Solzhenitsyn, Kobrin highlight MMF orchestral concert

MANCHESTER — Two powerful pieces of music and two acclaimed performers will be featured at Manchester Music Festival's Orchestral Experience, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3 at SVAC's Arkell Pavilion.

Conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the son of Nobel Prize winner and Vermont resident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, will lead the MMF in performances of Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony No. 3 and Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, with Alexander Kobrin as soloist. Kobrin is the 2005 gold medal winner of the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Solzhenitsyn was raised in Vermont when his father moved himself and his family from Russia in the 1970s. Of his return to the state, Ignat said in a news release that "it's a wonderful and dear place that I love to share with people who also celebrate its beauty."

While the Eroica is familiar in the classical canon, Solzhenitsyn describes it as a "shocking and mesmerizing" piece of music, according to the release.

The Brahms piano concerto is no less ambitious, Solzhenitsyn said, according to the release.

"Brahms only wrote four concertos, but they are all symphonic," he said. "At the time, concertos were a chance to show off for a soloist and wow the public. In these cases, what tended to be sacrificed was the work of the other orchestra parts and in their supportive role they were not terribly impressive. Brahms turned this on its head and made the orchestra and soloist equal protagonists. In this piano concerto, the piano writing is virtuosic and alongside the orchestra it creates a piece where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts."

MMF artistic director Adam Neiman said he was excited to welcome the two musicians.

"Alexander Kobrin is a powerful and dynamic pianist who will undoubtedly imbue his performance of the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with poignancy and impressive virtuosic power; we are extremely fortunate to have him join Maestro Solzhenitsyn for this exciting evening," Neiman said.

And of Solzhenitsyn, Neiman said, "He is one of the world's great musicians and brings with him a tremendous amount of experience and wisdom. I think our audience will be blown away by his electric musicianship in this remarkable program."

Tickets are $45 for adults and can be purchased online at, by calling 802-362-1956, and at the Southern Vermont Arts Center Arkell Pavilion box office.


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