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Top Competition Winner Returns To New Zealand

29 April 2002

"In lyrical and poetic passages the smoothness of his playing, coupled with its fluidity and delicacy, was breathtaking ... Alexeev's sense of colour, of light and shade, and his extraordinary command over the dynamic range, were beguiling. He really does have the lot." The Glasgow Herald

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra celebrates the return of distinguished Russian pianist, Dmitri Alexeev performing, Prokofiev's demanding second Piano Concerto in two exciting concerts in Auckland in May, with Principal Guest Conductor, Matthias Bamert on the podium. Alexeev last performed in New Zealand in 1991.

Alexeev, who will also perform Rachmaninov's fabulous Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini as part of the Great Classics series, on Friday 17 May, was winner of the prominent Leeds International Piano Competition in 1975, the same year that New Zealand pianist, Michael Houstoun was a finalist in the same competition. The fizz of the Mendelsshon's 'Italian' Symphony, the famous themes of the Rach/Pag Variations and the expressive orchestration of a Brahms quartet also feature as part of this concert.

The second concert of the 2002 Great Orchestra series, on Saturday 18 May, presents piano playing on a grand scale with Prokofiev's brilliant and virtuosic second piano concerto, a work that nearly did not survive the turbulent times of the Russian Revolution. Dvorák was the recipient of many honours and awards during his lifetime, however he remained a modest man of simple tastes, loyal to his Czech nationality. This concert features his wonderful warm Eighth Symphony, his inspiration coming from the beauty and spirit of his homeland in Czechoslovakia.

Dmitri Alexeev is one of the foremost Russian pianists whose European career was launched when he won the Leeds Piano Competition in 1975. Since then he has worked with major orchestras worldwide, and is particularly renowned for his performances of the Russian concerti, in particular the works of Rachmaninov and Prokofiev.

Maestro Bamert visited New Zealand in 1996 and 1999 and was appointed NZSO Principal Guest Conductor in 2000. He was appointed Associate Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2001. He is a musician with a major international reputation renowned for his wide-ranging repertoire, particularly in large-scale romantic works, his championship of new music, and his ability to create innovative programmes.

PROGRAMME Great Classics MAY Friday 17, 6:30pm, Auckland Town Hall AUCKLAND

Matthias Bamert - conductor Dimitri Alexeev - piano MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No 4 'Italian' RACHMANINOV: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op 43 BRAHMS arr SCHOENBERG: Quartet in G minor

Great Orchestra MAY Saturday 18, 8pm, Auckland Town Hall AUCKLAND*

Matthias Bamert - conductor Dimitri Alexeev -piano LIGETI: Lontano PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 2 DVORAK: Symphony No 8

*Free pre-concert talk Speaker: Dugal McKinnon Subject: "Ligeti" AKL Sat 18 May, 7.15pm, Akl Town Hall Concert Chamber

TICKETS $70 - $20 plus concessions Book at Ticketek A transaction fee may apply

The NZSO reserves the right to change artists and programmes without notice.

Ends

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