Maestros of the Violin and Piano • Winter 2023 Concert Artist Interview

February 12, 2023

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The distinguished Russian-American violin and piano duo featuring award winning violinist Philip Vaiman and internationally acclaimed pianist Mikhail Korzhev will be bringing their fantastic curated program to The Athena Foundation for the Arts Winter 2023 Concert series. I’d like to take a moment to introduce you, my dear readers, to these fine musicians.

Philip Vaiman is interviewed for The Athena Foundation for the Arts blog.

Philip Vaiman

The professional career of violinist Philip Vaiman has taken him to concert halls around the globe, premier recording studios and international festivals in Europe, America, and Asia. Recipient of many prizes and awards, Mr. Vaiman has been a Grammy Voting Member at the Recording Academy since 2018. By the time he graduated from the renowned Gnesin Academy of Music, Philip had performed as a soloist and chamber musician in England, Israel, Russia, and Cyprus. Mr. Vaiman continued his education at the University of Southern California, graduating Cum Laude with a Master’s Degree in Music. Philip Vaiman’s recordings are featured on the soundtracks of award-winning motion pictures, documentaries, and commercials. He has recorded and performed with a diverse roster of artists including Aretha Franklin, Sting, Taylor Swift, Tony Bennett and Pharrell Williams just to name a few. Mr.Vaiman stays active as a recording artist and concert violinist.

Mikhail Korzhev is interviewed for The Athena Foundation for the Arts blog

Mikhail Korzhev

Mikhail Korzhev, a pianist that “projects strength, atmosphere and the ability to tangle even the knottiest passages…” (International Record Review) is equally active as a solo recitalist, a performer with various chamber groups, a soloist with orchestras, and as a recording artist. His latest CD recordings, the two volumes of a Complete Piano Concertos by Ernst Krenek in collaboration with English Symphony Orchestra and Kenneth Woods were released by Toccata Classics in 2016 and 2017 to enthusiastic reviews in Gramophone, Diapason and other publications, made it to the “want list” of Fanfare magazine, became one of “10 Best Contemporary Records of the Year” by The Times (London), and in December 2017 made it to the list of “Top 10 Best Classical Records of the Year” by Forbes magazine. In September 2017 Korzhev became a recipient of a prestigious Anassilaos Prize, the annual award for the achievements in Arts and Sciences given by the local government of the province of Calabria (Italy). Korzhev’s discography also includes three CD recordings featuring compositions for solo piano and chamber works by a prominent English composer Gerard Schurmann (in collaboration with Alyssa Park and the Lyris String Quartet) and a compilation of 40 classical standards for the online music library

LRW: Philip and Mikhail, it is such an honor to make your acquaintance and have you perform in The Athena Foundation for the Arts 2023 Winter concert series.

Philip, I first heard you play at a Palos Verdes Music Salon home concert last year. Your performances with accomplished Cuban guitarist Laura Mazon Franqui was riveting. Before we learn more about your duo with Mikhail Korzhev, may I briefly ask, how did you and Ms. Franqui happen to meet and collaborate?

PV: Thank you very much, Linda! I met Laura about a year and a half ago through a mutual friend, as I was looking for a guitarist to play Piazzolla’s Histoire du Tango. From our first meeting and a rehearsal it was obvious that we speak the same musical language, and our collaboration began. We performed two concerts together, are looking into making a music video this spring and will be performing together in May. Also, I am very much looking forward to our joint concert with Laura for The Athena Foundation for the Arts in September of this year.

LRW: My pleasure, Philip! How nice to have made that connection. We’re looking forward to your and Laura’s duo in September 2023 as well. And now back to your duo. Mikhail, may I ask how you and Philip met?

MK: Philip and I met back in the nineties, when we were both students at USC Thornton School of Music.

LRW: Nice. How did your duo concept come about? Details, please.

