This past Friday evening at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, a program given of Rachmaninoff, Beethoven and Rossini’s music was marked by poise, musical clarity and an excitement outside the limits of general music making. The main excitement was brought by the technical prowess of the young pianist Denis Kozhukhin, making his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, who amazed with intellectual and delightfully refreshing musicality in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor. Led by Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the audience was treated to the exquisite musical partnership of one flourishing young artist and one well seasoned, but both incredibly intuitive and sensitive in their performances. Kozhukhin made quite the impression in his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony, with his impeccable musicianship, intellectual sensitivities and virtuosic pianism.
Kozhukhin treated the audience with an encore of Prelude by Bach-Siloti. Siloti was a pianist, composer and conductor. Rachmaninoff was his younger cousin and dedicated to him his first Piano Concerto and his 10 Preludes op. 23. It was played beautifully Friday night by Kozhukhin as he revealed the many colors and nuances within.
After intermission, Maestro Noseda led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Rossini’s “Guillaume Tell” Overture. The opening quintet, led by Principal Cellist Anne Martindale Williams, Principal English horn player Harold Smoliar and Principal flutist Lorna McGhee.
In Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, Maestro Noseda displayed a fascinating ability to shape gradual builds over long arcs of music. His endurance pays off because the climactic moments are all the more effective. A truly satisfying musical experience.
Post-concert there was a special onstage performance by guest concertmaster Soovin Kim, Christopher Wu, Tatjana Mead Chamis and Anne Martindale Williams in the finale of Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 2 in G major, Opus 18.