Ani Aznavoorian & Lera Auerbach | Mandel Hall, University of Chicago | Classical | Chicago Reader

Ani Aznavoorian & Lera Auerbach Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Fri., Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m. 2010

Russian-born Lera Auerbach is an accomplished composer, pianist, and poet. She began to read and write music at age four, and started composing the moment she touched the piano. As she told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this year, "It was a very organic process. I would create stories at the piano. . . . I was able to write out my musical thoughts as quickly as writing words." While on a U.S. concert tour at age 17, she spontaneously defected just months before the collapse of the Soviet Union, eventually landing at Juilliard. Today, many awards, commissions, and composer's residencies later, she's still creating stories, though her polystylistic music—accessible, urgently communicative, and with great surface appeal—may ruffle some academic feathers. Joining Auerbach is hometown cellist Ani Aznavoorian, a friend and collaborator since their Juilliard days; she has an affinity for chamber music and a significant and growing international career. First on the program is Shostakovich's early Cello Sonata in D Minor, op. 40, a perfect introduction to the composer's language and style. Next come ten of Shostakovich's succinct and somewhat underripe Preludes for Piano, op. 34, given a welcome expansion via Auerbach's arrangement for cello and piano. The three sets of 24 preludes that Auerbach wrote in 1999 are some of her best music, and the third set (for cello and piano, op. 47), premiered by these artists when choreographed for the Hamburg Ballet, is an enthralling work of great invention and power; it closes the concert tonight. —Steve Langendorf

Price: $35, $5 for students

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