The opening concert of the XIV Festival celebrates two main qualities of Yuri Bashmet’s protean character. A true votary of music, he has always been the leader of creative explorations. For half a century, he has been inspiring composers to new ideas and daring experiments. A brilliant musician, gifted teacher, person of special charm, he attracts the best – the maestro’s circle of friends has always consisted of the leasing contemporary musicians. The first part of the concert can be called “the parade of premieres,” and the second – “the constellation of virtuosos.”
“Gabriela Ortiz is one of the most talented composers in the world. Not only in Mexico, not only in our continent — in the world,” says conductor Gustavo Dudamel. “She has an ability to bring colors, to bring rhythm and harmonies that connect with you.” Mexican-born, Ortiz studied in Paris, London and took a contemporary music course in Darmstadt. In her works, she freely combines the academic style with elements of rock, as well as African and Caribbean folk music; she also experiments with electroacoustic sound. Her music is performed and recorded all over the world, yet it is for the first time that Ortiz engages with the Sochi festival. The concert will open with the world premiere of her piece Arrecife (Coral Reef) for strings.
Another premiere is by the young Chinese composer Wang Jie, who has been a guest and partner of the Sochi festival for several years. Winner of the Global Music Award and international competitions for composers in St. Petersburg, Budapest and Prague, author of the music for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games (2008), Wang Jie will present his Piece for Three Solo Violas and Strings.
Representing the avant-garde trend in the “generation of the fifty-year-olds,” the Belarusian composer Valery Voronov has been working with the maestro for a long time. His works have been performed many times at Yuri Bashmet’s festivals in Moscow, Sochi, and Minsk. His concert piece Enigma was written for the solo organetto (a small button accordion used in Italian folk music). The solo will be performed by the Swiss musician Catalina Vicens, a unique performer who has mastered ancient medieval and folk instruments
A Northern Irish flautist, composer, orchestrator, and pedagogue Gareth McLearnon has been working closely with Yuri Bashmet since 2013; he regularly takes part in the Samara Youth Academy activities; he performed with the “Moscow Soloists” in Yaroslavl and Khabarovsk. As a soloist, M McLearnon succeeds to the best traditions of the English flute school (his solo career began with a joint recording with Sir James Galway); as a composer, he broadens the performing range of his instrument, with a particular fondness for flute ensembles. The audience will hear his fantasy on the themes of the opera Carmen and a fantasy written for the Irish folk songs festival for the flute ensemble. The second soloist will be the Honored Artist of Russia, Principal Flute of the Russian National Orchestra Maksim Rubtsov; he will also perform a solo in Little Kuban Variations by Aleksandr Tchaikovsky.
It is hard to single out the brightest performance of the second part: such outstanding musicians have rarely performed in one night even at Sochi festivals. The performance of the prima donna Aida Garifullina holds the audience in suspense: the world-renowned opera diva sings in Sochi for the first time. After her victory at the international Operalia contest, Plácido Domingo called her “one of the most amazing opera divas of the present and the future.” In her triumphant performances on the world stages, Garifullina knows no defeat. She will perform the Rusalka’s lyrical aria from the opera by Dvořák, the dramatic arioso of Iolanta, and Musetta’s waltz from La Boheme by Puccini, which is the crown jewel of the soprano repertoire
The second part will begin with a concerto for two pianos by Max Bruch. The piano duet of Kseniya Bashmet and Andrei Gugnin will perform the first two movements of one of the last works by the German Romantic composer, friend and contemporary of Brahms, Liszt, and Reger.
At the end of the concert, the brilliant violinist Vadim Repin, the Victoires de la musique and the BBC Music Awards winner, will perform “one of the greatest violin concertos in world literature,” as Jascha Heifetz called Sergey Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto, which embodied the ideas of the “new simplicity” in music.