Pianist joins Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra to perform Sergei Rachmaninoff
Pianist Maxim Philippov says he tries to stay away from comparing composers too much, but admits he has a strong attraction to Sergei Rachmaninoff.
"If you ask someone why they love their mother, most people cannot say why," the Russian says, "That is the same with Rachmaninoff. Reason has nothing to do with it. I love the style, the dynamics. I feel the music in all my heart."
He will bring that emotion to Greensburg on Saturday when he will perform Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra. Philippov, 30, says Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) is one of his favorite composers, but will not talk about others who rival him.
"I try to stay away from that," he says. "You say that and then someone says, 'Well, what about Bach?' I do tend to like romantic composers, though."
The lushly dramatic Rachmaninoff concerto would seem to fit the bill.
It was composed for a United States tour in 1909-10 and has become a frequently performed work in the orchestral repertoire.
Philippov says he is not too concerned with performing the work in a hall where a fellow Russian master, Vladimir Feltsman, played it with flair in 1996.
"I don't want to be compared to someone else," he says "I just play what I feel."
The pianist has appeared with the Calgary and Moscow philharmonics as well as the City of Birmingham Symphony in England and orchestras in Delaware, Oregon, Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.
Philippov began playing at 5 and made his public debut at 8. He received medals in the Leeds, Rachmaninoff, Rubenstein, Tchaikovsky and Van Cliburn competitions and won the 1996 Esther Honens Calgary International Piano Competition in Canada.
He lives in Moscow, where he is on the faculty of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
Phillippov is in a four-concert swing, doing recitals in Texas, California and North Carolina as well as the orchestral concert here. He says he spends about half the year in road performances, but that doesn't affect his work at the conservatory.
"I love teaching very much," he says. "When I get back to Moscow, I just give all my heart to my students."
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