Pianist 'must be heard to be believed'
Vladimir Bakk is not a household word -- in fact, he's a complete unknown who's been living in obscurity in this country for almost two years. But this 49-year-old pianist is a living legend to the pianists who studied at the Moscow Conservatory in the 1960s and 1970s. "He's a genuine genius pianist," says his friend, the famed Russian emigre pianist, Vladimir Feltsman. "He plays on a fantastic level that must be heard to be believed. He's the last of the dinosaurs from the age that produced Rachmaninoff, Josef Lhevinne and Horowitz."
Tomorrow night at Strathmore Hall in Bethesda (10701 Rockville Pike), Bakk will make his local debut in works of Haydn, Mozart, Schumann, Scriabin and Chopin. Tickets, available at the box office, are $15 for general admission and $5 for students. For information, call (301) 469-6138 or (202) 342-0472.
For a decade painter Ruth Pettus has made the male figure central to her imagery, often titling entire exhibits of her works "Men in Suits." These enigmatic paintings invite the viewer's participation and speculation -- the men may seem threatening, dominating, withdrawn, inscrutable. But they are always ambiguous, and Pettus' strong technique endows these pictures with considerable force. Beginning Wednesday she will be showing a group of her works at Resurgam, in the company of paintings by David Adams. Adams' paintings refer to the history of Western art, and in an artist's statement he indicates that he would like his work to be as open to interpretation as Pettus': "My hope is that the painting . . . will serve as a source of contemplation . . . [and] elicit many readings." At Resurgam Gallery, 910 South Charles St., through March 26. For information, call (410) 962-0513.
John Dorsey The Bebe Miller Company, a dance troupe whose work has been described as "dance on the edge of the apocalypse," launches the fifth season of Off the Walls, the performance series at the Baltimore Museum of Art, at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Miller's company will perform three works that premiered in New York in January: "Tiny Sisters," a quartet about siblings; "Cantos Gordos," a Latin-flavored piece set to music by jazz musician Don Byron; and "Heaven and Earth," a Miller solo. Tickets are $15 for general admission; $12 for BMA members and seniors; and $8 for students.
This year's series will also include performances by the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Live! on March 30 and Jane Comfort and Company on May 14. For further information about the Bebe Miller Company or the series, call (410) 396-6314.
J. Wynn Rousuck