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EVGENY KISSIN     

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MAESTRO

Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin may be only 45, but such has been his astonishing career he already is considered a legendary interpreter of acclaimed skill and insight.  A child prodigy, he first recorded, aged 13, his repertoire on record and the recital platform. In the three decades since embracing the monuments of the pianist's repertoire, from Chopin with which he first made his name, to the emotional depths of Schumann and the sheer virtuosity of Liszt. Intelligent, powerful, and able to tackle even the most formidable technical demands and find within them the score's soul, Kissin has become one of our age's most remarkable musicians.
©  Barbican - Photo © Dominik Skurzak


EVGENY KISSIN'S WELL-TEMPERED DEPARTURE

by llona Oltuski - 23.05.16

Carnegie Hall’s 125th season. Photo: Ilona Oltuski

Pianist Evgeny Kissin, concluding thePerspectives series at Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary season – which also celebrated his illustrious pianistic solo debut here 25 years ago – wooed audiences once more with Rachmaninoff’s beloved Piano Concerto No. 2, before taking a previously announced leave of absence from concertizing in the USA. The concert amounted to a farewell observation on the series’ narrative, revealing the artist’s uniquely personal artistic journey. Capture by Simone Massoni This article was published by the author on Blogcritics Magazine

Since that memorable Carnegie Hall debut, with people waving hundred-dollar bills to scalp a ticket on mobbed street blocks around the sold-out concert hall, New Yorkers’ enthusiasm for Kissin does not seem to have diminished in the least. Coming out of the Soviet Union as a prodigal talent with staggering musicality, his reputation had preceded his eagerly awaited appearances before both Russian and world audiences; and perhaps like no other, this pure Romantic has united them in an ecstatic communal sense.

It was Carnegie Hall’s centennial season, 1990-91, and Kissin, age 19, was – as in the current season – the notable opening act, one of the very few artists who had never had to ask, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” He simply arrived, and performed annually from then on.

“What makes a performance great?” I once asked him, and he simply remarked: “It has to be convincing.” Carnegie Hall initiated its Perspectives series in 1999 to further explore the complexity of what makes an artist great by showcasing leading artists’ individual interests and bringing in their musical friends. The previous pianist the series focused on was Sir Andràs Schiff in 2011-12.

This season’s in-depth close-up opened channels of discovery into Kissin’s enigmatic persona and vocation on stage, in five different programs.

Beyond bringing some of the musical milestones of Kissin’s career full circle, the series portrayed the artist who at 44, unabashed by the persistent trail of Wunderkind status, has proven he can carve out new paths of artistic growth and a remarkable personal departure. His choices of programs are always “a matter of love,” and it is the kind of intimate, sanctified love that does not warrant further conversation. Notwithstanding his free spirit he feels: “Talking about all kind of things including sex, is great fun – talking about music seems vulgar.”

Knowing how close to his heart his programs are – he usually spends a full touring season with each one – one had to wonder why Chopin, with whose concertos the pianist skyrocketed to stardom and who, as Kissin confesses when pressed on the subject, is the closest to his heart, would not appear in any of his featured programs. Bookending the series with two of the arch-romantic Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff concerts, Kissin instead curated his classical solo recitals with works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms in conjunction with the Spanish composers Albéniz and Larregla.

Highlighting his extraordinary temperament en galore with the Spanish rhythmic idiom added a most welcome geographic twist to the Germanic precursors. The recital program, which was performed twice that same week in November, was legendary not only because his “Appassionata” was nothing short of a revelation, but because a repeat performance of the same repertoire, selling out the house twice in a row, had till then been a feat achieved only by Vladimir Horowitz, in 1979.

No one present at Kissin’s concerts, least of all the performer himself, would suspect that concert halls are scrambling to fill their seats at many other quality concerts. Least of all at the truly stirring season’s opening concert, with red carpets rolled out for the occasion all across 57th street.


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If Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the New York Philharmonic and its departing director Alan Gilbert was meant to be associated with one of Kissin’s own, most triumphant historic performances of the same concerto in 1987, given with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic when the pianist was just 16, Kissin certainly stood the test of time. While one can’t say if Gilbert was as touched by Kissin’s brilliance as was Karajan, who, according to Karajan’s wife was moved to tears by the genial talent of his chosen young performer, their engagement certainly carried its own merit of excellence, making it also one of Gilbert’s rather gallant collaborations to remember.

On the day following his evening of Yiddish music and poetry, Carnegie’s Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson moderated – at the associates’ level ticket price – a public tête-à-tête on stage, where Kissin appeared relaxed and personable. He humored the audience with anecdotes about Prokofiev and his first meeting with Karajan, as well as his strong-mindedness when it comes to conductors who don’t share his vision. He also recalled some of his earlier years, when his revered only mentor through all these years, Anna Kantor, moved in with the Kissins, following them on their path from Moscow to New York to London.


Click here to read full Review



EVGENY KISSIN : A RARE AND MIRACULOUS PIANO LEGEND AT WORK 

REVIEW

Ivan Hewett, Classical Music Critic
11 March 2016 • 6:00pm


The memorandum below is based on notes taken during a brilliant performance of Brahms’ Three Intermezzos Opus 11 given by Evgeny Kissin at the Barbican Theatre on 10 March 2016.  Link

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Immaculate perfection: Evgeny Kissin at the Barbican CREDIT: HIROYUKI ITO/GETTY IMAGES

Evgeny Kissin may only be 44, but he’s already passing into the ranks of pianistic legends. His UK appearances are rare, and those electrifying first appearances as a teenager in the 1980s are now a distant memory.


Legends tend to float off from musical life as we know it, attracting their own circle of devotees. That was certainly true on this occasion, where a packed audience of fans were waiting to adore their idol, and gave him a standing ovation before the interval. With Kissin there’s another problem; a strange emotional detachment, as if the immaculate perfection of his technique has purged away human feeling.


On this occasion those fans were right. Technique and feeling came together in the most miraculous way, in a recital that left one speechless with admiration. A sceptic might say Kissin made life easy for himself. He played a technically undemanding programme of a Mozart sonata, three of Brahms’s slow, autumnal intermezzos Op. 117, and a clutch of those charming picture-postcard pieces by Albéniz which portray regions of Spain. Only in Beethoven’s great, turbulent Appassionata Sonata did he break a sweat.


But one could put this the other way round. By avoiding the virtuoso fireworks of Liszt and Chopin that come so easily to him, Kissin actually took a risk. There’s no way an audience can be driven to frenzy by the gaunt, bleached sadness of Brahms 3rd intermezzo, or the naked simplicity of Mozart’s 10th sonata. 


In Kissin’s performances both emerged with a lovely limpid clarity, and in the group of Brahms intermezzos this uncanny clarity allowed Kissin to adopt an immensely slow tempo. In lesser hands this could have seemed self-indulgent; here it allowed the vast pathos of the music to float effortlessly free.


Beethoven’s sonata requires the very thing I’ve always imagined Kissin couldn’t muster; a sense of going close to the edge, and a sound that foreswears perfection to reach for the sublime. In the outer movements Kissin offered these things in abundance, and in the slow movement yoked his uncannily perfect control to the service of grandeur, by making the music seem one huge unbroken arch.


