Johannes Brahms. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat Major, Op. 83
Anton Bruckner. Symphony No. 1 in C Minor
Nikolai Lugansky, a pianist acclaimed for virtuosity and deep poetic feeling, is much sought-after in every venue around the world. Nikolai astonished his research scientist parents by his musical talent at the age of five, before he was even able to read music; once at their neighbour's the boy sat down at the piano and played a Beethoven piano sonata learned completely by ear. The neighbour was a composer and pianist named Sergei Ipatov, from whom Nikolai started taking piano lessons. "It seems as if I was simply pre-destined to be a pianist," says Lugansky. Having won prizes at prestigious competitions in 1988, 1990 and 1992, the musician, 22 at the time, could not decide for a long time if he should take part in the world-famous Tchaikovsky Competition; these life-changing seconds are nerve-wracking, according to the pianist. Yet in 1994, he enters the competition and comes out as a medallist. It was just the beginning.
Today Nikolai Lugansky is acknowledged as one of the brightest interpreters of piano music in the world. He regularly appears with the Russian National Orchestra, Orquesta Nacional de España, Orchestre de Paris, Tokyo Symphony and many other top-level orchestras. Performances of this season alone will take him to Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and London concert halls. When asked if he enjoys it all, Lugansky said: "Enjoy is not the right word. It's just something that I feel compelled to do. I cannot tell you exactly why. It's not a very original thing to say, perhaps, but, if I communicate with the musical text, this music starts to sound inside me, and I just have to express it. I have to make people listen to this music." Partnered by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra under the baton of maestro Gintaras Rinkevičius, Nikolai Lugansky will perform the majestic Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat Major, Op. 83, by the German Romantic composer Johannes Brahms.
In the second part of the concert, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by its artistic director and principal conductor, Gintaras Rinkevičius, will start a cycle of nine symphonies by Anton Bruckner (1824–96), giving a performance of Symphony No. 1 in C Minor. Despite multiple alterations and revisions carried out by the composer himself, the First Symphony already shows the characteristics at the heart of Bruckner's symphonic work: strongly profiled, distinctive symphonic themes developed throughout the piece and his inimitable polyphony.