PV: If I may start, a few months ago, I was presented with a wonderful arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s Seasons transcribed for violin and piano by Malou Rogers, who arranged it specifically for me. As I was thinking about a pianist to work with on this project, I immediately thought of Mikhail. As he mentioned, we go way back having studied together at USC, and he was someone who I have wanted to collaborate with for a long time.

MK: Yes, a few months ago Philip suggested that we try these new Piazzolla arrangements. So, we gradually built a whole program by adding more pieces to them.

Mikhail Korzhev and Philip Vaiman perform at the MiMoDa Studio as mentioned in a blog interview with The Athena Foundation for the Arts.

Philip Vaiman and Mikhail Korzhev MiMoDa Studio

LRW: Sounds like perfect timing. Very cool to have had that arrangement created specifically for you, Philip. I love Piazzolla’s Seasons. Interesting to learn that an entire program has been built around this beautiful work. So from this foundation, for your upcoming Athena program, may I ask how you decided on the pieces curated for the concert? Why these composers? Why now?

PV: We curated this program with Piazzolla as a natural culmination, featuring music of the late Romantic period, showcasing some lesser known and played works by amazing composers, like Ernst Krenek and Eugène Ysaÿe among other selections. The music of the late Romantic period really speaks to me as it conveys the same ideas and feelings as the music of Johannes Brahms and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky but with the modern language and expression.

LRW: Music of the late Romantic period speaks to me as well, Philip. I like to champion the lesser known composers, especially those whose music honors the Romantic period. I’m also a fan of Rachmaninov and am delighted to see works of his included in your program. Was there a little more story behind including him?

MK: Yes, I decided to include the works of Sergei Rachmaninov in our program because the concert date is very close to the 150th anniversary of Sergei Rachmaninov’s birth (4/1/1873) and 80th anniversary of his death (3/28/1943). He lived the last few years of his life and died in Beverly Hills, so in a way he could be considered a “local” composer – one more reason to commemorate him in our concert.

LRW: Ah, perfect timing! I knew Rachmaninov was a “local” in his later years. My readers will no doubt be delighted to learn this. Such a gorgeous program!! May I ask, do you have plans to record your stunning duos and solos?

PV: Yes, that idea is certainly in the air!

MK: Possibly yes – we shall see 🙂

LRW: Well, if you do decide to record, I would be honored to blog about its release. Before we go, do each of you happen to have a favorite quote by a composer or musician that you’d like to share with my readers?

PV: Where words fail, music speaks. ~ Hans Christian Andersen Share on X

Hans Christian Andersen was quoted in a blog interview by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.

Hans Christian Andersen

MK: Without music, life would be a mistake. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche Share on X

Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted in a blog by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.

Friedrich Nietzsche

LRW: Thank you both for the inspo! We’re excited to experience your concert with the imagery and lighting you are selecting to accompany each exquisite piece. It will be a musical and visual feast for the senses.

To learn more about these phenomenal musicians, please enjoy visiting their websites and social media platforms.

Philip Vaiman, Violinist

Mikhail Korzhev, Pianist

Eager to attend? Please see below.


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Check-in: 3:15 PM
Concert: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM PDT
Refreshments afterwards

Community Auditorium
Church of Scn of the Valley
11455 Burbank Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 91601
•This concert is hosted exclusively by The Athena Foundation for the Arts.
•It is not a church event.
•The Community Auditorium is made available for rent to nonprofits and other 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

Purchase tickets on Eventbrite here or scan the QR code at the door. Cash or Credit card payments by Zettle/Paypal also available. Questions? Please feel free to email us. Looking forward to an inspiring concert!
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  1. Barry Wehrli

    Thanks for the background, looking forward to hearing and meeting these great artists at the March 19 concert 🎶

    • Linda Wehrli

      My pleasure! I look forward to making introductions 😀

  2. Phyllis

    Fascinating background information for these two very talented artists.

    • Linda Wehrli

      Glad you liked!


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