By Ted AYALA
Glendale’s resident pianophiles would do well to keep this Sunday evening open. Local pianist Harout Senekeremian will be performing an eclectic recital of music spanning the 19th Century to the present day. Beginning at 7:30 p.m. and concluding at 9:30 p.m., the concert will feature music by Beethoven, Arno Babadjanian, Nikolai Kapustin, Scriabin, Liszt, and Rachmaninoff. Also on the program are selections from the Five Pieces for Piano, op. 15 by local composer George N. Gianopoulos.
Gianopoulos’ music is an all-too rare find. Approachable and winningly appealing without being condescending, his oeuvre is lit with a cheerful, smiling self confidence that beguiles the listener.
“I composed this suite between 2008 and 2009,” said the composer. “I took the time to revise the two selections being played next Sunday this year. I wanted it to be a little more idiomatic for the piano. Some of the revisions altered the form of the pieces and further fleshed out some musical ideas. Basically refined the material.”
Senekeremian, a graduate of the Colburn School of Music and a student at the Manhattan School of Music, began studying piano at the age of 4. Since then he has evolved into a striking musician steeped in the tradition of Romantic pianism a la Earl Wild and Jorge Bolet. His performances of the music of French composer Charles Valentin Alkan – a friend and contemporary of Chopin and Liszt whose music outstrips both in technical challenge – have contributed to his reputation as a pianist of sound musicianship and fearless virtuosity.
Rubbing shoulders with Liszt and Rachmaninoff will be extracts from the Etudes, op. 40 by Nikolai Kapustin, whose fusion of jazz and classical elements riled Soviet censors in his native Russia.
“Kapustin’s music is incredible,” said Senekeremian. “It’s the closest [classical pianists] can get to playing jazz music without improvising. All his improvisations are there in the score, beautifully written out. This is music that requires a very different level of technique.”
Explaining the rationale of this eclectic program, Senekeremian said he was aiming to please his home audience.
“I wanted to perform music I knew my audience would like,” he said. “Every single one of the composers are Romantics. I know [the listeners] are going to love it.”
Tickets for the recital are $20 and can be purchased ahead of time or at the door. For more information, visit www.haroutsenekeremian.com.