Sunday, April 7, 2013

Yevgeny in Concert

What do you get if you take a couple of pieces of very old wood, some cat gut, and some horsehair and put them together with a genius?

If you are lucky, as we were this afternoon, you hear Yevgeny Kutik play a brilliant violin and piano concert with Tim Bozarth in South Windsor, CT.

PR imagesI have been hearing Yevgeny perform ever since he was the first Ferris Burtis Music Foundation scholarship winner about nine years ago. With every hearing his playing becomes more masterful, passionate, and beautiful. Today's program took my breath away and at times brought me to tears.

Timothy Bozarth is an exquisite pianist and a marvelous collaborator. He plays with an ease and a passion that is seldom seen these days.

The program opened with Mendelssohn's Sonata in F Major for violin and piano, a masterful work if there ever was one. Yevgeny and Timothy played this for all it was worth: a musical and technical tour de force, gaining the first standing ovation of the afternoon.

PR imagesThis was followed by Ernst Bloch's Baal Shem for violin and piano (Three pictures of Chassidic life, 1923). As I told Yevgeny after the concert, I heard incredible sounds from his instrument I had never heard him produce before. He simply gets better and better by the minute.

Beau Soir, the song of Claude Debussy in an arrangement by Jascha Heifetz, followed. I have often likened Yevgeny's sound to that of Heifetz, whom I heard often in my youth. It's that gorgeous.

Then came Sonata # 1 for Violin and Piano by Alfred Schnittke, an amazing piece of contemporary composition embodying the angst Russian composers had to go through in the post-Stalinist era.

The concert ended with the mind-boggling and finger blistering Polonaise de Concert #1 in D Major, Op. 4 by Henryk Wieniawski. And another standing ovation!

I have a musically avuncular feeling toward Yevgeny and Tim having watched them grow into major artists over the years, and feeling proud that the Burtis Ferris Music Foundation has had a small part in helping their education and careers. As I told them afterwards this afternoon, 'You guys wipe me out!!'

They will perform on the Ferris Burtis Music Foundation Benefit Concert on June 9th, at 4:00 p.m. at the Sandisfield Arts Center along with Julian Muller, 'cellist, Katie Weiser, Soprano, and Gabriella Makuc, pianist, all of whom are being assisted by the Foundation. For more information see: