PianoFête boasts virtuoso artists

Four acclaimed pianists will bring exquisite music to VCA

The third annual PianoFête — a four-concert festival of piano virtuosity — will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, July 10-13, at Vashon Center for the Arts.

For the now-beloved event, Fête curator and award-winning pianist Vyacheslav Gryaznov selects acclaimed musicians to join him to create four entirely different programs from their combined repertoires.

Gryaznov — a Vashon favorite who has returned to the island many times — is the author of more than 40 concert arrangements and has released two acclaimed albums of his transcriptions of both Western and Russian composers. He is an artist of the Moscow Philharmonic and is an artist-in-residence with The Drozdoff Society in the United States.

PianoFête, as curated by Gryaznov, stands out among other piano festivals in the U.S. in that it features two beautiful Steinway Concert Grands on stage throughout the festival. Each evening’s performance showcases a different soloist, who is then joined by one or more of their colleagues to close the program playing four-hand piano and piano duos.

The PianoFête finale, on July 13, will begin with a performance by Gryaznov and will culminate with all four pianists, on both pianos, accompanied by the Vashon Maury Chamber Orchestra.

The artists and schedule of this year’s PianoFête is as follows:

On Wednesday, July 10, Kevin Kenner will play Chopin, Debussy, Liszt, and be joined by Gryaznov to play very rare Mozart piano works in an arrangement by E. Grieg.

Since his victory at the XII International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Kenner has received critical acclaim for his performances on the concert stage and for his extensive discography.

He currently serves on the faculty at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and has recently performed in Europe, North America, and Asia. He also is the artistic director and founder of the Frost Chopin Academy, an annual summer academy that connects talented students of Chopin’s music with some of the world’s most respected Chopin specialists.

On Thursday, July 11, Konstantin Soukhovetski will play familiar favorites and standards in a mix of classical and contemporary, interspersed with cabaret-style storytelling. Soukhovetski’s repertoire for the concert will include his “lighter” transcriptions of Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Madonna’s Vogue, ABBA’s Dancing Queen, and some classical favorites thrown in for good measure. Gryzonov will join him for a piano duo.

Soukhovetski, a pianist and composer, is regarded as an original creative force among the pianists of his generation, in a concertizing career that has garnered him fan tributes and critics’ accolades throughout the world. A recipient of over 17 awards and winner of top prizes at prestigious competitions worldwide, he has made his reputation applying his singular interpretive vision and natural virtuosity to the cornerstones of solo and concerto repertory.

On Friday, July 12, Rexa Han will perform at a Gershwin’s night. Han will begin with “Rhapsody in Blue,” accompanied by G-Phil, and be joined by Gryaznov for the piano duo “Cuban Overture for Two Pianos.” Gryaznov will also play his composition, “Rhapsody in Black,” accompanied by G-Phil.

As a concert pianist, Han has given solo recitals in Europe, Asia, and across the United States. She performed venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Steinway Hall, Yamaha Center, the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Het Concertgebouw, in Amsterdam, Poly Theater, in Beijing, and more.

On Saturday, July 13, all four pianists will take the stage with appearances from the Vashon Maury Chamber Orchestra, in a program that includes music by Bach, Mozart K. Emerson and other surprises.

Buy tickets and find out more at vashoncenterforthearts.org.