In the four pieces from Albéniz’s Suite Espagñola, we heard another side of Kissin’s gift; his ability to give a melody a tender, almost casual grace. Being Kissin, he couldn’t resist driving the audience wild with some virtuoso encores; but by then he’d truly earned it.          Telegraph       Getty Images


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The Pianist

Home in the early hours
along the lonely path
from the railway station
the temperature has fallen
the dew is descending
and the grass is furring up
with a delicate frost

and I remember his hands
as he felt his way through Brahms
feeling his way through his feelings
tentative and yet decided:
the instruments of passion
at his fingertips melody
which he caresses as the lover
that lies within
gently phrasing his affections

Leaning in he extracts a cascade
a stream of notes picked
from the calm domestic world
that surrounds him
the rhythm shifts but the identity
doesn’t change
He has nothing to reveal
he is the revelation
on a walk through the woods
here a rose there a robin
an eagle soaring above a stream
of crystal clear water
He has become
part of the world narrative
a rich fragment
a billowing love song to life
and to natural beauty
: here children play
you can hear their laughter
as they race down the hill
here love goes hand in hand
surges in moments of ecstasy
and subsides into peace :
the piano has become a carapace
he bears the weight
on his shoulders—a shell
a habitat an exuberant
meteorological space

Lost within a score
he leans back
adjusts his cuffs
and shakes his wrists
to loosen the remaining
notes that lie within him
Faith and hope and charity
the variegated satisfactions
of a domestic universe
an impassioned partnership
in which he has dissolved into Brahms
a marriage and a resurrection

and so the frost falls
and the night sleeps on
until lovers
refreshed
rise from each other’s arms
into the new day

by John Lyons 


HOW EVGENY KISSIN BECAME A ONE-MAN YIDDISH PRIDE MOVEMENT

Allan M. JalonDecember 14, 2015

In a poem Evgeny Kissin wrote in Yiddish, he looks forward to the Jewish program he’s set to perform on December 16 at Carnegie Hall: In Kenedi-Tsenter af yidish hob ikh shoyn geshalt, / un opgeshatst hobm es hoykh i a yid, i a goy / Kh’vel es ton in kumendikn yor oykh in Karnegi Hol…


For the uninitiated, it says: “I’ve spoken in Yiddish at Kennedy Center already. And it was highly praised by both a Jew and a Gentile. I’ll do the same next year in Carnegie Hall.”


Kissin’s pianistic power with the languages of Beethoven and Chopin isn’t news. Word that he’s a one-man Yiddish Pride Movement has spread more recently, especially since he appeared at the Kennedy Center in 2014 for a program of music by Jewish composers and poems by the classic Yiddish poets Chaim Nachman Bialik and I. L. Peretz. He declaimed them by memory, his speaking voice an instrument both rich and, at times, hauntingly tender.


The poetry at Carnegie Hall will focus exclusively on Peretz [Editor’s note: The Forward has produced several Kissin CD’s including “Don’t Think That the World Is a Tavern,” featuring Kissin reading Peretz’s poetry]. The musical part will showcase one well-known work — Ernest Bloch’s shimmering piano sonata — and solo piano pieces by Alexander Krein (1883-1951) and Alexander Veprik (1899-1958). Krein’s work reflects the influence of Scriabin, whom he knew; Veprik’s is more Bartok-inflected. Krein and Veprik stood out in a movement that braided Jewish influences with modernist craft, which surged briefly before and after the Revolution — before yielding to Stalin’s institutional anti-Semitism.


The program reflects Kissin’s deepening commitment to sharing Yiddish culture. It already embraces the Yiddish poems he composes, 12 of them available on his website: www.kissin.dk. The site includes a CD of him reading Yiddish poems, and displays the poems — by Yiddish greats Bialik, Abraham Sutskever and others. There’s also prose by Kissin, including short fiction, as well as other writers and journalists. Several pieces assert support for Israel — the pianist recently became an Israeli citizen to show it — and for Vladimir Putin’s opponents. In a recent poem, given in Yiddish and English, Kissin writes a personal-feeling elegy for leading Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, lamenting with outrage the popular dissident’s assassination near the Kremlin in February 2015.


In an email (due to his busy schedule, Kissin prefers email interviews), I asked Kissin whether his poem stemmed from knowing Nemtsov, and his grief for the Jewish-born activist’s loss became especially moving when he answered: “As for Boris Nemtsov, of blessed memory, I only met him once, so regretfully there was no relationship between us.”


On Sunday, December 6, Kissin performed in a program at YIVO exploring Yiddish music during the Soviet era. With videos and film clips, it drew from pieces on a new CD — “Songs with a Jewish Flavor”— in which he collaborates with other artists. Part of that project — and the performance — was Boris Sandler. Kissin wrote me that he’s friends with Sandler, editor-in chief of the Yiddish Forverts. Sandler has edited the pianist’s Yiddish literary efforts (recast in English by the New York-based translator Barnett Zumoff). Kissin even evokes Sandler in a poem, in lines that recount how “a nice lady” he meets on tour to Iceland asks if he knows Yiddish. The pianist-poet decides, “I’ll call Boris from Iceland” and “let the colorful sparkle of Yiddish illuminate the air!”


Giving commentary at the YIVO event was Gennady Estraikh, an NYU professor of Yiddish and Jewish history. Kissin, who travels widely but maintains an apartment in New York, wrote me that time with Estraikh, “helped me in my Yiddish studies at a time when I already had some knowledge of Yiddish, but still didn’t understand certain things.”


Estraikh said in an interview that when he met Kissin about 14 years ago, “his knowledge of Yiddish was modest, but it has developed into something remarkable. When I read a poem by him, it is with the impression it was written by someone who has spent years and years in his studies of Yiddish. It has no mistakes. It is absolutely grammatically correct. In the beginning, we spoke Russian together, and now we speak Yiddish.”


The Yiddish fluency Kissin honed through adult effort grew from emotional roots in childhood visits to now-deceased grandparents outside of Moscow, where he was born in 1971 and where his rise as a prodigy began. In his poem titled “My Grandmother-Tongue,” Kissin recalls that Yiddish “rang out in the dacha,” and brings back his “grandma Rachel saying to me: ‘Farmakh di tir!’ (‘close the door!’).”


Kissin has performed Yiddish poetry before, and his website has videos of him reading at the Verbier Festival, in Switzerland, in 2006. But the sold-out Kennedy Center event took it to a new level. The project grew from a meeting with Charles Krauthammer, the conservative pundit, at a reception in 2008. Krauthammer and his wife, Robyn, had developed a group called Pro Musica Hebraica, to produce concerts of music by lesser-known Jewish composers. But the Washington Post columnist recounted that he first spoke with Kissin about their mutual political zeal for Israel.


“We had this immediate affinity for things Jewish and political Zionism, and I guess he knew me as a writer,” Krauthammer said. “Since then, I have seen him maybe four or five times, but we’ve had these extended but sporadic email exchanges, and Robyn had the idea of this concert. It was her idea and it is mostly her doing, though she’s too modest to say so.”
The pianist started by being “politely, charmingly resistant to this idea,” and made clear he’d only play music he considered “worthy as music, not merely because it had been written by Jews,“ Krauthammer said.


Pro Musica Hebraica, helped by a scholar of Jewish music history named James Loeffler, sent Kissin piece after piece to consider. It took about a year until he decided the Krein and Veprik works were “worth memorizing, worth attaching his reputation to,” Krauthammer said. In an email, Kissin said he knew of Krein, but Veprik was new to him.


The poetry part of the hybrid came more easily, given Kissin’s strong attachment to Yiddish literary culture and self-described “regular” reading of poetry in general, from Keats to Marina Tsvetaeva. By all accounts, his ability to convey the wide range of feeling in Yiddish poetry is thoughtful and expressive. But who better to ask about the chance to hear Kissin recite Peretz than another Peretz? Martin Peretz, the former editor of the New Republic, said he and the famed author are related through his great-great-grandfather, one of the poet’s brothers. The familial tie is evident the moment Martin Peretz starts to talk about his Yiddish-steeped youth in the Bronx and his work shaping a recent YIVO conference to honor his forebearer’s 100th yahrzeit.


Peretz has tickets to Kissin’s December 16 recital and was at the December 6th concert at YIVO, where he’s a trustee. “I think (the Carnegie reading) will be a reminder of the clarity that Peretz brought to his poems,” he said. “He envisions a better world, but he’s not sentimental. I don’t think that Kissin traffics in warming the heart. This will not be an exercise in nostalgia.”


At 76, Peretz lives in Manhattan and is writing a memoir. But Kissin also has younger admirers, ones for whom his public Yiddish interest mirrors the focus of some younger Russian-born and American-born Jewish performers. I spoke with Eve Sicular, who leads the New York-based Klezmer group Metropolitan Klezmer, Anna Shternshis, a University of Toronto Yiddish studies professor, and Yelena Schmulenson, a Russian-born actress who lives in New York. All spoke of their growing awareness of Kissin’s presence on the Yiddish scene.


Schmulenson, who acted in the shtetl prologue of the Coen Brothers’ film “A Serious Man,” said she was in a Yiddish-language staging of a Sholom Aleichem piece not long ago on the Lower East Side, and felt “eyes burning into me through the audience.” When the lights went up, there sat Kissin. “I could tell because he has that wild hair, you know? He came up to me afterward and told me how much he liked it—in Yiddish. That he should take such a strong interest in Yiddish and expand his presence in the world that way is something I have noticed and I think others are noticing, and I applaud it. It is encouraging.”


