Monday, December 16 2019


Father-son duo to regale piano fans

Update: March, 20/2014 - 09:35
Like father, like son: Vladimir and Vovka Ashkenazy will perform tonight at the Ha Noi Opera House. — File Photo

HA NOI  (VNS) — Master pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy and his son Vovka Ashkenazy will play at a concert tonight at the Ha Noi Opera House.

The repertoire for the duo will include Schubert's Divertissement a la hongroise, Johannes Brahms's The Variations on a Theme, and Igor Stravinsky's The Rites of Spring.

Climax of the night will be Night on the Bare Mountain. Music lovers can enjoy pieces transcribed by Vovka, according to Katherine Chu, the concert artistic advisor.

Born in Gorky, Ashkenazy senior began playing the piano at the age of six. He inherited his musical gift from both sides of his family. His father was a pianist and his mother was the daughter of a chorus master in the Russian Orthodox church.

He is one of the few artists to have combined a successful career as a pianist and conductor. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory and won several prizes, including first prize, in the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels in 1956, and joint first prize with John Ogdon in the 1962 International Tchaikovsky Competition.

He has built an extraordinary career, not only as a renowned and revered pianist, but as an artist whose life continues to offer inspiration to music-lovers across the world.

In January, Ashkenazy embarked upon a European tour with the British Philharmonia Orchestra.

Ashkenazy keeps his passion for the piano, but these days mostly in the recording studio. His record Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues won a Grammy in 1999.

Last year, a box-set consisting of 50 CDs, Ashkenazy: 50 Years was released to celebrate his long-standing relationship with Decca Classics.

This year, Decca will also release a milestone collection of his vast catalogue of Rachmaninov's piano music, which will also include all of his symphonic recordings as a conductor.

A programme of music for two pianos by Debussy and Ravel, recorded with his son Vovka Ashkenazy, was released in 2009.

Like his father, Vovka began piano lessons at the age of six. He studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

He has participated in many international music festival and worked with nearly all the major British orchestras and others in the world.

Vovka has also spent time in recording and teaching. He has given master classes in many countries, the most recent being at the Beijing International Piano Festival last year.

Through performances, the pianist has contributed to charitable causes including Action for Children and Cystic Fibrosis Trust in Britain, and the Bridges Peace Foundation in Cambodia and the Philippines.

The 18th Hennessy Concert is held by Hennessy in collaboration with the Viet Nam Performing Arts Centre.

"The Hennessy Concert Series has been a rare chance for local music lovers to enjoy masterpieces as well as known artists," said composer Dang Huu Phuc.

"Vladimir Ashkenazy is my idol in the 1970s. I like very much his disc Chopin. It's amazing," Phuc said.

Phuc, a veteran composer, will present his music piece for piano duo to the artist. — VNS

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