Nikolay Khozyainov to make Wigmore Hall debut in May 2014

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A prestigious Wigmore Hall debut recital beckons for Nikolay Khozyainov, part of his prize as winner of the 2012 Dublin International Piano Competition. The outstanding young Russian has chosen a compelling programme of works by Chopin, Ravel and Rachmaninov for the concert, which is scheduled for Tuesday 13 May 2014. Earlier this year he gave a nine-concert tour of Ireland and made his debut at Carnegie Hall, which were also presented under the aegis of the triennial Dublin event. “I am delighted to be playing at Wigmore Hall, thanks to the Dublin International Piano Competition,” he notes. “They take such good care of their winners and are very attentive. John O’Conor, the Competition’s Artistic Director, has been so helpful and encouraging to me. It is a great honour to receive his advice.”

Khozyainov is adamant that his approach to performance is the same regardless of whether the occasion is a competition, recording or public recital. “Whenever I play, I express what I am feeling and thinking about the music and give all of my heart to the audience. I aim to be myself and always try to be completely honest. Every composer speaks as if they were addressing their god and, when recreating their works, we performers should seek to find that voice. The audience can sense this honesty. I am looking forward to sharing my interpretation of these great works by Chopin, Ravel and Rachmaninov with the audience at Wigmore Hall next May.”

The first half of Khozyainov’s Wigmore Hall programme will be devoted to works by Chopin. His recital opens with the Barcarolle in F-sharp major Op.60 (1845-6), among the last pieces its composer played in public. ‘The Barcarolle,’ wrote Maurice Ravel, ‘is the synthesis of the expressive and sumptuous art of this great Slav.’ The composition’s elaborate passagework and harmonic contrasts transcend the nature of its ‘boat song’ title to reach heights of expression rarely touched by other composers. Khozyainov turns next to the Berceuse in D-flat major Op.57, a set of variations on a delightfully simple lullaby, before engaging with the technical complexities and spiritual essence of Chopin’s twelve Études Op.10.

“Chopin, I believe, presents his soul to us through his music,” observes Nikolay Khozyainov. “For me, there are no superficial emotions in Chopin’s music. His works have such an intensity, such a gigantic strength of feeling and thought. I believe that every art form is connected and that a painting, a work of literature or a great opera can reveal something about how we interpret Chopin’s Études, for instance. This is why for me every performance is different, influenced perhaps by impressions formed after seeing an art exhibition, listening to opera or reading poetry. And this is why the best education is self-education!”

Khozyainov opens his recital’s second half with the original solo piano version of Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte, a rich miniature created during its composer’s student years, and Rachmaninov’s three-movement Piano Sonata No.1 in D minor Op.28 from 1908. “These works are very dear to me,” the pianist says. “Each piece allows the performer to connect with deep feelings, emotions and thoughts and present these to the audience. That is what allows music to come to life with such intensity in the moment of performance.”

Ann Fuller,administrator of the Dublin International Piano Competition since its creation in 1988, praises the eloquence, concentration and sense of flow about Nikolay Khozyainov’s artistry. “He is a spellbinding young performer, blessed with extraordinary sensitivity and real insight. Our competition is about helping artists like Nikolay to build their careers, which is why we invest in the long-term development of our winners. The concerts we arrange for our prize-winners, at such prestigious venues as Wigmore Hall, give fine young pianists a chance to show what they can do. Nikolay has created the ideal programme for his Wigmore Hall debut, so we know that he will offer something very special to his first London audience.”

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Wigmore Hall, 7.30pm

Chopin - Barcarolle F Sharp Major, Berceuse D flat major, 12 Etudes op. 10

Ravel - Pavane pour une infante défunte

Rachmaninov  Sonata n.1 D minor