I emailed Kissin about Schmulenson’s account, and asked if he is consciously making himself a model to encourage other people in their fervor for Yiddishkeit. His tone was modest, but he stated a clear sense of purpose: “I am not consciously making myself a model for anybody; such an idea would never come to my mind. But I am trying to promote Yiddish and the Yiddish culture.”


However, he pointed out, the core of his life remains music. “If one wants to understand me as a human being,” he wrote, “the first and main thing one needs to do is to listen to my music, because I am all in it.”
Still, in “Yiddish,” the title of one of his poems that extols the language, he wonders if his drive on its behalf is becoming extreme: Mir dukht zikh, mistame ver ikh a bisl meshuge…nor s’helft dokh a mol meshugas!


“It seems to me that I’m probably getting a little crazy,” the poem allows, but “sometimes craziness helps.”


Allan M. Jalon is the winner of two 2015 Simon Rockower Awards for his Forward feature stories, “My Opa’s Story of World War One’s Other Fight” and “A New Jersey Tale of Two Alfred Doblins.”

 

Cont'd   ::  Poetry  :: Maestro's Writings

EVGENY KISSIN WILL INDULGE HIS LOVE OF YIDDISH POETRY AT CARNEGIE HALL

by Vivien Schweitzer :: 13 December 2015

Evgeny Kissin will play works by Jewish composers and recite poetry Wednesday at Carnegie Hall. Credit Sasha Arutyunova for The New York Times


Describing his affinity for Yiddish verse recently, the pianist Evgeny Kissin closed his eyes, bowed his head slightly and in a mellifluous, expressive baritone began to recite a poem from memory.


“Many people sing in the shower,” he said earlier in an interview on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “I recite in the shower.”


Mr. Kssin, a dominant presence in music since he emerged as a teenage prodigy in the 1980s, will highlight this lesser-known talent in a concert devoted to Jewish composers on Wednesday at Carnegie Hall.


In addition to playing works by Alexander Krein, Ernest Bloch and Alexander Veprik, he will read texts by Yitzhak Leybush Peretz, whose words he recited during the interview. This year is the centennial of Peretz’s death, and Mr. Kissin, 44, has recorded some of this Yiddish writer’s poems about love and nature.


It is the fourth concert in Mr. Kissin’s Perspectives series at Carnegie this season, which comes as this still-boyish virtuoso continues his transition to midcareer master. For his fifth and final Perspectives concert next May, Mr. Kissin will play Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; it will be his final appearance in the United States for at least a year after that as he takes a sabbatical.


Mr. Kissin, who holds British, Russian and Israeli citizenship, will give only a handful of concerts during his sabbatical, including one next December to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Israel Philharmonic. He will otherwise use the yearlong break to rest, travel and learn new repertory. He said that he needed some private time after an “intense” period.


A brilliant and insightful interpreter of Russian composers, Beethoven and Chopin, Mr. Kissin meshes an impressive technique with a broad coloristic palette. He is eager to delve into composers he has yet to perform publicly, like Bach and Debussy, as well as concertos by Bartok and Liszt. When he returns, he also plans to play more chamber music, performing with the Emerson String Quartet, for example.


He will travel, as he does invariably, with his mother, Emilia Kissin, a former piano teacher; his sister, Alla Kissin, a professional collaborative pianist 10 years his senior; and Anna Pavlovna Kantor, 92, the only teacher he has ever had. (His father, Igor Kissin, an engineer, died in 2012.) The four live together in the Ansonia apartment building on the Upper West Side; Ms. Kantor, who still holds court backstage at Mr. Kissin’s concerts, has been a fixture of the family since the Kissins moved from Moscow to New York in 1991, when the Soviet Union was on the brink of dissolution.


By that time, Mr. Kissin was already an established name. He gave his first solo recital at age 11 in the House of Composers in Moscow. So many attended that the organizers added seats onstage, creating an intimate ambience he said helped him perform better; since then his concerts have often included seats onstage.


He achieved international recognition with a recording of the two Chopin piano concertos at age 12 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. He made his American debut in 1990 in concerts with the New York Philharmonic and at a recital in Carnegie Hall, where last month he became the first pianist since Vladimir Horowitz in 1979 to repeat a solo program within a single week.


When performing, Mr. Kissin, a tall man with a shock of dark hair who is more halting in conversation than he is when he recites poetry, acknowledges audiences with stiff bows and a wide smile, a gesture missing earlier in his career when an industry professional urged him: “Smile onstage once in a while. Please smile.” He also offers many encores, though he said he no longer had the stamina for his previous encore marathons. “I have already outlived Chopin, Mozart, Schubert, Pushkin, Lermontov and Keats,” he said, referring to his age.
Some musicians, like Jordi Savall and Daniel Barenboim, use music as a tool to initiate intercultural dialogue, but Mr. Kissin refuses to play in countries whose policies he says he disagrees with, including China and Cuba.


“I’m not friends with dictators,” he said. “Communist ones in particular. I lived in a Communist country for the first 20 years of my life, and that was more than enough.”


Asked later by email for his opinion on the leadership of Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s authoritarian president, Mr. Kissin skated around the issue, writing that he preferred not to discuss Russian politics for “personal reasons.” He has not performed in Russia since 2009 but is scheduled to give concerts there in 2017.


In the interview, Mr. Kissin also said that he would not perform in Turkey until its government acknowledges that the mass murder of Armenians in 1915 was a genocide.


“I personally believe that if people in such countries learn that some musicians refuse to play there because they are dismayed by what their rulers do, that will make intelligent-thinking people more aware,” he said. He hastened to add that he does “not judge or condemn colleagues who perform in totalitarian countries. — it’s a personal choice.”


Growing up in Moscow, Mr. Kissin learned Yiddish from his maternal grandparents. He had pneumonia frequently as a child and would stay in bed writing music, invariably dedicating the pieces “to my dear and beloved teacher, Anna Pavlovna Kantor.”


He recently composed a cycle of four short piano pieces that he has shown to the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, who gave him advice and encouragement. One of Mr. Kissin’s fan sites whose content he supervises, features poems of his own written in Yiddish, as well as translations of Russian works he admires that are not well known in the West. The site also features a short novel he wrote about a young composer called Venya who has an affair with a prostitute.


Asked whether he might someday perform his compositions in public, Mr. Kissin replied: “We’ll see what the future brings. I don’t want to do anything that is not worthy of people’s attention. But never say never.”


Describing his affinity for Yiddish verse recently, the pianist Evgeny Kissin closed his eyes, bowed his head slightly and in a mellifluous, expressive baritone began to recite a poem from memory.


“Many people sing in the shower,” he said earlier in an interview on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “I recite in the shower.”


Mr. Kissin, a dominant presence in music since he emerged as a teenage prodigy in the 1980s, will highlight this lesser-known talent in a concert devoted to Jewish composers on Wednesday at Carnegie Hall.


In addition to playing works by Alexander Krein, Ernest Bloch and Alexander Veprik, he will read texts by Yitzhak Leybush Peretz, whose words he recited during the interview. This year is the centennial of Peretz’s death, and Mr. Kissin, 44, has recorded some of this Yiddish writer’s poems about love and nature.


It is the fourth concert in Mr. Kissin’s Perspectives series at Carnegie this season, which comes as this still-boyish virtuoso continues his transition to midcareer master. For his fifth and final Perspectives concert next May, Mr. Kissin will play Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; it will be his final appearance in the United States for at least a year after that as he takes a sabbatical.


Mr. Kissin, who holds British, Russian and Israeli citizenship, will give only a handful of concerts during his sabbatical, including one next December to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Israel Philharmonic. He will otherwise use the yearlong break to rest, travel and learn new repertory. He said that he needed some private time after an “intense” period.


A brilliant and insightful interpreter of Russian composers, Beethoven and Chopin, Mr. Kissin meshes an impressive technique with a broad coloristic palette. He is eager to delve into composers he has yet to perform publicly, like Bach and Debussy, as well as concertos by Bartok and Liszt. When he returns, he also plans to play more chamber music, performing with the Emerson String Quartet, for example.


