Alexander Kobrin Beethoven Piano Sonatas

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Program, Concert 1

 

Alexander Kobrin, piano

 

Sonata in E major, op. 14 no. 1

Sonata in D minor, op. 31, no. 2

 

intermission

 

Sonata in E minor, op. 90

Sonata in A major, op. 101

Beethoven Piano Sonatas

For Beethoven, the sonata form is not a scheme that can be used in caprice one day and abandoned the next. This form dominates everything he imagines and composes; it is the very mark of his creation and the form of his thought – an inherent form, a natural one. (Edwin Fischer, Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas).

Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas constitute a great treasure that embodies a part of the human eternity. Numerous pianists and musicologists have researched or studied them, trying to impart to their students or readers the prodigality of these true musical riches.

Beethoven holds a key role in the transformation and evolution of the sonata form. Even if he maintains the characteristics initially set by his predecessors, Haydn and Mozart, Beethoven imposes on the sonata his strong personality creating a new, impressive, form of art, in which his own life, with its joys and sorrows, is projected.

With Beethoven the musical theme acquires remarkable proportions, of such strength, that it imposes itself over the listener’s attention and memory. As the French composer, Vincent d’ Indy once said, with Beethoven, the musical theme turns into an concept that spreads throughout the hole work making it easily recognizable even if harmonic, modal or tonal aspects change.

The fundamental principle of organization of the Beethoven piano sonata is the tonality. We can say that Beethoven perceived tonality as the key to any composition, since it leads to the true understanding of the musical form.

In what the structural architectonic of the Beethoven piano sonatas is regarded, there are no apparent patterns: out of the thirty-two sonatas written by Beethoven, twelve have four parts, thirteen have three parts and seven have two parts. Another interesting aspect is that of the diversity of the movement types and the order of succession. The sonatas Op. 26, 27, 54, 109 or 110 reveal this total liberty of dealing with the character of the constitutive pats and their order in the sonata form. But, no matter the movements or their order of succession, there can be established a general characteristic of the Beethoven piano sonata (and work in general) can be easily established: his great care to create a easily perceptible connection between the constitutive parts of the sonata.

 

About Alexander Kobrin

Called the “Van Cliburn of today” by the BBC, pianist Alexander Kobrin has placed himself at the forefront of today’s performing musicians. His prize winning performances have been praised for their brilliant technique, musicality, and emotional engagement with the audience. The New York Times has written that Mr. Kobrin was a “fastidious guide” to Schumann’s “otherworldly visions, pointing out hunters, flowers, haunted corners and friendly bowers, all captured in richly characterized vignettes.” “This was a performance that will be revered and remembered as a landmark of the regeneration of exceptional classical music in Central New York.”-critic wrote after Mr. Kobrin’s performance of Second Piano Concerto by Johannes Brahms with Syracuse Symphony in Syracuse,NY.

In 2005, Mr. Kobrin was awarded the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal at the Twelfth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, TX. His numerous successes in competitions also include top prizes at the Busoni International Piano Competition (First Prize), Hamamatsu International Piano Competition (Top Prize), Scottish International Piano Competition in Glasgow (First Prize)

Mr. Kobrin has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Verdi, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Moscow Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Berliner Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Swedish Radio Symphony, Birmingham Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with such conductors as Mikhail Pletnev, Mikhail Jurovsky, Mark Elder, Vassiliy Sinaisky, James Conlon, Claus Peter Flor, Alexander Lazarev, Vassiliy Petrenko and Yuri Bashmet.

He has appeared in recital at major halls worldwide, including the Avery Fisher Hall in New York, the Kennedy Centre in Washington, Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Louvre Auditorium,Salle Gaveau and Salle Cortot in Paris, Munich Herkulesaal and Berliner Filarmonia Hall in Germany, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, Sheung Wan Civic Centre in Hong Kong, as well as Sala Verdi in Milan and many others. Other past performances have included recitals at Bass Hall for the Cliburn Series, the Washington Performing Arts Society, La Roque d’Antheron, the Ravinia Festival, the Beethoven Easter Festival, Busoni Festival , the renowned Klavier-Festival Ruhr, the Festival Musique dans le Grésivaudan ,the International Keyboard Institute & Festival, annual concert tours in Japan, China and Taiwan.

Though widely acclaimed as a performer, Mr. Kobrin’s teaching has been an inspiration to many students through his passion for music. From 2003 to 2010 he served on the faculty of the Russian State Gnessin’s Academy of Music. In 2010 Alexander Kobrin was named the L. Rexford Distinguished Chair in Piano at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, and since 2013 concurrently has been a member of the celebrated Artist Faculty of New York University’s Steinhardt School. In July 2017, Mr.Kobrin will join the faculty of the renowned Eastman School of Music in Rochster,NY. Mr. Kobrin has also given masterclasses in Europe and Asia, the International Piano Series and at the Conservatories of Japan and China.
Mr. Kobrin has been a jury member for many international piano competitions, including the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano,”Prix Animato” in Paris, the Blüthner International Piano Competition in Vienna, E-Competition in Fairbanks, AK and the Neuhaus International Piano Festival in Moscow.

Mr. Kobrin has released recordings on the Harmonia Mundi, Quartz, and Centaur labels, covering a wide swath of the piano literature. His Schumann album,released on Centaur Records has been included into top-5 albums of the year in 2015 by Fanfare Magazine. Gramophone Magazine raved about his Cliburn Competition release on Harmonia Mundi, writing that “in [Rachmaninoff’s] Second Sonata (played in the 1931 revision), despite fire-storms of virtuosity, there is always room for everything to tell and Kobrin achieves a hypnotic sense of the music’s dark necromancy.”

Mr. Kobrin was born in 1980 in Moscow. At the age of five, he was enrolled in the world-famous Gnessin Special School of Music after which he attended the prestigious Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. His teachers have included renowned professors Tatiana Zelikman and Lev Naumov.

 

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