Q&A with pianist Yefim Bronfman

February 19, 2010|By Tim Smith | tim.smith@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

Yefim Bronfman, 51, who was just awarded the $50,000 Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance from Northwestern University, has been among the finest virtuosos for more than 30 years. He plays a recital this weekend for the Shriver Hall Concert Series.

Question: Your recital includes Tchaikovsky's Grand Sonata, which you recently learned. Why do you think it's so rarely heard?

Answer: It was performed a lot in the '30s and '40s, but for some reason not much after the Second World War. I want to change that. I feel it is a neglected masterpiece.

Question: What do you find most satisfying about the score?

Answer: It is on a very grand scale. It goes beyond the piano and becomes almost an orchestra. The first movement, for example, starts like an opera; you can see the curtain going up and the great setting. I am so impressed with the way Tchaikovsky can use the simplest means to get the most dramatic results.

Question: What other pianistic challenges are you looking forward to tackling?

Answer: I would like to play a cycle of the Beethoven sonatas someday. And a little more Chopin; I have not played his sonatas and I only play two of his four Scherzos. Also a lot of 20th- and 21st-century works. There is a renaissance of talented composers right now.

Bronfman's recital is at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Shriver Hall, 3400 N. Charles St. Call 410-516-7164 or go to shriverconcerts.org.

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