Winter Soiree ~ Sunday, January 23, 2011
When: 7:30 PM
What: “The Poetry & Fantasy of Liszt - Celebrating his 200th Birthday”
Featuring: Juliana Osinchuk, piano
Last winter, Juliana presented a similarly programmed recital of piano music by Frederic Chopin, honoring his 200th birthday. It was the most outstanding solo piano recital I've ever attended in Alaska.
My other favorite Alaska pianist, Timothy Smith, is well-known as one of the country's preeminent Liszt performers. And deservedly so. Juliana Osinchuk is better known for her interpretations of Chopin, Mozart, Eastern European composers, and for the numerous performances and premieres she has debuted around the country of Alaska composers such as John Luther Adams, Craig Coray, George Belden and myself.
Osinchuk does play Liszt too, though. In 2004 she performed Liszt's 1st Piano Concerto with the Anchorage Symphony, in a concert at which she played not only the Liszt, but my own Piano Concerto - back to back.
I loved that concert, but my favorite rendition by Osinchuk of Liszt was back in 1996, when she performed the master's Funerailles in Seattle. The concert was at Seattle's alternative arts venue, the Fremont Fine Arts Foundry. We packed about 120 people into the foundry in folding chairs. The piano, a full-size Steinway concert grand, was brought in from Sherman & Clay, Seattle's main Steinway store. Along with the Liszt work, she introduced music by Adams, Coray and me to a Seattle audience that was stunned by the quality of her playing and the unique sound from the foundry.
During her rendition of Funerailles, somebody out in the back alley started pounding on the huge metal shipping door at the back of the building. My best friend at the time, the late sculptor James Acord, went back to the small door next to the freight entry. He quietly opened the door to the alley, leaned out, and sternly told the door pounding young man, "If you do that one more time, I'll kill you!"
The pounding stopped and the music soared.
Here's Juliana performing her own Variations on Alaska's Flag, as an encore at her most recent Anchorage Symphony appearance: