The Fernando Laires Piano Series presents Sandro Russo on Friday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m., in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music. The first part of the program is all Chopin: Three Mazurkas, Op. 56; Berceuse in D flat, Op. 57; Barcarolle in F-sharp major, Op. 60; and the Polonaise-Fantasie, Op. 61. After intermission, Russo will play Scriabin’s Sonata No. 10, Op. 70, and arrangements of Debussy’s Prélude à l’aprés-midi d’un faune and “Fetes” from Nocturnes, and Ravel’s La Valse.
Acclaimed for his profound send of poetry and distinctive style, Sandro Russo has been in demand as a soloist in many venues around the world. With his playing often referred to as a throwback to the grand tradition of elegant pianism and beautiful sound, Mr. Russo unanimously receives accolades for his sparkling virtuosity. Abbey Simon has praised him as “an artist to his fingertips… musical, intuitive, and a master of the instrument.” Lowell Liebermann has called him “a musician’s musician, and a pianist’s pianist. There is no technical challenge too great for him, but it is his musicianship that ultimately makes the greatest impression. His interpretations reveal a unique and profound artist at work.”
Born in San Giovanni Gemini, Italy, Mr. Russo graduated summa cum laude from the V. Bellini Conservatory in 1995 and earned the Piano Performing Diploma from the Royal College of Music in London with honors. While still a student, he won top prize awards in numerous national and international competitions, including Senigallia and the Ibla Grand Prize, during which he performed in some of the country’s most reputable concert halls.
After moving to the United States in 2000, Mr. Russo gained attention for an extensive repertoire that is comprised not only of well-known masterpieces from all periods, but of rarities of the piano literature as well. Soon after his arrival here, Mr. Russo won the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, which led to a performance of the Liszt A major Concerto at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey. He has premiered compositions by Lowell Liebermann, Paul Moravec, and Marc-André Hamelin, and his virtuoso performances of works by Cziffra, Sorabji, Hamelin, and other composer-pianists have enthralled music lovers from around the world.
Mr. Russo has performed in prestigious concert halls such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Konzerthaus in Berlin, Weill and Zankel halls at Carnegie Hall, Salle Cortot in Paris, and Teatro Politeama in Palerma. He has also appeared as a soloist with world renowned ensembles including the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava, The Jacksonville Symphony in Florida, and The Brussels Chamber Orchestra at the opening gala of The Music Festival of the Hamptons in 2008. Invited by Bechstein-America to record a DVD on the historical 1862 Bechstein piano (#576) owned by Franz Liszt, Mr. Russo has also recorded the DVD, “Sandro Russo Plays the Steinway CD-75 Horowitz Piano,” representing the first recording on the legendary instrument after Horowitz’s death. Mr. Russo’s latest recording, Rachmaninov – Solo Piano Works, was released in March of 2017 and has received great critical acclaim and has been chosen “Disc of the Month” by Italy’s The Classic Voice magazine.
Tickets for Sandro Russo are $20-36, with $10 student tickets available. Tickets can be purchased at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, 433 East Main St.; by phone (585) 274-3000; or online at http://eastmantheatre.org
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About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.
About 900 students are enrolled in Eastman’s Collegiate Division—about 550 undergraduate and 350 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 25 percent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Six alumni and three faculty members have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and numerous alumni and faculty have received Grammy Awards. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 800 concerts to the Rochester community.