After twenty months of pandemic silence, adhering to stringent precautions for Covid, and mask wearing at the Aventura Cultural Center, the Miami International Piano Festival opened the season with an unforgettable evening of musical magic under the direction of the Giselle Brodsky. She is the brilliant mastermind director, who assembled the three artists, the Miami International Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Jose Javier Mendoza, and selected a program that was a beautiful bouquet of favorites. She also enlisted Prof. Frank Cooper, who was at his best last night telling wonderful stories about the composers and their works.
The evening began with Mozart’s piano concerto number twenty-one, famous for its background music in films. After you have heard this concerto so many times, it is difficult to hear it again and have it stand out. But it did! The coloring that Pietro De Maria employed enabled the listener to hear the piece, almost for the first time, with a special newfound appreciation. His interpretation was elegant.
The Beethoven piano concerto number three played by Josu De Solaun, was not only technically precise, it was also as dramatic as Beethoven intended.
The final selection was Chopin’s piano concerto number one, written when he was only nineteen years old. Only a genius could have created a composition that manifested as much musical maturity that expressed beauty with such stunning mournful emotion. Kemal Gekic played this concerto with an all-embracing knowledge and poetic power to extract the passion that distinguished Chopin. His seasoned and sensitive expertise brought a transformative experience to the listener that went beyond the barriers of sheer appreciation.
The evening was particularly notable because all three of the artists were accompanied under the direction of Jose Javier Mendoza, the maestro in residence at FIU. What a thrill it was to have the pianists accompanied by this splendid orchestra. Each artist received a standing ovation and several curtain calls after his performance.
We were all transported to a Carnegie Hall experience, without ever leaving Aventura. We were the lucky ones who were able to witness this very special occasion. But wait! If you were unable to attend this astonishing evening, it is still possible to see it on the newly created Miami International Piano platform online where you can see this concert as well as many other archival productions. Just join the Festival and all the recorded performances are yours to enjoy, as well as all the other benefits that awaityou on the platform.
- Arleen Shabel
Pictures by Simong Soong (c) Miami International Piano Festival