He will travel, as he does invariably, with his mother, Emilia Kissin, a former piano teacher; his sister, Alla Kissin, a professional collaborative pianist 10 years his senior; and Anna Pavlovna Kantor, 92, the only teacher he has ever had. (His father, Igor Kissin, an engineer, died in 2012.).   The four live together in the Ansonia apartment building on the Upper West Side; Ms. Kantor, who still holds court backstage at Mr. Kissin’s concerts, has been a fixture of the family since the Kissins moved from Moscow to New York in 1991, when the Soviet Union was on the brink of dissolution.


By that time, Mr. Kissin was already an established name. He gave his first solo recital at age 11 in the House of Composers in Moscow. So many attended that the organizers added seats onstage, creating an intimate ambience he said helped him perform better; since then his concerts have often included seats onstage.     Cont'd


EVGENY KISSIN SAYS WILL NOT PERFORM IN TURKEY UNTIL ANKARA RECOGNISES ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

15 Dec 2015  :: Siranush Ghazanchyan


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Photo: Sasha Arutyunova for The New York Times


World-known pianist Evgeny Kissin said in an interview with The New York Times that he would not perform in Turkey until its government acknowledges that the mass murder of Armenians in 1915 was a genocide.


“I personally believe that if people in such countries learn that some musicians refuse to play there because they are dismayed by what their rulers do, that will make intelligent-thinking people more aware,” he said.


He hastened to add that he does “not judge or condemn colleagues who perform in totalitarian countries. — it’s a personal choice.”


Kissin will perform in a concert devoted to Jewish composers on Wednesday at Carnegie Hall.   Link


THE TWO ITEMS BELOW WERE FORWARDED BY EVGENY KISSIN ON 17.08.15


Writing in the Kuwaiti government daily Al-Watan on Aug. 1, 2015, columnist 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq argued that if Iran attains nuclear weapons it will not hesitate to use them against the Gulf states, whereas Israel, which has possessed such weapons for years, has never used them in its wars against the Arabs. Al-Hadlaq called upon the Gulf states to sever their ties with Iran and form an alliance with Israel, strengthening political, commercial and even military ties.


"I anticipate that the servants and agents of Iran in the region, who have Persian blood running in their veins...will accuse me of 'Zionism, collaborating with Israel.'...[But] the scales have dropped from the eyes of the Arab and Muslim peoples, and they have realized...that their only bitter enemies are the Persian Iranians, not the friendly State of Israel." (MEMRI)


KISSIN'S DISTINCTIVE MASTERY BRINGS ILLUMINATION ON A RAINY AFTERNOON

Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 5:05 pm
By Lawrence A. Johnson

 

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Evgeny Kissin performed a recital Sunday afternoon at Symphony Center. Photo: Todd Rosenberg


There are innumerable gifted keyboard artists on the current scene. But there is only one Evgeny Kissin. And after hearing his mastery again Sunday afternoon at Symphony Center, it’s hard to feel that anyone else today can approach the Russian pianist in his chosen repertory.

Clearly, his many local fans felt the same way, with the crowd overflowing to significant onstage seating for a program that offered a virtual manifest of Kissin’s favored composers: Beethoven, Prokofiev, Liszt and Chopin.

The afternoon led off with sonatas of Beethoven and Prokofiev. The former’s Sonata No. 21, “Waldstein,” gets regular hearings but rarely with the brand of fresh discovery heard Sunday  .  .  .  .  Read

 

AHEAD OF THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARMENIAN  GENOCIDE

Click on Pic to Read Article

PALESTINIAN INTELLECTUAL PRAISES ISRAELI DEMOCRACY:  PALESTINIANS MUST LEARN FROM ISRAELI ARABS HOW TO HANDLE CONTROVERSY, WORK FOR BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC

March 19, 2015

(Forwarde by Evgeny Kissin 23.03.2015)


'Imad Al-Falouji, head of the Gaza-based Institute for Intercultural Dialogue, served as information minister and as an advisor under Yasser Arafat. He wrote: "Anyone examining the Israeli entity is amazed by the extent of internal disagreement on every issue....They have a [political] right, center and left...and every perception has proponents and opponents....But, despite all this, they have passed laws that govern these disagreements and set out a common goal: that of serving the State of Israel and the people of Israel. They manage to use the internal disagreements as a source of strength."


A PALESTINIAN PERSPECTIVE :: Bassem Eid

(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 26.09.15)


אז מה באמת רוצים הפלשתינים? - האמת הנוקבת מפיו של עיתונאי ופעיל זכויות אדם אמיץ ויוצא דופןבאסם עיד, פעיל זכויות אדם פלשתיני (כזה אמיתי, לא כזה שמקבל אתנן מכל מיני ארגונים), עיתונאי ופרשן פוליטי, מציג נקודת מבט יוצאת דופן ובלתי נשמעת על הסכסוך הישראלי-פלשתיני. בראיון לטלוויזיה הניו זילנדית הוא מדבר על מהות הסכסוך הפלשתיני-ישראלי, על BDS, האו"ם, התקשורת העולמית, על מדינות ערב ועל השאלה מה סדר העדיפויות ומה רוצים מרבית הפלשתינים אתם הוא משוחח. תרגום לעברית - שרית אופריכטר

Posted by ‎מדווחים מהשטח-חדשות ועדכונים‎ on Monday, 21 September 2015
, .

EVGENY KISSIN RECITAL  IN LONDON

20 March 2015, Barbican Hall


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I don’t know any other musician who plays every concert with all his devotion and who always performs only for us: his audience.


I can never understand critics who write negatives reviews. They are supposed to be professionals, so how can they not hear what every ordinary listener does?! How can they not hear the beauty and delicacy of  maestro Kissin performance, his enormous power and outstanding technique?

In the last solo recital programme, Kissin combined music pieces of very different composers, such as Beethoven and Prokofiev, Chopin and Liszt. However, the recital seemed integral and complete. Moreover, each performed music piece highlighted different sides of  Kissin’s talent.

Beethoven Sonata No 21 in C, Waldstein
I’ve always wondered, if Beethoven lived in our time, would he like his music interpretation? It seems to me, that if the spirit of Beethoven visited Barbican hall that evening, he would be pleased.

Prokofiev Sonata No 4 in C minor
To be honest, Prokofiev has never been my favourite composer. But the more I listen to his music, the more I find it interesting. During the performance, I imagined young Prokofiev, his character, his thoughts and his dreams. Through Prokofiev’s music, I tried to see and feel that historical time in Russia.

Nocturnes and Mazurkas by Chopin
Chopin is maestro Kissin's favourite composer. Everybody could feel a special bond between these two. Nobody can play Chopin as beautiful as Kissin does it. It is simply perfect.

Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No 15, Rákóczi March
Wow! That’s was amazing! Kissin’s performance was so powerful, passionate and, my goodness, it was incredibly fast! There is no doubt, it is now my favourite version of Rhapsody No15. I wish I had a recording of it.

I believe that concert moved everybody: standing ovation, sparkling eyes, happy smiles.


Maestro Kissin gave us three gifts – three wonderful encores:


1. Chopin Nocturne in F-Sharp Minor.
2. Paganini-Liszt “The Hunt”.
3. Prokofiev The March from the opera “The Love for the three Oranges”.

It was a great honour for me to see Evgeny Kissin backstage after the concert. The wonderful concert and maestro’s warm welcome made me feel ‘in the seventh heaven’.

I am looking forward for the next Evgeny Kissin concert in London in 2016.

Classical Music for All

EVGENY  KISSIN REVIEW :: REFLECTION AND SEVERITY FROM FORMER PRODIGY

This was not trademark full-throttle Kissin but, at 44, a relaxed player delivering refinement and gravitas

Tim Ashley

Monday 23 March 2015 15.51 GM


“Austerity” and “restraint” aren’t words usually associated with Evgeny Kissin, whose reputation has long been founded on his full-throttle virtuosity and seeming preference, deemed controversial, for excitement over emotional depth. The former young prodigy, however, will be 44 this year. Age and time have clearly wrought their effects, and his latest Barbican recital revealed qualities of reflection and severity that repeatedly challenged preconceived notions. His sometimes diffident platform manner was in abeyance: I don’t think I’ve ever seen him looking so relaxed.


Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata and Prokofiev’s Fourth formed the first half of his programme. For a pianist sometimes described as “thundering” Beethoven, his Waldstein was strikingly reined in, with the first movement growing in assertion through a range of muted yet shifting dynamics, the Adagio admirably sparse and Spartan, and the rondo, after a breathtaking transition, launched with unpretentious grace and at a sensible speed so that nothing seemed rushed or hectored. We don’t hear Prokofiev’s Fourth Sonata that often, meanwhile. Dating from the time of the Russian revolution, it broods remorselessly over change and future uncertainties. Its dark tone was finely sustained. There was plenty of gravitas in the big, Mussorgskyan Andante. The percussive bravado of the finale, dexterous yet never flamboyant, bristled with unease.


