Thursday, September 9, 2010

Classic Strings from Russia Grace the Azteca Theater with Friendship

Classics from Russia to the Azteca -  musical friends we have made along the way.
Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet 
Part of the varied journey for the Azteca Theater have been the various roadblocks along the way that sometimes opens other doors. A few years ago  the City of Fresno selected a master developer for all of Fresno's Chinatown. It placed a freeze on many of us in the neighborhood waiting to see how our plans would relate to the greater plan and if they would be blessed.  We are still waiting.  But for me it meant taking an opportunity to go to St. Petersburg, Russia and make  some small projects. It also resulted in a website,, with hundreds of tips for things to do in St. Petersburg, Russia, organized in a forum format. St. Petersburg is the cultural soul of Russia and the one must-see city to understand things Russian. Along with great museums, public art, authors and ballets, St. Petersburg is a great music center. Here are a few friends from St. Petersburg who now have enriched  the voyage for the  Azteca Theater.

The Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet

Excerpt from the second movement and the beginning of the third movement Night Journey, by Katia Tiutiunnik  and  performed by the Rimsky Korsakov Quartet of St. Petersburg, June 24, 2006 at the Dom Kompozitorov organized by Dr. Elena Kostyuchenko.
The Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet continues a long tradition of  classical music in Russia that began in earnest with Rimsky-Korsakov.  The list of students at  the N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory is quite impressive.

One of the  Quartet's CDs, is a collection of music based on the musical  Friday  afternoons Rimsky-Korsakov held with other musician friends to play their new works for each other and refine their compositions. It is a very pleasant CD of music not often heard. I have not seen it for sale here.

The Rinsky-Korsakov String Quartet performed in Ashland, Oregon in its first trip to the USA in 2003. They played in Fresno at a CSUF concert series during their second American concert tour in 2004. It was a pleasure to assist in the arrangements and meet them in the USA again after attending some of their performances in Russia.

Sergei Ilyin

Excerpt from the Russian premiere of "Tre Preghiere di Nabuccoduriussor" by Katia Tiutiunnik and performed by Sergei Ilyin on June 24 2006, at the Dom Kompozitorov, St. Petersburg, Russia organized by Dr. Elena Kostyuchenko.  Sergei heads up the St. Petersburg guitarist group in St. Petersburg and has written quite a few pieces himself. He is very generous with his knowledge and wonderful performer.

Peter Dyson

Listen with Mother: A piano duet by Peter Dyson, composer residing in St. Petersburg, Russia
 Aside from being a very interesting composer, Peter is also a personable person to know. To see him in his long beard one instantly thinks of the classic composers of  Russia and Europe of the past. However, his music is progressive and stimulating.

Savely Shalman

Savely Shalman instructs student Jessica
Savely Shalman has conducted scores of virtuoso violin workshops in Europe, Russia and in recent years,  the USA. I attended the recital of his students in St. Petersburg in the large Glinka Hall on Nevsky Prospect and it was standing room only occasion. They are that good!  Building on a foundation of good technique, Savely has great skill at bringing out the passion and emotion of music from his students.

Savely visited the Azteca Theater on the occasional of his first Master Classes held in California. Sitting  high above San Francisco on the headlands across from  the Golden Gate Bridge I shared some moments with Savely upon his arrival. For someone raised under the Soviet government it never seemed possible to travel to America.
Savely has since made numerous trips here hold master classes and meet with students and instructors.
Savely Shalman is Professor at the Special School of Music in St Petersburg and distinguished Russian violin teacher. He is the author of a number of books on the subject. He is a member of the International Secretariat of ESTA, and Chairman of the board of ESTA-Russia.

- David Owens, Azteca Theater

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