Orchestra concert to feature internationally renowned pianist

By Sara Bruestle | Nov 13, 2013
Courtesy of: Terry Preshaw Alexander Ardakov will perform a piano solo in the Mukilteo Community Orchestra concert on Sunday, Nov. 17.

Internationally renowned pianist Alexander Ardakov will be the featured soloist in the Mukilteo Community Orchestra’s opening concert for the 2013-14 season this weekend.

“The Power of Passion” is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at Rosehill Community Center. Admission is free.

Ardakov will perform Rachmaninoff “Piano Concerto No. 2” with the orchestra.

The MCO has paired Rachmaninoff with “Carmen Suite No. 2” by George Bizet, a collection of works from the opera “Carmen,” popular with audiences all over the world.

“We're very excited for the opportunity to perform with Alexander Ardakov,” said Trevor Lutzenhiser, artistic director and conductor of the Mukilteo Community Orchestra.

“Alexander is a world-class pianist. A performer of his caliber doesn't come to our local community all that often, so to have the chance to work with him is really a fantastic opportunity.”

Ardakov, of England, has flown to the United States specifically to perform with the Mukilteo Community Orchestra and play the Rachmaninoff “Piano Concerto No. 2” – a masterpiece that has earned recognition as one of the most famous piano concertos ever written.

“The second concerto is loved by the whole world,” Ardakov said. “It has a very good following. It is very romantic, very beautiful and very melodious.

“It makes people happy and forget about everything. It transports people listening to a different world.”

A professional pianist, Ardakov is a graduate of the world-famous Moscow Conservatoire and a professor of piano at Trinity College of Music in London. He has taught there for 22 years.

“If I don’t play piano, I feel old, I feel unfit,” he said. “It’s like a narcotic. It makes me feel happy, fit and young.”

Ardakov, originally from Russia, started piano lessons when he was 7 years old. It was 1962. His parents had managed to buy a piano for him when the country, then the USSR, was still rebuilding from World War II.

“The country was about to get up on its feet,” he said. “There was a shortage of everything. It was a difficult time to acquire a piano, but my parents managed.”

He later enrolled in the Kuibyshev Music School in Russia for gifted children. At 13, Ardakov was accepted into the highly competitive Moscow Conservatoire to continue his piano studies.

Ardakov has won numerous performance awards, including first prize at the Kabalevsky Piano Competition and a prize at the Viotti International Competition in Vercelli, Italy.

After he graduated, Ardakov worked as a soloist and chamber musician for 10 years with the Moscow State Philharmonia, performing at venues throughout USSR and abroad.

In 1991, he left Russia to teach a master class at the Trinity College of Music. He was offered a professorship when the class ended, and has been teaching at the college ever since.

“I decided to change my life completely,” he said. “It was different and exciting, so I signed this contract to stay in London.

“I’m enjoying this job. I can pass on my skills [to students] and learn a great deal from them as well, in all this exchange of ideas. I’m combining teaching with performing.”

Though he teaches solo piano and master classes in London, he still finds time to perform at venues at home and abroad. The last time he performed here, in fact, was with the Everett Symphony Orchestra in 2008.

It was then that he met and befriended Terry Preshaw, the founder of the MCO. Preshaw invited him to play sometime with the Mukilteo Community Orchestra – and that time is this Sunday with “The Power of Passion.”

“It certainly is a real honor for me to be able to conduct this work, perform with such outstanding and absolutely wonderful community musicians, and to work with such a brilliant and accomplished soloist,” Lutzenhiser said. “I invite all music-lovers in the community to join us for this performance.”

A pre-concert performance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and will feature “Chicks with Sticks,” a marimba ensemble of Jackson and Meadowdale high school students under the direction of Ian Alverez.

Rosehill Community Center is at 304 Lincoln Ave., Mukilteo.

Additional information can be found at www.mukilteoorchestra.org.

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