Chopin and Liszt, Kissin’s signature composers, came after the interval. Chopin was represented by a curious group of nocturnes and mazurkas, mostly in minor keys and among the least familiar in each genre. The nocturnes, particularly Op 48, No 1 in C Minor, suffered on occasion from Kissin’s still overemphatic way with the climaxes, though the mazurkas were nicely introverted and refined in their melancholy. Pure bravura was reserved for Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No 15, the Rákóczi March, delivered with furious panache. The applause and encores went on late into the evening.   Link



FEARLESSLY SECURE:  EVGENY KISSIN AT THE BERLINER PHILHARMONIE

February 18, 2015


Beethoven – Piano Sonata No. 21 in C, Op. 53 “Waldstein”
Prokofiev – Piano Sonata No. 4 in C minor, Op. 29
Chopin – Nocturnes and Mazurkas
Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 in A minor, S. 244 “Rákóczy March”

There cannot be many pianists who can stride onto a stage as confidently as Evgeny Kissin. But this Russian star is the stuff of legends. He came to international attention aged only twelve, when he performed and recorded both of Chopin’s Piano Concertos with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra. Now in his forties, Kissin is heralded as the great successor to the Russian Piano School for his seemingly limitless virtuosity and powerful sound.


It is impressive that Kissin does not cave under the weight of the expectations that his legendary status places upon him. Instead of cowering, he remains undaunted, which was a comforting aspect for Monday night’s concert. Kissin took Beethoven’s energetic “Waldstein” Sonata at a high speed, but we knew we were always in safe hands. There was never a feeling that he would lose control, or make the slightest slip. Neither did his confidence hinder more delicate moments. He could both caress the second movement’s gentle melodies whilst still projecting across the large space of the Philharmonie.


Kissin’s self-assurance is deserved. It was difficult to detect any slips in Beethoven’s exposing work. But absolute confidence is not without its drawbacks. The performance lacked any sense of risk. Beethoven’s tricky “Waldstein” Sonata was too easy for Kissin. It had become routine, perhaps even mechanical. This is not to say that his routine performance was a bad one, but it lacked the excitement of unpredictability.


Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 4 in C minor was dedicated to his friend Maximilian Schmidthof, whose suicide in 1913 had deeply affected the composer. It is a complex work, with moments of jaunty joy juxtaposed with despair. Kissin captured the complexity of the work’s emotions. Climaxes were not simply a triumph but had an underlying pain. For the first movement’s closing menacing chords, he was unafraid of being blunt. But what was most impressive was the huge sound that this work unleashed. The sheer volume at the end, coming from this single performer, was astounding.


by Hazel Rowland  >> Link


BARBICAN  HALL, LONDON 

CONSUMMATE PIANISTIC ARTISTRY FROM EVGENY KISSIN

Robert Beattie| March 23, 2015


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Beethoven – Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major Op 53 ‘Waldstein’
Prokofiev – Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor Op 29 ‘From old notebooks’
Chopin – Selection of Nocturnes and Mazurkas
Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody in A Minor S244 No. 15 ‘Rákóczi March


Encores:
1. Chopin. Nocturne in F-Sharp Minor
2. Paganini-Liszt. "The Hunt"
3. Prokofiev. The March from the opera "The Love for the three Oranges"

Evgeny Kissin is one of the standard bearers of the grand Russian school of piano playing and like the late, great Sviatoslav Richter he has both the technique and overall level of musicianship to be able to turn in superb performances of just about every composer he plays. This recital was a case in point given that it featured music from the Classical, Romantic and early 20th Century periods and traversed large scale sonatas, poetic miniatures and virtuoso showpieces.


Kissin opened the recital with Beethoven’s ‘Waldstein’ Sonata which was written around the same time as the ‘Eroica’ Symphony in the period when the composer was coming to terms with his encroaching deafness. Kissin kept the opening movement brisk and the passagework clean and he judiciously followed Beethoven’s instructions around phrasing and dynamics. There was a muscularity to the playing which I liked and a clear sense of structure and argument. The lyrical second subject was played with a velvety beauty of tone but I wondered if it could have been a little warmer and given more space to breathe. I also wondered if he might have made a little more of some of the modulations in this movement as they came across in a very matter of fact way. The tempo for the short slow movement seemed spot on to me and it had a wonderful sense of solemnity and weight. The opening of the finale is an extraordinary piece of piano writing and I don’t think there is any ‘right’ way of playing it: Kissin created impressionistic colours and artfully blurred harmonies which did not entirely work for me but were interesting nonetheless. The ensuing passagework was played with surgical precision and there was enormous attention to detail with Kissin making the most of Beethoven’s dynamic contrasts and sonorities. The prestissimo coda was played with brilliance and razor-sharp articulation although I was a little disappointed that Kissin opted to play the octave glissandi as scales split between the hands and not as Beethoven wrote them.


Both Prokofiev’s Third and Fourth Piano Sonatas use material from old notebooks dating from the composer’s teenage years. I was pleased that Kissin included the Fourth Sonata in his recital as it is unjustly neglected in my view. This may be because of the dark, brooding quality that pervades the first two movements. The mood of the sonata stems from the fact that the work – like the Second Piano Concerto – is dedicated to Maximilian Schmidthof, a close friend of Prokofiev from the St Petersburg Conservatoire who committed suicide. Kissin seemed to have more of a direct emotional connection to this music than to the Beethoven and I was impressed with the symphonic breadth and range of colour he achieved in the first movement. The soul searching which permeates the movement including the sense of angst and unease, the sorrow and regret was conveyed brilliantly. The Andante assai starts in the lower depths of the keyboard and here Kissin did an excellent job conjuring up the dark brooding quality and dramatic intensity of the opening section. There is an interlude in this movement which sounds like a Rachmaninov prelude and Kissin played it with an ethereal delicacy. The dark shadows of the opening two movements are dispelled in the finale which was played with steely fingered brilliance and enormous rhythmic vitality by Kissin. There was real bite and energy in this performance and an underlying sense of the subversive.


Seen and Heard International

 

EVGENY KISSIN AT THE BARBICAN, EC

by Anna Picard  | 24.03.15


Ten years ago it would have been impossible to predict this kind of performance from Evgeny Kissin. Propelled to fame as a teenager in the late 1980s, the pianist had an immaculate technique, but a hard, glassy sound. Something was missing in his playing: a sense of musical architecture and poetry, a personal voice. Now, 30 years into his international career, the former prodigy is beginning to thaw.


In a recital of Beethoven, Chopin, Prokofiev and Liszt, only the Liszt was vacuously brilliant — a ripped-biceps, rhinestone-studded exaggerated quality entirely appropriate to the demonic strut and posing-pouch swagger of the fifteenth Hungarian Rhapsody, Rákóczi-Marsch.


Echoes of Kissin’s once uniformly glacial sound could be heard in the opening movement of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No 4 in C minor. That icy slant and tilt was transformed into dark glamour in the hot tarry trills of the Andante assai and off-set by dusty staccato chords. Chopin’s B flat minor Nocturne, Op 9, was slippery and enigmatic, the dreamy melody shaped with an almost baroque series of feminine endings. The B major Nocturne shimmered restlessly with the brain-buzz of an insomniac, while the C minor Nocturne, Op 48, spoke sadly over perfectly balanced, gleaming chords.


There was transparency and muscularity, balletics and bite, in the Op 6 and Op 7 Mazurkas.; but it was in Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata that the development of Kissin’s musical personality was most evident: the voicing clear, the dynamics intimately scaled, the left-hand chords as effortlessly percussive in their attack as though they were being played on a fortepiano and not a Steinway concert grand. The expressive and harmonic ambivalence of the Adagio molto was shaped with a wonderful sense of pulse and line, its limpidity brightening into a dazzle in the Rondo. This subtle shift in emphasis from pianism to musicianship marks an intriguing and exciting change in Kissin’s approach.

 The Times


VERBIER FESTIVAL EVENTS 2015

SAVE A CHILD'S HEART  AND EVGENY KISSIN


Exceptional concert in Geneva on 14 March 2015 with Martin Engstroem as Concert Honorary Committee Member.

Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) runs a top medical centre in the Middle East whose mission is to provide free life-saving heart surgery and follow-up care to children on the brink of death from the poorest corners of the world, regardless of nationality, religion or race.


Sadly, one in 8 children is born with congenital heart disease. Since it was created in 1996, SACH has treated over 3,300 children from more than 45 developing countries, and saves more than 250 children per year.

As Evgeny Kissin feels strongly about the principles and work of SACH, he has generously offered his remarkable talent to Israel’s largest international humanitarian institution.

See SACH at work!

Since Evgeny Kissin is an artist of the Verbier Festival, and since Martin Engstroem has been asked to be a member of the Concert’s Honorary Committee we are pleased to announce that the Friends of the Verbier Festival are more than welcome to attend this exceptional private recital on 14th March 2015 at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève.


The concert will be followed by champagne cocktail and dinner with the artist at the Grand Theatre de Genève.


For more information and details concerning the category of tickets, as well as obtaining specially reserved hotel bookings during the weekend of 13/15 March 2015, please email swiss@saveachildsheart.com or telephone +41 (0)22 733 3302.

Verbier Festival Events



CARNEGIE HALL 2015

PEFSPECTIVES : EVGENY KISSIN



Evgeny Kissin’s Perspectives presents the virtuosity and penetrating intellect of one of the world’s greatest pianists. He performs grand Russian concertos with two outstanding New York orchestras: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert at the Opening Night Gala in October, and Rachmaninoff ’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with The MET Orchestra and James Levine in May.

Kissin is a thoughtful musician who is passionate about his heritage, particularly the music and poetry of Eastern European Jewry. In mid-December, he performs rarely heard piano works by lesser-known Jewish composers and recites some of his favorite Yiddish poetry in a program that previously received tremendous acclaim at the Kennedy Center.

A brilliant solo artist whose concerts sell out months in advance, Kissin gives a recital in early November and—for the first time in his career—repeats the program at Carnegie Hall later in the week. In December, he makes a rare and eagerly anticipated foray into chamber music, performing in an all-star trio with violinist Itzhak Perlman and cellist Mischa Maisky.
Link



EVGENY KISSIN AT THE RJCF GALA 2014

Published on 01 November 2014

Evgeny Kissin, the world renowned pianist, accepts the World Jewry Award at the RJCF Annual Charity Gala 2014 (via video bridge).


EVGENY KISSIN : UPFRONT AND PERSONAL 

06 October 2014

In an interviewed with Israeli conductor Arik Vardi, the acclaimed piano virtuoso discusses growing up as a prodigy in the Soviet Union and playing soccer with an old shoe instead of a ball, his deep-seated Jewish identity, his personal relationship with music and with the state of Israel, and the intermingling of joy and sorrow in the Jewish tradition. Video clips of his international debut at age twelve in Moscow, his appearance at Radio City Music Hall, and other high points included. (Interview in English, approximately 30 minutes.)




SALSBURG FESTIVAL : KISSIN'S SUPER SKRYABIN 

Aug 07, 2014 | Leonard Turnevicius/Hamilton Spectator


Click on Pic to read Article in Full


SALZBURG -- There was anticipation in the air as Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin walked on stage, five minutes late no less, for his 9 p.m. solo recital in the Grosses Festspielhaus.


Kissin did not disappoint the capacity audience. The first half was devoted solely to Schubert's "Gasteiner" Sonata, so nicknamed because it was written in Bad Gastein in 1825. Kissin spent the first half-minute or so adjusting to the Steinway grand and the acoustics of the full hall. The remainder of the first movement came across with a joyousness that seemed forced. It wasn't until the third and fourth movements that one began to hear echt-Schubert from Kissin . . . . Link



AUDIO INTERVIEWS FROM VERBIER FESTIVAL  EVGENY KISSIN 

Oliver Condy talks to the Russian pianist about what keeps him coming to Verbier

04.08.14


Click on Pic to hear Interview


SOLID SCHUBERT, SENSATIONAL SCRIABIN:  EVGENY KISSIN AT THE BARBICAN
By David Fay, 11 June 2014


Programmatic music has had a bit of a hard time of it. Ever since nineteenth-century musicologists asserted the supremacy of absolute music – music that referred to, and meant, nothing but itself – any music that attempts to describe, evoke or emulate things extra-musical has been considered by aesthetes to be of secondary value. Of course, most people who’ve heard Debussy’s Clair de Lune or Richard Strauss’ numerous tone poems know this to be a load of tosh; anyone who was at Evgeny Kissin’s recital at the Barbican and witnessed his performance of Scriabin’s Piano Sonata no. 2 in G sharp minor can offer confirmation. Programmatic it might be, but this music – at the hands of this pianist – is second to none . . . cont'd


EVGENY KISSIN RECEIVES HONORARY DOCTORATE AT BEN GURION UNIVERSITY

(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 20.05.14)



EVGENY KISSIN INTERVIEW at 14th ARTHUR RUBINSTEIN PIANO COMPETITION 2014


A truly wonderful 'off the cuff' flying 'drop-in' interview given by Evgeny - what a gift to the world he is - he tries to make time for everyone!  This is why we fans adore our Maestro - God bless him always - United We Stand with Israel -- Susanne James (Admin 24.05.14))


A PRODIGIOUS PIANO PERFORMANCE

Pianist Evgeny Kissin Receives Four Standing Ovations in One Night

By Erika  Trent : April 01, 2014


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EVGENY KISSIN PUTS DISTINCT RUSSIAN STAMP ON SCHUBERT

By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
  March 26, 2014


Evgeny Kissin shows why he might be the greatest Russian pianist of our day in program featuring Schubert and Scriabin at Disney Hall .  .  . cont'd



EVGENY KISSIN AND THE NATURE OF MORAL COURAGE


Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal posed a very good question, recently: “Do artists have a responsibility to protest against moral injustice?”

He was asking in reference to two internationally famous conductors, neither of whom has accepted his challenge. 


Kissin has an answer for the Dudamels and the Gergievs of the world  .  .  .  Read Here  and HERE



CLOSE ENOUGH TO SEE SCRIABIN'S COLORS

EVGENY KISSIN, RUSSIAN PIANIST, PLAYS AT CARNEGIE HALL

By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim :: March 13, 2014



It has become common for venues to set up extra chairs onstage whenever the prodigiously talented Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin gives a solo recital. On Monday evening, too, the capacity audience at Carnegie Hall spilled over onto the stage, where it offered Mr. Kissin a welcoming embrace during his mesmerizing performance of works by Schubert and Scriabin . . .cont'd

 New York Times


HOW TO FIGHT ACADEMIC BIGOTRY

By Charles Krauthammer, Friday, January 10, 2014


In this sea of easy and open bigotry, an unusual man has made an unusual statement. Russian by birth, European by residence, Evgeny Kissin is arguably the world’s greatest piano virtuoso. He is also a Jew of conviction. Deeply distressed by Israel’s treatment in the cultural world around him, Kissin went beyond the Dershowitz/Weinberg stance of asking to be considered an Israeli. On Dec. 7, he became one, defiantly.

Upon taking the oath of citizenship in Jerusalem, he declared: “I am a Jew, Israel is a Jewish state. . . . Israel’s case is my case, Israel’s enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish state beyond its borders.”

