Brilliantly Orchestrated

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  • Biography
  • Program Notes
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Date: Saturday, August 15th, 2020

Time: 7:30PM Concert Begins

        * 6:45 – Pre-concert talks are open to all ticket holders

Place: Memorial Auditorium

            1300 7th St

             Wichita Falls, TX

Andrey Ponochevny, pianist 


Andrey Ponochevny’s career has encompassed the globe as a preeminent talent among performing artists today. Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer has written that “ His performance seized attention from first note to last.” Additionally, The Washington Post describes his playing as “with power and finesse that brought the audience to its feet in a long standing ovation.” 

As the Bronze Medal Winner of the 2002 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Ponochevny has proven success in competition. Other awards and prizes he has earned include First Prize at the William Kapell International Piano Competition in Maryland as well as at the Tomassoni International Piano Competition in Cologne. His other competition accolades include awards at international competitions in Prague, Warsaw, Dublin, Hong Kong, Riga, Alexandria and New Orleans. 

In the concert hall, Ponochevny has garnered equal success, having performed extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has given solo recitals at major venues including Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City, The Kennedy Center and Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, Preston Bradley Hall in Chicago and Cleveland Institute of Music, Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Philharmonie in Cologne, City Hall in Hong Kong, Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria in Santander, Salle Alfred Cortot in Paris, National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Stadtcasino in Basel, Grand Opera Hall, Harbin. Ponochevny’s appearances with orchestra include performances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Des Moines Symphony, Irving Symphony, Plano Symphony, Belarusian State Chamber Orchestra, Xiamen Philharmonic, East Texas Symphony, Rogue Valley Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Nashua Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Wuhan Philharmonic, Tianjin Symphony, Xinjiang Philharmonic and the Belarusian State Symphony among others. 

His concerts have been broadcast on WGBH Boston, WQXR New York, WFMT Chicago, WDR Cologne (Germany), Kultura Minsk (Belarus), SIRTVS Ljubljana (Slovenia), ROROR Bucharest (Romania), AUABC Adelaide (Australia), and DKDR Copenhagen (Denmark). 

Ponochevny has performed at many prestigious festivals including the Ruhr Klavier Festival, IKIF in New York City, the International Ludwigsburg Festival, Serie de los Nuevos Virtuosos in Puerto Rico, Bravissimo Festival in Guatemala City, Changchun International Festival in China, PianoTexas in Fort Worth and Music in the Mountains Festival in Durango, CO. 

Among his numerous awards, he was twice named “Outstanding Artist in China” (2009 and 2011) in addition to having been given the positions of “Honorable Professor” of Jilin College of Arts (China) and “Visiting Professor” at the Beihua University (China). In his hometown of Minsk (Belarus), he was awarded the title “Minskovite of the year” in 2002. In addition to his concert career, Ponochevny serves on the teaching faculty of University of Dallas. Andrey Ponochevny is a Yamaha Artist.

Program Notes

Dr. Todd Giles, Midwestern State University


Fouad Fakhouri: Krupa (World Premiere)

Krupa, a new work by our own Maestro Fakhouri, is a ten-minute orchestral homage to Eugene Krupa, the legendary jazz and big band drummer of Benny Goodman Band fame. Krupa is considered by many the drummer who ushered in the modern day drum set and elevated the role of the drummer from simply playing accompanying rhythms to becoming a solo instrumentalist in their own right on par with other members of the band. Krupa’s energy and flare during his “Sing Sing Sing” performance with Goodman is a milestone in the world of drumming. In Fakhouri’s Krupa, the drummer performs their part in the manner of the work’s namesake, striving to capture the energy and showmanship of his playing against the backdrop of the full orchestra. 


Sergey Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, for piano and orchestra in A minor, op. 43

Rachmaninoff was born twenty-nine years after his fellow countryman Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1873 at the height of the late Romantic era. Much of the younger composer’s music—most of which was composed during the experimental Modernist era in the early twentieth-century—harkens back to the more expressive, melodic music of his Romantic predecessors, hinting at a sort of passionate Russian nostalgia. One such work, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, was composed in Switzerland in 1934 just before Rachmaninoff moved to the United States, where he resided until his early death due to cancer just ten years later. The Rhapsody, which premiered in Baltimore in 1934 under the direction of Leopold Stokowski, is based on one of the 24 Caprices for unaccompanied violin published in 1820 by Italian virtuoso Niccolò Paganini. While Paganini’s 24 Caprices set the standard for violin virtuosity, the final Caprice in A minor likewise had a marked impact on the piano repertoire, prompting not only Rachmaninoff to write a work inspired by it, but also Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, and Lutoslawski as well. Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody, composed in only one and a half months, is heard in three discernable sections resembling the fast-slow-fast movement of a piano concerto. The twenty-four minute work for piano and orchestra not only explores Paganini’s original theme in a variety of ways, it also incorporates a motif Rachmaninoff used on and off throughout his composing career, the plainchant Dies irae.


Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, symphonic suite, op. 35

During the late Romantic period many composers embraced the fervent nationalism sweeping Eastern and Western Europe. Politically and socially, this brand of national pride led to an intolerance of racial minorities, while musically, it saw the rise of a new and sophisticated folk-infused sound. For example, distinctly Czech (Smetana), Bohemian (Dvorák), and Moravian (Janácek) music grew out of the Austrian Empire during this period. Russia exhibited perhaps the most distinctive nationalism during the late Romantic era, as its composers moved from overtly historical themes to more mythical and folk-based subjects following the Tsar’s death in 1881. Though he composed fifteen operas, Rimsky-Korsakov is best known for his well-polished and self-assured showpieces Scheherazade, Capriccio Espagnol, and the Russian Easter Overture. Scheherazade, composed in 1888, is revered for its exotic harmonies, gorgeous melodies, and vast palette of orchestral colors, making it his most popular work among concertgoers. The beginning of his headnote to the score reads: “The Sultan Schahriar, persuaded of the falseness and faithlessness of women, has sworn to put to death each one of his wives after the first night. But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her life by interesting him in tales she told him during the 1,001 nights.” The first of the suite’s four movements, titled “The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship,” opens with the growling chords which represent the Sultan himself. These are followed by the solo violin melody that depicts Scheherazade weaving her nightly tales. By the final movement, we find the Sultan in another of his grumpy moods, so the Sultana tries to calm him with tales of the “Festival at Baghdad.” Eventually returning to “The Sea,” the music reaches a massive climax depicting a shipwreck against storm-battered rocks. The weather finally clears as the themes of the Sultan and Sultana mingle at the end.