Acclaimed pianist Victor Ryabchikov returns to the Festival of Chichester for a recital in Chichester Cathedral in aid of the cathedral’s restoration and development trust on Monday, June 27 at 1pm (free admission, with retiring collection).
He will offer a programme of Russian romantic pieces by Tchaikovsky, Rebikov and Glinka. Victor has enchanted audiences from the Peterhoff Great Palace in St Petersburg to London’s Wigmore Hall.
“The first time I came to England and Chichester was in 1994 – 22 years ago!” he says. “Especially I was glad to visit Glastonbury because at this time I was interested in the stories of the Round Table and especially Merlin. I read many books about this time, and before my visit to England I was in Brossiglion forest in Bretagne where in legend Merlin was sleeping...
“By the way, in Glastonbury there was a funny story. When I came to Glastonbury, I had a cold and my nose was like a little fountain. And every time after every piece I went from stage to backstage to try to ‘close my fountain’. After the concert my friends said to me that near them two men were sitting and one asked the other ‘Why does he goes backstage every time?’ And the other man answered ‘He is Russian. He is drinking vodka backstage!’ So funny!”
As for his Festival of Chichester recital, Victor offered two programmes, “one very strong and dramatic and the second, very calm without dramatic conflicts. And they chose the second one – I think, because it is a lunchtime concert.
“This programme is very typical of the Russian character because in Russia it is always more intimate, natural and friendly. I think for English audiences these feelings are very important too.
“I live in Moscow. I like this city. I was in many countries, about 30, but, if I stay somewhere too long a time, I have the feeling that I want to come back to my home. It is very understandable, I think.”
Victor says he doesn’t do so many concerts now, working instead more in international competitions as a judge or chairman of the judges: “Giving masterclasses now for me is more interesting than making CDs or records or giving concerts.”
Since his first appearance in the West in the early 90s, at the relatively advanced age of 39, Victor has built up a reputation as a pianist of extraordinary sensitivity and charm. His recordings, released by BIS Records, of Mikhail Glinka’s complete piano music have received rave reviews around the world.
His highly-personal interpretations of Chopin, Rachmaninov, Glinka and other romantic composers of the 19th century have enchanted audiences in Russia, Britain, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, Italy, Germany and South Africa.
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