Alexander Kobrin | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Alexander Kobrin

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Born in Moscow in 1980, Alexander Kobrin won the prestigious Busoni International Piano Competition in 1999 and was the gold medalist at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2005--a prize that carries with it engagements with top orchestras and festivals, including tonight's recital at Ravinia. His debut CD shows exceptional technique, musical finesse, and tremendous passion. In the opening bars of the first of Rachmaninoff's Etudes Tableaux, op. 33, a powerful and buoyant bass line gives way to superbly shaped and well-balanced melodies; the stirring, nocturnal G minor etude is played with stunning sensitivity, the C-sharp minor with volcanic intensity. His performance of Brahms's Variations on a Theme by Paganini is magnificent, every difficulty handled with ease. For this concert, his first in Chicago, he'll begin with two works by Schumann: the grand three-movement Fantasy in C Major, op. 17, and the op. 18 Arabesque, which moves from graceful melodic lines and buoyant rhythms to a more impassioned dotted-rhythm section and ends with a breathtakingly tender coda. He'll also play all four of Chopin's scherzos, each of which has a luscious middle section. Fri 3/10, 8 PM, Bennett-Gordon Hall, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park, 847-266-5100, $15.

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