New Compositions; World Premier at Carnegie Hall. 75 Year Old Russian Pianist channels Traditional Sacred Choral Music.

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After winning a battle against cancer, Russian-American concert pianist Vladimir Pleshakov began to channel ancient traditional Slavonic sacred music. At the preview concert, his new music brought members the audience to tears, as if touched by a divine inspiration.

Vladimir Pleshakov

Vladimir Pleshakov

"When we hear the Pleshakovs play we are witnessing, in all truth, a minor miracle, some sort of sorcery. They are the heirs to the great Russian music tradition." St. Petersburg Press

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After winning a battle against cancer, Russian-American concert pianist Vladimir Pleshakov began to channel ancient traditional Slavonic sacred music. At the preview concert, his new music brought members the audience to tears, as if touched by a divine inspiration.

DIVINE INSPIRATION
Famed Russian-American Pianist Channels Slavonic Sacred Choral Music

World Premier Carnegie Hall

http://www.carnegiehall.org/Event.aspx?id=4294978273

After winning a battle against cancer, Russian-American concert pianist Vladimir Pleshakov began to channel ancient traditional Slavonic sacred music. At the preview concert, his music brought members the audience to tears, as if touched by a divine inspiration.

“After suffering from a life threatening battle with cancer, world renowned pianist Vladimir Pleshakov began to experience something that can only be described as a mystical journey into his past. He went from not being able to compose, to hearing a “radio” in his head which produced perfectly completed sacred choral music that is deeply rooted in the Russian tradition. Pleshakov is founder of the Piano Museum in Hudson, New York.

On January 22nd, 2012 at 2:00 P.M. the world will be uplifted by a celebration of the soaring sounds of voices singing to the heavens at the world debut of a musical tribute to the Russian heritage. The concert will feature the 26 voice strong Aoede Consort in an hour’s worth of newly-born settings at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. Pleshakov, along with his wife Elena Winther-Pleshakov, will also perform piano works by Rachmaninoff and Beethoven.

Speaking of Pleshakov, William Carragan, Kilenly Medalist says. “These are ambitious, complex settings in which intricate counterpoint alternates with serene homophony. The impressive skill and inspiration of the composer are humbly offered as an expression of the kind of wordplay in the music where almost note by note, in natural speech rhythm, the words pour forth with unmistakable significance by virtue of the music which reflects the most detailed nuances of the texts from the Old and New Testament.

These new compositions are not derived from the work of any other composer. Many in attendance at the preview concert, in Albany, New York, were moved to tears as if touched by the hand of some divine force. “The fact that the voice of such a composer is among us today, a man who is a living link to the great tradition of Russian composers, is a miracle in itself,” says Carragan.

“Vladimir’s music is a great gift to the world which we in the Aoede Consort have the distinct privilege to perform for the first time,” explains Dan Foster, founder and conductor of the Aoede Consort. “The music has deeply touched everyone who has heard it with its richness of spirituality, its passionate, evocative settings of the Slavonic texts; and its unique tone world. These new works are undeniably Russian—neo-Romantic even—a continuation of the Great Russian choral tradition which languished after the Russian Revolution,” says Foster.

Born in Shanghai, China, the child of Russian emigrants, Pleshakov was enthralled by the divine sound of Russian choirs performing this ancient form of liturgical music at the Russian Cathedral in Shanghai. The tradition of Slavonic choral works dates back to the 8th century with professional choirs singing texts from the Old Testament and New Testament. When the 1917 revolution raged through Russia, thousands of churches were destroyed and priests put to death. The beautiful a-cappella music and the voices of the choirs seemed to be silenced forever.”

DIVINE INSPIRATION:
“I can’t explain what happened, but one day I started writing, on paper napkins at dinner, on scraps of paper at the movies. Something or someone was guiding my hand. Each piece emerged unwilling to be changed, not one note. I had tried to compose before but it was awful,” explains the 77 year old concert pianist. I think it was my survival of two deadly forms of cancer that may have touched me in some way. It was this gift that put into motion profound changes in my life and music,” says Pleshakov.

His childhood experiences proved to be the catalyst for a Proustian reconstruction of the past. This “reconstruction” allowed the music to be channeled into the strictest form. Vladimir’s memory opened up to sacred texts that he read and heard as a child. The composer has remembered with uncanny accuracy, over 70 years of silence, the words appeared in an archaic Slavonic tongue, which generated in Vladimir’s mind a subconscious stream of creativity resulting in an hour of music that is absolutely precise. “There probably is no documented example in the entire history of serious music of anybody beginning to compose at age 75,” says Pleshakov.

This new composition s firmly based in the Russian tradition, and was influenced by the music of Berezovsky and Bortnyansky through to the music of the magnificent Liturgy and All-Night Vigil of Rachmaninoff. The choral work is fresh and ancient at the same time. Pleshakov says that he does not know where the music comes from: “it just seems to appear.” Indeed it comes from the whole man, from a lifetime of experience of the church and the stage, of everything which makes the composer the highly sensitive, cultivated and intelligent person that he is. Because of the complex rhythm, this music would probably be best in a building with acoustics at the same time less rich and more detailed than those of a large building, for which the classic church literature was written. Acoustics play such an important role in the sound of the music which needs to be performed in buildings closer to those of a smaller Orthodox parish church and now ideally showcased in the glorious Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. Pleshakov’s music is a celebration of the emotion and meaning of the words of the Bible.

TICKETS AND TRANSPORTATION
Tickets for the concert are available through:
The Carnegie Hall box office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, CarnegieCharge: 212-247-7800 or http://www.carnegiehall.org/Event.aspx?id=4294978273

Bus reservations, schedule and pick up points may be found at
the Aoede Consort website: http://www.AoedeConsort.org

NOTE TO EDITORS:
Interviews with Dan Foster and Vladimir Pleshakov are available upon request for all media.

Media is invited to a rehearsal of the performance, Saturday January 14th at 2:00-5:00 P.M and 7-10 P.M. at Trinity Church Wall Street, Main Sanctuary, 74 Trinity Place, New York. For more information on rehearsals please call Dan Foster at 518 248 6670. Radio and T.V and Internet I-reporters welcome.

CONTACT: Anne Macpherson, dameannemac(at)gmail(dot)com or call 518 851 9670

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Anne Macpherson
Pleshakov Music Center
(518) 851-9670
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