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Pro Musica Presents World Famous Russian Pianist Ilya Yakushev

“Mr Yakushev can do just about anything that he wants” The New York Times said of Ilya Yakushev, and we undoubtedly believe it. This astonishingly talented artist will wow even the most discerning critics with his skill and intonation. Prepare to witness his San Miguel debut for Pro Musica on Friday and Sunday, January 25 and 27, at 5:00 PM at St. Paul’s Church on Calle Cardo.

Yakushev is making waves around the world, mesmerizing and astounding audiences in the finest concert halls on three continents. A Yamaha artist, he his CD of Prokofiev Sonatas gained widespread praise. The American Record Guide wrote of his playing on this disc “Yakushev is one of the very best young pianists before the public today, and it doesn’t seem to matter what repertoire he plays – it is all of the highest caliber”. Since then he has recorded further Sonatas as well as an all-Russian repertoire CD with the British label Nimbus Records.

On Friday, we will enjoy works by Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann,. Mozart’s Adagio in B minor was composed during a period of hardship – when Mozart was exhausted by financial struggles and grieving the loss of his father. These feelings are palpable in this work, which is full of high emotion and tension. Beethoven’s "Waldstein" Sonata comes from his middle period when his music changed direction and took the sonata form into new territory, making this one of the favourite piano works of all time. Liszt’s Vallée d’Obermann comes from his Years of Wandering opus, composed during exile in Paris and his "Dedication" is a piano transcription on Widmung, Robert Schumann's elegant love song inspired by his wedding to Clara in 1840. Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz, "The Dance in the Village Inn", was inspired by a story from Faust, and invites the devil and witches to play. This is one of the greatest piano works ever written and requires a virtuoso technique few pianists posses to bring out its true magnificence.

On Saturday, listeners will delight in Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, among others. Tchaikovsky’s charming Sentimental Waltz from Six Pieces tugs at the heart strings of romantic nostalgia. His work Dumka in C Minor, is a folk ballad based on a rustic scene. "I love our Russian countryside more than any other, and for me the Russian landscape in winter has an incomparable charm," Tchaikovsky wrote. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was a surprise – a news article surfaced saying that he would put on a "jazz concerto" for Paul Whiteman's Palais Royal Band. From this unremarkable announcement came the great work we know today, a fusion of jazz and classical styles.

Tickets for the concerts at St. Paul’s are $150, $300 and $400 pesos donation each, and are on sale at the Bookshop in the Biblioteca Pública; Solutions, Recreo 11 and through our website with no booking fee, and at the concert 45 minutes before performance time.