Mondavi Center

Russian National Orchestra returns with highly regarded young pianist

By From page A9 | February 13, 2013

Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero will direct a concert Sunday, Feb. 17, at Mondavi. Chad Driver/Courtesy photo

Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero will direct a concert Sunday, Feb. 17, at Mondavi. Chad Driver/Courtesy photo

That’s the ticket

Who: Russian National Orchestra with pianist Daniil Trifonov

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17

Where: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: $50-$118 general, $25-$59 students; www.mondaviarts.org, 530-754-2787

The Russian National Orchestra returns to the Mondavi Center at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17. And this time through, the orchestra is coming with Costa Rican conductor Giancarlo Guerrero and a rising young Russian pianist, Daniil Trifonov, winner of the first prize in the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition’s piano division, among other honors.

Naturally proud of its Russian heritage, this is an orchestra that likes to tour with music composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky — it performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (with soloist Stefan Jackiw, under conductor Mikhail Pletnev) when it came to the Mondavi Center in 2010.

On Feb. 17, the orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, one of the grandest and most popular piano concertos of the Romantic era, written in 1874 and widely performed in the months following its premiere in 1875. Readers who are curious about pianist Trifonov’s interpretation can view a YouTube video of his performance of the entire piece with the Mariinsky Orchestra under conductor Valery Gergiev; it is also available in CD form on the Mariinsky label.

Trifonov, born in 1991, not only won the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 2011, he also won medals in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw and the Rubinstein Competition in Israel during the 2010-11 season. During 2011-12, Trifonov appeared as soloist with the Vienna Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, among others.

His schedule for the current season includes dates with most of the top American orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, under Alan Gilbert; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under Charles Dutoit; the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under Guerrero; and the Cleveland Orchestra, under James Gaffigan.

Trifonov’s rapid rise continued this month. On Feb. 4, he signed a recording contract with the 115-year-old Deutsche Grammophon label, and appropriately enough, he inked the deal in New York City’s famous Russian Tea Room, long a favored hangout for musicians. Trifonov’s first album for the “yellow label” is due for release later this year. On Feb. 5, he gave his debut recital in Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium.

Also on the RNO’s Feb. 17 program will be two 19th century works with Czech roots: the overture to “The Bartered Bride” by Beidrich Smetana (1863), and the Symphony No. 6 by Antonín Dvořák (1880). While less often performed nowadays than the Dvořák Eight and Ninth symphonies, the Sixth is nonetheless a remarkable piece that includes sections that reflect Bohemian dance tunes and a stirring movement titled Furiant, as well as a flashy finale that is regarded as one of the composer’s best.

Conductor Guerrero is the music director of the Nashville Symphony, and his recording of Michael Daugherty’s “Metropolis” Symphony with that orchestra have picked up Grammy Awards during each of the past two years. Guerrero maintains a busy guest conducting schedule — his engagements this season include the BBC Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as orchestras in Poland, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. He also travels to Venezuela each year to conduct the young musicians in the famous Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar. Guerrero is leading the RNO on its current American tour.

Tickets are $50-$118 general, $25-$59 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

Jeff Hudson

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