Lebrecht Music & Arts attended the Pharos 13th International Chamber Music Concert in Cyprus. This festival took place despite sponsors suffering hugely from the economic crisis and EU cutting of bank funds in the island. Not everyone could manage to fulfill their pledges to support the festival because their funds simply disappeared overnight. The musicians responded by waiving their performance fees and so the Festival managed to play on to packed houses.
The festival has three different venues in the Greek controlled part of Cyprus. The Shoe Factory is a restored abandoned building in no man’s land in Nicosia. It comfortably seats an audience of 120 but demand was so high that the doors onto the terrace overlooking a pool were opened up so that 130 people could cram in and listen to Elisha Abas play on the piano. This pianist is himself quite an extraordinary phenomenon. He was a child prodigy in Israel and then at the age of 15 gave it all up to become a premier league football player. At the age of 30 through serendipity he felt drawn back to the world of music, contacted his old piano teacher Pnina Salzman and was performing again within a couple of years. His performance in the first week of the Festival was intensely focused and kept the audience sitting on the edge of their seats.
Elisha Abas playing in Israel premier football league.
The restored Shoe Factory concert hall.
A second venue is the Royal Manor House, a 13th century building set within a walled courtyard in Kouklia where Richard the Lionheart once stayed on his way to the Holy Land. The building is redolent of antiquity with the occasional bat flapping around during performances. The heat of the day is replaced by cool breezes wafting through the ancient stone building.
Serge Nakariakov (fulgelhorn, trumpet) and Maria Meerovitch (piano) perfomed unusual transcriptions of duets with their two instruments. The results of their combination is completely engaging and creates a deeply mellifluous sound.
The Third venue is The Olive Grove set further inland in Delikipos and it is here that the final night’s concert takes place. Outdoor concerts take place in this beauitful countryidie setting, a potential mini-Glyndebourne. The entire festival is the brainchild of Garo Keheyan of Cyprus and it is through his determined efforts that it has managed to survive these difficult times. We wish them much success for next year and all the years afterwards.
Janos Starker, one of the greatest cellists of all time, died in Bloomington, Indiana, USA where he had been a professor at the Indiana University Jacobs Memorial School of Music since 1958. He was a distinguished teacher and prolific recording artist, who played principal cello in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for five seasons during the 1950s.
The club audience roared with delight as Valentina Lisitsa and Milos appeared at a Yellow Lounge event at the Fabric club in the city of London last night 8 April 2013.
Instead of the usual formal concert with performers in concert dress and a generally precious atmosphere the audience at Yellow Lounge were standing and talking with drinks in hand in the darkened space of the Fabric club while the performers joked with them. Valentina Lisitsa delighted the audience by photographing them with her Blackberry and then immediately posting the photo on Twitter before sitting down and ripping through a Rachmaninov score with tremendous elan and insight.
Yellow Lounge was established seven years ago in the Berlin club scene. Its aim was to tear up the classical music rule book and and stitich it back together again fusing international musicians with cutting-edge DJ and VJ sets in urban spaces.
Will this be the new face of classical music performances? Who knows – but the good news is that audience was thirty years younger than theusual crowd you find at a classical music event.
RARE PUBLIC PERFORMANCE BY IVO POGORELICH at BERLIN PHILHARMONIE, 10th March 2013
Ivo Pogorelich performed a mixed programme of Chopin, Ravel and Debussy with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung. Here photographs from his Paris performance on 1st March 2013. Photographer :Marion Kalter.