InConcert Sierra’s new season includes pianist Nikolaï Lugansky on March 14

INCONCERT SIERRA RINGS IN THE NEW YEAR with a stellar lineup of performers, including pianist Sean Chen on January 17, the Cavatina Duo on February 21 and pianist Nikolaï Lugansky on March 14. It comes on the heels of violinist Joshua Bell’s sold-out performance last fall.

From the grand Russian school of piano playing, Lugansky returns to Grass Valley for the second time in five years.

“Nikolaï enjoyed himself so much when he was here last time,” says InConcert Sierra Executive Director Julie Hardin. “He and Ken played—sight-reading, four-hands piano literature—when Nikolaï was practicing on the Grotrian piano at the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

“Nobody was there, and I sure wish I had been. Ken said Nikolaï was nearly impossible to keep up with, and Ken had played the four-hands literature before with (Music in the Mountains’ co-founder) Paul Perry so he knew it pretty well. Nikolaï was sight-reading it for the first time.”

Four-hands piano literature refers to music for four hands at one piano. Lugansky last played in Grass Valley in March 2011.

Lugansky’s concerto highlights for the 2015-16 season have included return engagements with the Philharmonia, Czech Philharmonic and Budapest Festival orchestras, Münchner Philharmoniker and the San Francisco, Boston and NHK (in Tokyo) symphony orchestras.

Lugansky studied at Moscow’s Central Music School and the Moscow Conservatoire. He was awarded the honor of “People’s Artist of Russia” in April 2013.

Among others, Lugansky has performed with Joshua Bell. “Lugansky’s career begins with one of those nearly unbelievable wunderkind stories,” according to NPR. “At age 5, while little Nikolai was visiting a neighbor’s dacha, he played a complete Beethoven piano sonata from memory and by ear, as he had not yet learned how to read music.” Other InConcert performances this season include:

Feb. 21, The Cavatina Duo: Eugenia Moliner, flute (from Spain), and Denis Azabagic, guitar (from Bosnia), has become one of the world’s most impressive combinations of its kind. Brazilian composer-guitarist Sérgio Assad called them “the best guitar and flute duo in the world.”

March 20, Chamber Favorites: InConcert Sierra’s artistic director-pianist Ken Hardin and concertmaster-violinist Richard Altenbach have created a program of exciting ensemble chamber works, featuring some of our fine local and regional players.

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