Alexi Grynyuk turns Cork on to Liszt

Aficionados of classical music will be flocking to Cork School of Music this evening where Ukrainian-born pianist, Alexei Grynyuk, will perform Liszt and Schubert pieces, under the auspices of the Cork Orchestral Society.

Kiev-born Alexei Grynyuk’s debut album, Franz Liszt, is a tribute to the composer.

Grynuk has given spellbinding performances at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival. He is constantly in demand for his “transcendental virtuosity.” He is playing Cork City for the first time, following the release of his critically-acclaimed album, Franz Liszt.

Born in Kiev, Grynuk displayed tremendous interest in music from his early childhood, and, in the style of Mozart, started giving his first concerts at the age of six. He studied at the Kiev Conservatoire, under Valery Kozlov, before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, in London, where he studied with Hamish Milne. Aged 13, he attracted attention by winning the Sergei Diaghilev All-Soviet-Union piano competition in Moscow. By then, he had already been touring Eastern Europe as a soloist, as well as performing Mozart and Chopin piano concertos with Ukrainian orchestras. Later, he won numerous awards at international piano competitions, including first prizes at the Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition, in Kiev, and the Shanghai International Piano Competition, in China.

Now, his suitcase is permanently packed, ready for the next legendary concert hall, the next country. Audiences can’t get enough of this brilliant young musician. And he doesn’t mind the constant travelling. “What brings happiness is different to everyone. For me, it is playing a piano and sharing the music with the audience I have,” he says.

When we spoke, he was heading to Berlin, followed by his debut recital in Mumbai. Then, it was back to play in his home city, for the Kiev Filharmonia Hall’s bicentenary — oh, and “a few places in Japan. Also, I will make some trips, with my trio partners, to the United States, Lithuania and some other countries.” His trio partners are Nicola Benedetti and Leonard Elschenbroich. “In fact, we came to the West Cork festival together the very first time, to play a Tchaikovsky trio. They are wonderful musicians and great chamber music partners.”

Grynuk is pleased to be back in Cork. “I am very excited to play in your city. There is a warm atmosphere, which I loved in my previous trip to West Cork.” He will have a great many new fans at tonight’s performance.

One question frequently asked of Grynuk is why he has not made more recordings. His recent debut album has been described as among the finest interpretations to date. Grynuk laughs. “I have so many plans, and, yes, recordings are very much part of that. At the moment, I would like to make a concerto recording with an orchestra, but this must be the right orchestra.”

How do you find that particular needle in a haystack? “It’s a hard question to answer, how to find simply the best conductor and orchestra for a recording. I really don’t know yet. I am, I suppose, seeking that spark of inspiration, meeting with conductors.”

Once the right combination has been found, he wants to record Russian music, possibly a Rachmaninov concerto. “I also would like to record ‘Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition’, a piece I performed a lot in the last year and became very fond of.”

- Alexei Grynyuk, Curtis Auditorium, Cork School of Music, 8pm this evening. Tickets on the door; www.corkorchestralsociety.ie.


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