Full disclosure: I have a personal connection with Kissin. For the past two years I’ve worked to bring him to Washington to perform for Pro Musica Hebraica, a nonprofit organization (founded by my wife and me) dedicated to reviving lost and forgotten Jewish classical music. We succeeded. On Feb. 24, Kissin will perform at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall masterpieces of Eastern European Jewish music, his first U.S. appearance as an Israeli . . . Washingon Post



EVGENY KISSIN TAKES ISRAELI CITIZENSHIP

It isn’t every day that a Jew living outside of Israel, but fighting to preserve Israel’s good name, asks to become an Israeli citizen. World renowned pianist Evgeny Kissin is an exception to the rule.  Though living primarily in France and England, he defends Israel at every opportunity and felt that he could do so more effectively if he had Israeli citizenship.  This was awarded him on 7th December 2013 . . . cont'd  | Commentary


KOREA'S FAVORITE CLASSICAL MUSICIANS


Click on Pic to Read Article

WITH YOU, ARMENIA

by Maxim Reider  25.02.15


“Two dozen renowned musicians will give memorial concerts in the world’s most prestigious concert halls through a series of concerts under the title “With you, Armenia,” which will start in Israel. Further venues include St. John Church in Tallinn; the Beaux Arts Palace in Brussels; the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg; Carnegie Hall in New York; Santa Cecilia Hall in Rome; Cadogan Hall in London; and Musikverein Hall in Vienna. The roster of top-class musicians includes the Belgium National and La Scala philharmonic orchestras; the Royal Philharmonic and Mariinsky symphony orchestras; Camerata Salzburg; conductors Valery Gergiev, Pinchas Zukerman, George Pehlivanian and John Axelrod; and soloists Evgeny Kissin, Maxim Vengerov, Mischa Maisky, Julian Rachlin and Sergei Nakariakov.”  Read Article



ARTICLES FORWARDED BY EVGENY KISSIN ON 05.03.15


In just a few words, Mr. Netanyahu managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel, but to other U.S. allies in the region. (Al-Arabiya)   Link


By Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English


and ... Arab Media Praises Netanyahu After Congress Speech     Link


A SHATTERED PALESTINIAN SOCIETY:  Interview with Bassem Eid


by Fred Maroun February 25, 2015

Bassem Eid founded the Palestinian Human rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG). (PHRMG later lost funding because its sponsors were uncomfortable with his criticism of the PA.)


Please Click HERE to Read Full Interview, also HERE


(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 26.02.15)

 

THE ARABS WHO SUPPORT ISRAEL - AND WHY

By Fred Maroun

(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 02.02.15)

 

I am an Arab who openly supports Israel, but I am only one among many. The war on Israel is actually a war on Jews, an attempt to deny Jewish history and to extinguish the Jewish national identity. In this blog, I talk about that war, about the Arabs used as pawns, and about the Arabs who see through the anti-Zionist rhetoric and who are not afraid to speak up.

The antisemitic coalition has been very successful at manipulating Arabs to work against their own best interests, but they cannot manipulate us all. Despite the stigma attached to supporting Israel, many Arabs have become dissidents and have chosen to openly support Israel, sometimes at a high personal risk. The reason for this support is clear to me: we do not hate Jews, and we support Israel’s right to exist.

I make no secret of my support for Israel, but many other Arabs also publicly support Israel, including: Abdel Bioud, Abdullah Saad Al-Hadlaq, Aboud Dandachi, Ahmed Meligy, Anet Haskia, Bassem Eid, Brigitte Gabriel, Bouhaddou Jamal, Christy Anastas, Father Gabriel Naddaf, George Deek, Hasan Afzal, Hussein Aboubakr, Ismail Khald, John Calvin, Jonathan El-Khoury, Joseph Farah, Joujou, Khaled Abu Toameh, Lucy Aharish, Maajid Nawaz, Mahdi Majid Abdallah, Maikel Nabil Sanad, Mithal al-Alusi, Mohammad Zoabi, Mohammed Dajani Daoudi, Mossab Hassan Yousef, Mudar Zahran, Nonie Darwish, Orim Shimshon, Robert Werdine, Sheikh Ahmad al-Adwan, Tawfik Hamid, Wafa Sultan, and Walid Shoebat.

There are also a number of non-Arabs Muslims or former Muslims who openly support Israel, including: Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Abdurrahman Wahid, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ed Husain, Irshad Manji, Kasim Hafeez, Khaleel Mohammed, Mohammed Mostafa Kamal, Muhammad Al-Hussaini, Naveed Anjum, Qanta Ahmed, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, Salim Mansur, Sinem Tezyapar, and Tarek Fatah.

In addition to these Arabs and Muslims, many others want normalized relations with Israel and a peaceful Middle East. Despite what antisemites and too often the mainstream media would like you to believe, Arabs are not all violent radicals who hate Israel. Such a distorted image benefits the antisemitic coalition, but it does not represent the nuanced reality of the hundreds of millions of Arabs across the world.   Link



NEW CD :: FORWARDED BY EVGENY KISSIN WHO PARTICIPATED BY TRANSLATING ONE OF THE RUSSIAN SONGS INTO YIDDISH


Click on Pic to Buy CD


New songs by singer/composer Rita Koyfman as well as several songs by famous Russian composers Isaak Dunayevsky and Nikita Bogoslovsky.


The lyrics were written by Boris Sandler. Evgeny Kissin also participated in the project and translated one of the Russian songs into Yiddish.

The link to the site: yiddishzinglid.com where you can buy this CD.


PIANIST EVGENY KISSIN AIMS TO COMMUNICATE LOVE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC

By James C. Taylor | March 22, 2014


Click on Pic



GRAMMY-WINNING PIANIST TO PERFORM AT GENESIS PRIZE CEREMONY IN JERUSALEM

11.03.2014


NEW YORK – Grammy award-winning pianist Evgeny Kissin, a new Israeli citizen as of late last year, will be the featured musical performer at a star-studded event when former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is honored at the inaugural Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem this May.


"Like Mayor Bloomberg, Evgeny Kissin is an exceptional individual whose values and achievements will inspire the next generation of Jews," said Stan Polovets, Chairman of the Board of the Genesis Prize Foundation. "We are thrilled to have him join us for this momentous occasion."


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present Michael Bloomberg with the award, which is endowed by Genesis Philanthropy Group and awarded annually in partnership with the prime minister's office and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel and Chairman of the Selection Committee of the Genesis Prize, added, "I am confident that the combination of Mayor Bloomberg's leadership and philanthropy, Evgeny's unabashed Jewishness and proud identification with Israel, and the Prime Minister's honored presence will make this a festive and historic celebration of Jewish identity and values here in Jerusalem."

Added Kissin, "The opportunity to perform in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish State and the spiritual center of our people, as part of a commemoration honoring a global commitment to Jewish values will help realize my dream of ensuring that future Jewish generations enjoy the same, inspiring connection to their Jewish roots and culture as I have been exceedingly fortunate to enjoy. I am excited to come to Israel to be a part of this important initiative."

The evening will highlight Kissin and feature Israel's beloved national singer Rita, the outstanding Tararam dance group, iconic actress and comedian Hanah Laszlo and the acclaimed Raanana Symphonette Orchestra.

Evgeny Kissin is in the midst of a successful U.S. tour with performances in New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Kissin, 42, was born in Moscow to a Russian Jewish family, and became an Israeli citizen in December 2013. Kissin is also known for his Yiddish and Russian poetry readings, with which he thrilled a Kennedy Center audience in Washington, D.C., last month.

The Genesis Prize



KISSIN SHOWS TASTE AND MASTERY IN SCHUBERT AND SCRIABIN
Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 3:31 pm
By Lawrence A. Johnson


Schubert’s final three piano sonatas have become favorites of musicians, their bleak existential angst seemingly irresistible for our postmodern age.


The problem is that the popularity of these works (D.958-960) has become so dominant that Schubert’s earlier sonatas have tended to get somewhat pushed into the background.

In his recital Sunday afternoon at Symphony Center, Evgeny Kissin performed a rescue mission of sorts, devoting the entire first half of his program to Schubert’s Sonata in D major, D.850.

Chicagao Classical Review



EVGENY KISSIN PLAYS FORGOTTEN COMPOSERS AND DECLAIMS POETRY IN STUNNING PERFORMANCE
By Anne Midgette, Published: February 25


One of the points of attending a live performance is to watch artists express themselves. Yet the concert hall experience has become codified in traditions that affect everything from how we dress to what we see onstage. Many artists have challenged these traditions, and to them, we tend to assign labels such as “experimental” or “avant-garde.”

But it almost never happens that a superstar gets up in his established context and does something completely different, without intending any challenge to the status quo at all, but simply to express something that is in his heart.

