St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Alexandra Dovgan recital (piano)

XIV Mariinsky International Piano Festival

Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 (“Pathétique”)
Rondo a capriccio in G major, Op. 129 (“Rage Over a Lost Penny”)

Franz Schubert
Piano Sonata in A major, D 664

Frédéric Chopin
Four mazurkas, Op. 68

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Five preludes

Performed by Alexandra Dovgan (piano)

“You can learn to do a great many things, but there are some things that you cannot learn. This is a talent that she has,” the legendary pianist Grigory Sokolov has said about Alexandra (Sasha) Dovgan. Using the word “wunderkind” is somewhat awkward with regard to Sasha: yes, it is, of course, a “wonder”, a miracle, but she is a child only in terms of her actual years. “When you listen to Alexandra Dovgan it would never enter your head that it is a twelve-year-old pianist performing,” Sokolov said when introducing the musician in May this year at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and in summer at the Salzburg Festival. On 3 November Sasha delighted Parisians when she performed a recital at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées. Part of the programme in Paris featured works by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff which may also be heard at the festival concert. Both these composers are particular favourites of Sasha, as are Schubert and Chopin who are included in the recital programme on 24 December. “They are especially close to my heart,” Alexandra has said about the Romantic composers. Sasha’s performances confirm this with their sincerity and deep thoughtfulness. A teenager of the 21st century, she enters a dialogue with the musical culture of the past and renders it living and of-the-present without modernising it in any way. The original composer is always the most important person for her. When seated at the piano, this surprisingly modest and even seemingly shy girl reveals the full staggering beauty of her talent, the depth of her personality and the scale of her intellect. Focus, noble mien, filigree technique, accountability for every sound and artistry without any shadow of outer bravado – all of these epithets can describe Sasha’s playing, but they cannot convey the nagging feeling of her having imparted a secret to the listener.

Many commentators use the words “thank you” in the most varied languages in their reviews of video clips of Sasha’s playing. Listening to her, you indeed sense a feeling of gratitude – to her, so gracious and yet strong, and to her brilliant teacher Mira Marchenko. Sasha freely admits that the most important thing for her is not winning at competitions but performing at concerts. She loves the stage, she loves to play for people and she does this with complete dedication. The outstanding pianist Alexandra Dovgan will be meeting her listeners at the St Petersburg concert – on 24 December at 18:00 at the Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre.

Age category 6+

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