CRITIC’S CHOICE – CDs, Pianists: Mitsuko Uchida, Temirzhan Yerzhanov, and Jonathan Biss

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Decca Music Group’s recent release of The Cleveland Orchestra’s live recording of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, K. 488, and Piano Concerto No. 24, K. 491, conducted and performed by pianist MITSUKO UCHIDA is outstanding. Mitsuko Uchida’s affinity for the music of Mozart is well known. From 2002 to 2007, she served as artist-in-residence with the Cleveland Orchestra and covered the Mozart piano concerto cycle with the Orchestra, conducting from the keyboard. A frequent guest of The Cleveland Orchestra, Ms. Uchida has also performed with the Orchestra on tours to Europe and Japan. She most recently performed with the Orchestra at Severance Hall in April 2009, as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25, K. 503, under the direction of Sir Colin Davis. Ms. Uchida’s recording of the Schoenberg Piano Concerto with Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra won four awards, including one from Gramophone for “best concerto recording.” For her “services to classical music”, Mitsuko Uchida was promoted Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours at Buckingham Palace.

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MITSUKO UCHIDA

Con Brio Recordings release of pianist Temirzhan Yerzhanov’s Cinderella Suites by Prokofiev is a hallmark in the artist’s distinguished career. The album also includes a world premiere of the composer’s Classical Symphony in its entirety. Mr. Yerzhanov’s unfathomable energy and daunting technique are brought to perfection in this phenomenal performance.
Temirzhan Yerzhanov is known for premiering new works at almost in every concert.

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TEMIRZHAN YERZHANOV

His New York debut at the Merkin Hall was marked by the World premiere of Almas Serkebaev’s Concerto No. 3 and his San Francisco debut recital included US premiere of Igor Khudoley’s Boris Godunov Suite. The work was virtuosic and profound. Prokofiev’s Cinderella ballet was created between 1942 and 1943 during the composer’s residence in Kazakhstan. During this period he also completed his opera, War and Peace and composed the score to Russian film Director Sergei Eisentstein’s Ivan the Terrible. It is an enduring masterpiece. Temirzhan Yerzhanov’s affinity with Prkofiev is electric. The draw to his virtuosity is irresistible.

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JONATHAN BISS

Twenty-eight-year-old American pianist Jonathan Biss is an exceptional musician. He enjoys international notoriety as a concert artist and award winning recording artist. Noted for his prodigious technique, intriguing programs, and artistic maturity, Mr. Biss performs a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart and Beethoven, through the Romantics to Janácek and Schoenberg as well as works by contemporary composers, including commissions from Leon Kirchner and Lewis Spratlan. His current release, SCHUBERT, reflects his enthusiasm for ulikely pairings. The CD includes the Piano Sonata in A major D.959 and Piano Sonata in C major “Relique” D. 840. It is teamed with György Kurtág’s Birthday elegy for Judit and Hommage à Schubert. The live concert was recorded in London at Wigmore Hall this past May. Mr. Biss reaches peaks of transcendency. Engineer Tony Faulkner captures the vibrancy of this particularly excellent performance.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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