Interview with Piano Maestro Mikhail Korzhev

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Mikhail Korzhev, Internationally acclaimed Russian Pianist, is coming to NoHo! He will be sparking the stage for The Athena Foundation for the Arts on May 19, 2024. This outstanding pianist has curated a unique program taking you on an exciting musical tour of Austria, Germany and Russia by means of a sparkling Franz Schubert Sonata, mesmerizing Robert Schumann Fantasies and a powerful Toccata, intriguing Ernst Krenek Variations and passionate Sergei Rachmaninoff Songs plus a favorite Piano Sonata. Curated imagery and lighting express Mikhail Korzhev’s unique vision, creating an immersive experience. Goosebumps!

For those who don’t know, Mikhail Korzhev is a solo recitalist, a performer with notable chamber groups including the Lyris Quartet and with members of the Russian National Orchestra, and members of St. Petersburg and Tokyo String Quartets, among others, a soloist with orchestras, and a recording artist.

Korzhev combines his performing and scholarly activities with teaching. He has served on the faculties of the Beverly Hills and Napa Valley music festivals, and he is currently on the faculty of Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music at Chapman University, an adjunct lecturer at USC Thornton School of Music and an accompanist at California State University, Fullerton‘s School of Music.

Mikhail Korzhev is interviewed about his May 19, 2024 concert with The Athena Foundation for the Arts.

Before each concert, we like to break the ice and introduce our guest musicians. It’s an honor to present to you piano maestro, Mikhail Korzhev!

LRW: Professor Korzhev, we’re so excited to have you perform in our 2024 Spring concert series. May I ask what was the inspiration behind your curated program? Why these pieces? Why these composers? Why now?

MK: The first half of the program is dedicated to the composers of the grande Austrian/German tradition: Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann and Ernst Krenek. I think that the composers of that tradition developed the musical language that has a truly universal appeal and it resonates well with most diverse audiences.

LRW: Indeed. These are monumental works. What about the second half of the program?

MK: For the second half, I selected the works of Sergei Rachmaninoff whose musical idiom is very different, yet I also have a lot of affinity for his musical style. Besides, two of the composers on the program, Rachmaninoff and Krenek ended up living in Los Angeles, so in a way they might be considered somewhat “local”, and I think my program choice could also be considered my way to be supportive of “local talents” (just kidding 🙂 )

Mikhail Korzhev will be performing works by Sergei Rachmaninoff at his May 19, 2024 concert for The Athena Foundation for th Arts.

Sergei Rachmaninoff

LRW: Haha! Love that. I am a huge fan of Rachmaninoff, especially his profoundly moving piano solo works. Can’t wait to hear these pieces brought to life with your piano prowess. I knew Rachmaninoff had resided in Los Angeles, but didn’t know Krenek did as well. Proud to consider them as locals! I endorse your supporting “local talents”! Can you hint at the imagery you’ve curated for your pieces and the stories behind them? I believe you’re including some paintings by our mutually favorite painter, Alexey Steele?

MK: For the first half of my program I’ve selected several paintings by the remarkable local artist Alexey Steele. Although these are Californian landscapes, I find their vivid colors and spaciousness to resonate well with the works I am performing.

Works by Alexey Steele have been curated by Mikhail Korzhev for his May 19, 2024 concert with The Athena Foundation for the Arts.

Alexey Steele

LRW: I’m such a huge fan of Alexey Steele and his gorgeous artwork. To see it projected on the large screen enables us to see his magnificent brush strokes. Super excited to see the imagery paired with your beautiful playing. May I ask, have you recorded any of the pieces you will be performing? If so, where may my readers purchase your albums?

MK: I recorded “George Washington Variations” along with other solo works of Ernst Krenek several years ago for the European label “Capriccio/Phoenix Edition”. They are available on Amazon.com. I’m pleased to provide the links:
Ernst Krenek: Early Piano Works
Ernst Krenek: Piano Sonatas No. 2 & 4, George Washington Variations, Echoes from Austria
Ernst Krenek: Complete Piano Concertos Volume 1
Ernst Krenek: Complete Piano Concertos Volume 2

 

Here is a video recording of my performance of Krenek’s “George Washington Variations” on YouTube.

LRW: Wow! Very nice. I encourage our readers to check out your CD and YouTube video. Do you have a favorite quote by a composer or musician that you’d like to share with our readers?

MK: Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable. ~ Leonard Bernstein Share on X

LRW: Ah, so true. Thank you so much for your generous time revealing the stories behind your upcoming Athena program. We’re very excited for your concert.

To learn more about this piano maestro, please visit his website and social media platforms.

Mikhail Korzhev
Website
YouTube
Facebook
Instagram

CONCERT DETAILS:

Program Link

Date
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Time
Doors Open: 3:15 PM
Concert: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM PDT
Delicious Complimentary Refreshments

Place
Community Auditorium
Church of Scn of the Valley
11455 Burbank Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 91601
•The concert is hosted exclusively by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.
•It is Not a church event.
•The Community Auditorium is rented to nonprofits and charitable organizations.
• If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us. Thank you.

FREE Parking: Farmdale Avenue lot and street parking

Tickets
Purchase tickets on Eventbrite here or scan the QR code at the door. Cash or Credit card payments also available.
Questions? Please feel free to email us. Hope you can join us!

. . . . . . . . . .
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6 Comments

  1. Carol Worthey Korns

    A charming and informative interview to whet the appetite for a enriching concert experience — I will be there, eager to hear this program of musical treasures! I have had the pleasure of hearing Korzhev perform the beautiful (and surprisingly accessible) early works of Ernst Krenek — his CD is in my collection. I can’t wait to hear this Maestro perform the gorgeous (demanding but always pianistic) works of Schubert and Schumann, and I’m sure he will have the whole hall aglow with Rachmaninoff! The paintings by Alexey Steele will be a new experience for me and I look forward to seeing the “meld” between art and music! Every concert I’ve attended in the Athena Foundation concert series has been extraordinary! I encourage music lovers to come experience something really Special! — Carol Worthey

    Reply
    • Linda Wehrli

      Thank you for the lovely comments! So glad you’ll be joining us for this remarkable program of fine art and fine music. Food for the soul!

      Reply
  2. Barry Wehrli

    Mikhail’s playing is so artistic and commanding. I’m really looking forward to the May 19 concert and learning more about Krenek! 🎶

    Reply
    • Linda Wehrli

      Well stated. So glad you’ll be able to attend.

      Reply
  3. Phyllis Pelteson

    A great dramatic performance.

    Reply
    • Linda Wehrli

      Agreed! Thanks for the lovely comment.

      Reply

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