Kansas City Festival Celebrates Composer Johann Sebastian Bach | KCUR

Kansas City Festival Celebrates Composer Johann Sebastian Bach

Feb 9, 2012

Kansas City is in the middle of a celebration of composer Johann Sebastian Bach. The festival is exploring Bach's extraordinary contribution to the world of keyboard and orchestra literature.

Friday in the first portion of Up to Date, guest host Brian Ellison talks with pianist Konstantin Lifschitz about his four recitals that will display the majesty of Bach's varied work.  We'll learn how Bach's compositions,  masterfully designed, came from a man who also had an exploratory, improvisatory angle brought about by the composer's fertile imagination.

Pianist Konstantin Lifschitz performs Bach's Italian Concerto in F Major, BWV 971 and his Complete Inventions and Sinfonias (Two and Three Part Inventions) this evening at 8 at the Folly Theater. The program is sponsored by the Friends of Chamber Music.  Click here for more information.

Konstantin Lifschitz was born December 10, 1976, in Kharkov. As a child, he became irresistibly attracted to the piano, playing by ear and improvising with total absorption for hours on end. This aptitude for his chosen instrument was so remarkable that at age five he enrolled in the renowned Moscow Gnessin Special Middle School of Music, studying with Tatiana Zelikman. In future years of studies in Russia, England and Italy his teachers also included Theodor Gutmann, Vladimir Tropp, Hamish Milne, Alfred Brendel, Fou T'song, Leon Fleisher, Rosalyn Tureck, Karl-Ulrich Schnabel and Charles Rosen.

In the early 1990s the Russian Culture Foundation awarded him a scholarship. Soon afterwards he performed in Paris, Amsterdam, the Hague, Vienna, Munich, Milan and other prominent cities in Europe. The “New Names" programme brought Konstantin Lifschitz to the attention of renowned Vladimir Spivakov, who immediately arranged for Konstantin to perform Mozart Concerto K. 453 as his soloist with the Moscow Virtuosi in Moscow and on tour in Japan doing Bach Concerto in d minor in Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and Sapporo. Following this journey, he was invited by Spivakov to Monte Carlo and Antibes for the performances of Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo.

At 13, Konstantin presented a landmark recital in the October Hall of the House of Unions in Moscow. The capacity crowd responded with an overwhelming enthusiasm that even back then established him as a major artist. In 1994 Konstantin Lifschitz presented his graduation recital from the Gnessin School – his program commenced with Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Denon Nippon Columbia recorded the 17-year-old in this deeply felt interpretation of his beloved Bach. The recording, when released in 1996, was nominated for a Grammy Award and moved critic Edward Rothstein of The New York Times to acclaim Lifschitz’s performance “the most powerful pianistic interpretation since Glenn Gould's.” A year before he won the German Echo Classic Record Prize, as a “New Young Artist of the Year" for his Debut Recording Album (Bach French Overture, Schumann Papillons, works of Medtner and Scriabin).

Konstantin gives recitals and concerto performances in almost all the important Musical metropoles of the world – Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Leipzig, Dresden, London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Milan, Montreal, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Cape Town, Chisinau, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Limassol, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tel-Aviv, Tokyo, Perth, Auckland, Seoul, Paris, Vienna, Geneva, Zurich, Gent, Stavanger, Kuhmo, and more.