). Four pianists were required to do justice to this marvelous concept: Sergei Babayan, Christina and Michelle Naughton, and Mr Sheffer, himself.

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Copyright © 8 February 2005 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA


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