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Release: April 9, 1999

Pianist Ksenia Nosikova will play her first UI faculty recital April 18

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Pianist Ksenia Nosikova, who joined the faculty of the UI School of Music last fall, will play her UI solo recital debut at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 18 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The recital will be free and open to the public.

Although this will be Nosikova's first solo recital at the UI, she has already appeared in several campus performances. She performed with the UI Center for New Music in their East Coast tour and the preceding campus concert last fall, and she has performed chamber recitals with two of her fellow faculty members, bassoonist Benjamin Coelho in November and flutist Tadeu Coelho in March.

Nosikova, a native Russian and graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, will play a program of pieces by or arranged by Russian composers. The first half will be devoted to some lesser-known works of Sergei Rachmaninoff, who was one of the most dominating pianists and composers of the first half of the 20th century. She will play Rachmaninoff's piano arrangement of three movements from J.S. Bach's Partita in E major for solo violin; three smaller pieces titled "Lilacs," "Daisies," and "Humoresque," and the Variations on a Theme of Corelli, op. 42.

After intermission Nosikova will play the "Dumka," op. 59, (Concert piece) by Tchaikovsky, Mily Balakirev's transcription of the art song "The Lark" by Mikhail Glinka, and "Islamey (Oriental Fantasy)" by Balakirev.

Rachmaninoff was one of the many Russian musicians who left his homeland after the 1917 revolution. After leaving Russia he made transcriptions of his own and other composers' works for use in his concerts, which he had to give in order to make a living in the West. Nosikova believes that Rachmaninoff's dual careers as both composer and pianist gave his transcriptions particular interest.

"His profound and practical command of the piano enabled him to translate any musical sound from another medium to the keyboard, in terms of his own unique pianism," she said. "He followed the examples of great pianists before him -- particularly Franz Liszt and Leopold Godovsky -- in writing his transcriptions, which are not only exquisite in sound and brilliance but also supremely expressive."

In the three movements from the Partita in E major, Rachmaninoff was following a long tradition of transcribing Bach's unaccompanied violin works. Although written for only a single melody instrument, harmonies were definitely implied by the solo part. Some earlier composers, including Robert Schumann and Fritz Kreisler, had supplied keyboard accompaniments, and Bach himself had transcribed Partitas for organ. In his transcriptions, Rachmaninoff applied his own late Romantic harmonic and coloristic language to the Baroque original.

Of the other Rachmaninoff works, "Lilacs" and "Daisies" are transcriptions of his own art songs. "Humoresque" was originally written as a piano piece. The Variations on a Theme of Corelli, op. 42, were composed in 1931, around the same time as some of Rachmaninoff's best known works, including the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, op. 43, and Third Symphony, op. 44.

Balakirev was one of a group of five composers in late 19th-century Russia known as "the Mighty Handful." Although his own creative works have not remained in the concert repertoire, his role as a leader in the development of Russian music was extremely influential. Among the few works that are still known are "The Lark," an elegant transcription of an art song by Glinka, and the virtuoso piano piece "Islamey."

Although he was a competent pianist, Balakirev was never able to perform "Islamey," which was written in the demanding tradition of Liszt's concert show pieces. The main melody is a tune Balakirev picked up on his travels in the Caucasus, which he combined with a Tartar melody, weaving the two themes into a complex pianistic fabric.

Ksenia Nosikova has performed as both soloist and chamber musician in Russia, Italy, Yugoslavia, Germany, England and the Netherlands, and throughout the United States. As a member of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory Piano Trio she presented numerous recitals in Moscow and Leningrad and was invited to perform at the Chamber Music Festival in Rimini, Italy, and the Congress of the European Associations of Conservatories in Rovin, Yugoslavia.

Nosikova made her New York debut in 1996 in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She has played as a soloist with symphony orchestras in Louisiana and Colorado. She has been a prize winner in numerous piano competitions, including the Frinna Awerbach International Piano Competition in New York, the Alabama International Piano Competition, and the Ibla Grand Prize International Competition in Italy, to which she will return in the summer of 1999 as a jury member.

Nosikova received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia, and a doctorate from the University of Colorado. She has been invited to perform in master classes, including the International Master Classes of Chamber Music with the Beaux Arts Trio. She received fellowships at the Aspen and Sarasota music festivals. Prior to her appointment to the UI she was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Colorado and the Moscow School of the Arts.

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