Evgeny Kissin, the pianist, did this — breathtakingly — at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Monday night  .  .  .  cont'd

REAL PEACE WITH THE JEWS
by Bassam Tawil

(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 03.04.2014)


For us as Muslims, the word "Israel" and our recognition of it and its inhabitants as "Israelis" mean we verify and confirm the fulfillment of the Qur'an prophecy according to which the blessed land is the divine heritage of "Bani Israail," "the Israelites." That means we give Israel Islamic religious sanction with the full weight of Qur'anic blessing.    Link



KISSIN CHARTS THE ROMANTIC ERA'S DAWN AND TWILIGHT WITH EQUAL MASTERY
March 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm
By Sophia Vastek


Pianist Evgeny Kissin is known for his vibrant and technically flawless interpretations of the Romantic literature, particularly Liszt, but Monday night at Carnegie Hall he offered a slightly different angle. Kissin began with a late Schubert sonata to mark the beginning of Romanticism, and then circled around for the second half of the recital with early Scriabin to mark the period’s ebb. Remarkably, and perhaps a bit surprisingly, both styles on the two halves of the program were equally stunning and perfectly suited to the pianist’s ever-widening intellectual grasp . . . cont'd


"PIANO PORTRAIT" EVGENY KISSIN TALKS ABOUT HIS LOVE OF BOTH POETRY AND MUSIC


MUSLIM WOMAN, AYAAN HIRSI ALI ON THE ISRAEL-HAMAS CONFLICT


(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 18.08.14)


NZ MAORI WOMAN STANDS BY ISRAEL


(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 12.08.14)


AN ARAB ISRAELI WITH A MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD


(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 09.08.14)

 

DIRECT FROM THE FACEBOOK PAGE OF MOHAMMAD ZOABI:


As an Israeli Muslim Arab, I was subjugated to brainwashing against the Jews while i was growing up. I was taught that we should hate them because they took our land, and that no Jewish person should be living here. I was told by a few of my own family members that the Jews were planning to throw us into the sea and until that happened I would be suffering in Israel because I was an Arab.

I decided to explore the situation on my own, I went out and started meeting new people, I met a lot of Jews… What struck me at first is that they didn’t hate me like I was taught to hate them, but rather I felt care, respect, love, and a want to co-exist.


I began to realize how lucky I was to be born in Israel, to live in a free, democratic, and first world country with lots of opportunities.

Its not easy to be an Israeli Arab Zionist in an Arab Society. I was attacked physically several times, and insulted a lot.


But with the support of my amazing mother and my friends in the only country in the entire Middle East where freedom of speech is allowed, I will continue to speak out for what is right. I know that there are other many other Israeli Arabs that feel the same because almost 90% of us said that they would rather remain an Israeli than become a Palestinian citizen, but they are afraid of being hurt. That is why I am asking the world to please listen and protect the truth about Israel.


The world needs to wake up.

I see myself as a lucky Arab for being born in Israel.  I am lucky to be born in a democratic country like Israel.  I have an opportunity to live as an equal human being who lives in the 21st century.


Though, anti Israel still accuse Israel for being an aparthiehd state, ignoring the true apartheid of the Arab world’s views against the Jews and Zionists like myself of Israel. All these talks of peace will only come true when the Arabs will stop educating their children to dream about killing and eliminating the Jews.


Peace with will be achieved only when the arabs will start loving their children more than they hate us.


World wake up. Shame on you for being anti hope, democracy, and freedom in the middle east. Shame on you, to be anti Israel.

Am Yisrael chai

SAUDI ADMIRAL (RET.) WRITER, AND COLUMNIST:  ELIMINATING ISRAEL IS UNREALISTIC;  ABANDONING VIOLENCE AND NEGOTIATING WITH ISRAEL IS THE ONLY SOLUTION

(Forwrded  by Evgeny Kissin 01.08.14)

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WHY DIDN'T HAMMAS BUILD BOMB SHELTERS

(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 22.07.14)


Abdulateef Al-Mulhim

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THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT

(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 17 July 2014)

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Palestinian 5th Column - Ahmed Al-Jarallah


Hamas continues to trade in the blood of the innocent people in Gaza and it has rejected calls for a cease-fire. Do they think they will be able to defeat Israel with their primitive weapons? Whether we like it or not, Israel is there. No solution will go through without Israel being part of it.  Therefore, it is up to the Palestinians to get rid of their illusions and sincerely try to contemplate the benefits brought forth by Egypt's [cease-fire] initiative. (Arab Times-Kuwait)

What Is Hamas Trying to Achieve? - Dr. Azeem Ibrahim


Hamas is playing a cynical game by firing completely useless and militarily insignificant rockets into Israel. The purpose of these wanton attacks, that cannot hope to penetrate Israel's Iron Dome, cannot reasonably be other than to provoke Israeli retaliation. Their hope is that this will lead to significant sympathy around the Muslim world that might rescue Hamas financially. (Al Arabiya)

Where Are Gaza's Bomb Shelters? - Abdulateef al-Mulhim


Why was Hamas successful in spreading a sophisticated network of tunnels and failed to build simple bomb shelters if they knew there would be armed conflicts? If Hamas really wanted an armed conflict, then they should have at least built some bomb shelters for the poor innocent Palestinians. Most of them don't want this armed conflict. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)



CZECH PRESIDENT MILOS ZEMAN'S SPEECH ON ISLAM, ISRAEL AND ANTI-SEMITISM AT THE RECEPTION HELD TO CELEBRATE ISRAEL'S INDEPENDENCE DAY

May 26, 2014

(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 08.06.2014)


Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me thank you for the invitation to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day. There are dozens of days of independence being celebrated every year in the Czech Republic. Some I may attend, others I cannot. There is one I can never miss, however: it’s the Israeli Independence Day.

There are states with whom we share the same values, such as the political horizon of free elections or a free market economy. However, no one threatens these states with wiping them off the map. No one fires at their border towns; no one wishes that their citizens would leave their country. There is a term, political correctness. This term I consider to be a euphemism for political cowardice. Therefore, let me not be cowardly.

It is necessary to clearly name the enemy of human civilisation. It is international terrorism linked to religious fundamentalism and religious hatred. As we may have noticed after 11th of September, this fanaticism has not been focused on one state exclusively. Muslim fanatics recently kidnapped 200 young Christian girls in Nigeria. There was a hideous assassination in the flower of Europe in the heart of European Union in a Jewish museum in Brussels. I will not let myself be calmed down by the declaration that there are only tiny fringe groups behind it. On the contrary, I am convinced that this xenophobia, and let’s call it racism or anti-Semitism, emerges from the very essence of the ideology these groups subscribe to.


So let me quote one of their sacred texts to support this statement: “A tree says, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. A stone says, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” I would criticize those calling for the killing of Arabs, but I do not know of any movement calling for mass murdering of Arabs. However, I know of one anti-civilisation movement calling for the mass murder of Jews.

After all, one of the paragraphs of the statutes of Hamas says: “Kill every Jew you see.” Do we really want to pretend that this is an extreme viewpoint? Do we really want to be politically correct and say that everyone is nice and only a small group of extremists and fundamentalists is committing such crimes?

Michel de Montaigne, one of my favourite essayists, once wrote: “It is gruesome to assume that it must be good that comes after evil. A different evil may come.” It started with the Arab Spring which turned into an Arab winter, and a fight against secular dictatorships turned into fights led by Al-Qaeda. Let us throw away political correctness and call things by their true names. Yes, we have friends in the world, friends with whom we show solidarity. This solidarity costs us nothing, because these friends are not put into danger by anyone.

The real meaning of solidarity is a solidarity with a friend who is in a trouble and in danger, and this is why I am here.

— Miloš Zeman, president of Czech republic, Hilton Hotel, 26th of May 2014  :: Link



EVGENY KISSIN : MY ONLY CRITERION IS LOVE


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PIANIST KISSIN IN COMMANDING FORM IN SCHUBERT-SCRIABIN RECITAL
John von Rhein
12:04 p.m. CST, March 3, 2014

The recital program given by Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin Sunday afternoon at Orchestra Hall added dimension to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's present cycle of the Schubert symphonies under Riccardo Muti. At the same time, it provided valuable insights into the keyboard music of Alexander Scriabin, whose mystical symphonies Muti and the orchestra will be exploring next season  .  .  .
 cont'd



CONCERTO TO ISRAEL

Evgeny Kissin, the 42-year-old prodigy pianist, rarely gives interviews.  But there is a subject that compelled him to talk to the media -- Israel, and the manner in which it is treated in the Western world.   Last month, Kissin became an Israeli citizen . . . 

by Amit Lewinthal    cont'd


SYRIAN REBEL WANTS A NEW ALLY : ISRAEL TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT AND TO DEFEAT THE ASSAD DICTATORSHIP, SYRIANS SHOULD WORK WITH ISRAEL TO CREATE A SAFE HAVEN

(Forwarded by Evgeny Kissin 13.05.14)


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