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September 24, 2014…

There was an audible gasp from the audience of approximately 800 at the Salle Andre-Mathiew concert hall in beautiful Laval Quebec as 15 year old concert pianist Anastasia Rizikov – with her long copper-red hair, alabaster complexion and beautiful red gown took to the stage.

It had been suggested by certain critics days before the performance that the brilliant conductor of the L’Orchestre Symphonique de Laval, Alain Trudel, may have been “overly ambitious” in choosing so young a soloist in attempting such a monumental piece of music. (Very seasoned performers have been said to become so shaken at the prospect of attempting the Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Opus 30 as to become physically ill; and conductors usually select only the most tried and true solo artists for the work – fearful of otherwise inviting disaster). This would be Miss Rizikov’s first playing of the work with orchestra.

There would be no worries. The music flowed, with a very few timing differences between artist and orchestra, in what was, for Miss Rizikov, a pyrotechnically emotional and technically brilliant performance. The interplay between conductor Trudel, Miss Rizikov, and the orchestra, was a pleasure to behold.

The Rach. 3, as it is lovingly known, requires the soloist to lay bare his/her soul. There can be no holding back – no equivocating. It is a most hauntingly beautiful work, and is a mine field of traps for both soloist and orchestra. In this collaboration, however, everything blended together. Of such is great music made.

The audience awarded Miss Rizikov and the orchestra a spontaneous standing ovation lasting some four minutes, along with three curtain calls for Miss Rizikov.

Alvin Williams
Co-founder director
Classical Pianists of the Future