From Russia with a Love of Classical Music
By Jeff Maisey
On September 27, Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn will celebrate their 10th anniversary as the Invencia Duo with a free concert at Chandler Recital Hall on the campus of Old Dominion University, where each is a professor of music. The Duo will perform selected works from Chopin, Bowles, Gottschalk and, perhaps most timely, Florent Schmitt.
In May of this year, Invencia Duo released a studio recording of the composer’s work titled Florent Schmitt: Piano Duet & Duo Works, Vol. 1. Distributed on the Naxo record label, the Kasparov and Lutsyshyn team received widespread, international accolades from music reviewers.
The American Record Guide wrote, “Schmitt’s extensive oeuvre for two pianists could have no better musicians, and I eagerly await the remaining three volumes in this series.”
The Naxo label describes the album’s value this way: “Winner of the Prix de Rome in 1900, Florent Schmitt stands alongside Debussy and Ravel as one of the most original and influential French composers of his time. This is the first of four volumes including unpublished work and rarities for piano duo and duet, each representing Schmitt’s rich harmonic palette and good humored lyricism.”
Oskana Lutsyshyn and Andrey Kasparov said they most admired Schmitt’s “independent thinking and cosmopolitan nature, which is very relevant to today’s global way of life.”
Specifically, Invencia Duo’s anniversary performance will tackle Chopin’s “Rondo for two pianos,” “Grand Polka” and “Waltz” from Gottschalk, Bowles’ “Sonata,” “Night Waltz,” “Nocturne” and “Cross Country,” and Schmitt’s “Trois rapsodies” and “Rapsodie parisienne.”
“The recording of four volumes of the complete piano duet and duo works by Florent Schmitt led to our first international recording success,” the Duo explained. “Recording the complete Paul Bowles works for piano solo and duo is our current project. Chopin was one of Schmitt’s most favorite composers and pairs with him in a program perfectly. Louis Moreau Gottschalk was praised by Chopin as a future “king of all pianists” and, as a composer, anticipated Bowles as a true Pan American figure.”
Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn first met in school when they were studying music at the Moscow State Conservatory.
“We lived in the same dormitory, listened to each other during exams and recitals, shared the love for Ravel and French music in general,” they shared in harmony.
The environment in the Russia capitol provided a rich cultural life.
“There were lots of music, theater, cinema, festivals and exhibitions,” they recalled. “Cold and long winters are very conducive for an intense intellectual and cultural life because it is not exactly easy to enjoy outdoors.”
Kasparov and Lutsyshyn hail from Armenian and Ukrainian families. In the 1990s, they made a joint decision to pursue advanced studies at Indiana University in Bloomington.
“Even though the (Iron) Curtain had already fallen, the access to information, technology and to the kind of libraries big universities such as Indiana University in Bloomington could provide was still years away,” they explained. “We did not want to wait.”
Today, the Kasparov and Lutsyshyn package not only teach as associate music professors at ODU, they serve as Artistic Co-Directors of the Norfolk Chamber Consort and co-founders of the Invencia Piano Duo.
Norfolk Chamber Consort opens its 2013-14 season – its 45th – with “Tell a Man or Woman..,” a program featuring music by the great German Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann as well as works and arrangements inspired by Telemann.
According to the Consort’s program, the concert will open with Andrey Kasparov conducting orchestral selections from Telemann’s famous “Musique de table,” immediately followed by “Musique de table” by the contemporary Belgian composer Thierry De Mey as performed by a trio of percussionists: David Walker, Dale Lazar and Dan Naquin.
The second part of the concert will open with a performance by Caroline Scruggs, a young soprano from Christopher Newport University, who won the 2013 Lisa Relaford Coston Voice Competition last April. Guitarist Anibal Acosta will then be joined by recorder player Stephen Walsh and violist Anastasia Migliozzi in the performance of his arrangement of Telemann’s Trio Sonata in C Major. The program will conclude with Ruth van Baak Griffioen and Bonnie Kim soloing in Telemann’s Double Concerto for Recorder, Flute, Strings and Continuo, with its boisterous Gypsy finale anticipating Brahms’s G Minor Piano Quartet.
Norfolk Chamber Consort season programming is exceptional.
“All four concerts of the Norfolk Chamber Consort season are must-see performances,” said Lutsyshyn and Kasparov. “With the help of the Diehn Series, we have also been able to engage such outstanding performers as the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, arguably the best in the world today.
As a general rule, if we deem a potential program not a must-see, we don’t bring it to the public–such is our standard.”
Norfolk Chamber Consort
Chandler Recital Hall
Chandler Recital Hall