Magazine article Musical Opinion

The London Festival Orchestra

Magazine article Musical Opinion

The London Festival Orchestra

Article excerpt

Chris Monk looks at the Virtuoso Piano Series

A rare visit to London by the Slovenian pianist Dubravka Tomsic, who was chosen by Artur Rubinstein as one of only a handful of students ever to study with him, marks the opening of London Festival Orchestra's Virtuoso Piano Series 2006/07, sponsored by SW Mitchell Capital, at Cadogan Hall on 14 September at 7.30pm.

The inspired invitation by Ross Pople, principal conductor of LFO and artistic director of the series, underlines his vision for the concerts. He is focusing on the most arresting artists, regardless of hype, geographical or generational divides. To him Dubrovka Tomsic is a rare find.

Born in 1940 in Dubrovnik, the artist made her New York Philharmonic, Town Hall and Chicago debuts in her teens while still a student at The Juilliard School. Her Carnegie Hall recital debut so impressed Rubinstein that he wrote about it 20 years later in his memoir, My Many Years, calling her, "a perfect and marvellous pianist."

Following her stellar beginning, Dubravka Tomsic disappeared from the 'Western' classical scene for the most part of three decades making a name for herself on the Eastern European concert circuit, teaching at Ljubljana Academy of Music where she remains Professor of Piano, and bringing up her children. After the fall of the Soviet satellites she reemerged in the US in 1989 with a stunning opening night gala performance at the Newport Music Festival. Following that memorable concert she was invited to perform recitals on the most prestigious concert platforms all over the US. Her performance of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto (the same work she will perform with the London Festival Orchestra in September) with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony in 1994 sent critics searching for new superlatives and marked the beginning of something of a Tomsic cult in the United States. …

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