British-born pianist Freddy Kempf is a regular and much-loved visitor to the Usher Hall – a remarkable musician who plays from the heart, with delicacy, insight and shattering energy.
Kempf has a long history of musical collaborations in Russia. He became virtually a household name when he was inexplicably denied first place at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition in 1998, causing outrage – and profound respect for his astonishing pianism – right across the country.
He joins the Siberian Symphony Orchestra under fine Russian conductor Dmitri Vasiliev for one of the iconic showpieces in the piano repertoire. Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto is music on a grand scale, requiring old-school thunderous virtuosity, a work that pushes pianists to the very limits of their abilities. Yearning, melancholy and ending in a blaze of ecstatic glory, it’s also music that reaches deep into the Russian soul.
Vasiliev and his Siberian forces close their concert with more Russian soul music: Tchaikovsky’s furious battles against the forces of fate in his defiant, extrovert Fourth Symphony. To open, Shostakovich’s effervescent Festive Overture can’t fail to charm and entertain any listener.