Piano man brings rich Russian repertoire
The “remarkable richness of the Russian piano repertoire” is the theme of a music festival taking place this week.
Alex Tuchman, founder and artistic director of the Bermuda Piano Festival, which is now in its third year, said he chose the theme to help broaden the public’s appreciation of Russian composers.
Mr Tuchman, a prize-winner of the Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition, said: “There will be works by composers that everybody knows and loves like [Pyotr Illyich] Tchaikovsky and [Sergei] Rachmaninoff, but also many by composers that people don’t know, but who I am sure whose music they would love if they had the chance to hear it.
“We thought to programme these very household names alongside lesser-known composers of the Russian repertoire. It is really beautiful music — we have not only solo and duo performances, but for the first time we have a classical piano trio with cello and violin.”
The festival features professional US-based musicians Mr Tuchman, Eteri Andjaparidz, Jeanelle Brierley, Sung-Soo Cho, Stephen Cook and Eliza Fath, who will provide masterclasses to interested music students.
The repertoire will also include pieces by Sergie Prokofiev, Nikolai Medtner and Dmitri Schostakovich, Alexander Scriabin, Anton Arensky and Igor Stravinsky.
While the island has for years hosted the Bermuda Festival for the Performing Arts and the Bermuda Guitar Festival, Mr Tuchman saw room for a musical showcase that catered to the many piano students and enthusiasts here.
The 27-year-old was born in New Jersey, but moved here when he was 15 after his father, Bob, was hired to work in the local reinsurance industry.
In 2017, he was interested in launching the Bermuda Piano Festival and approached the Bermuda School of Music who supported the idea.
Mr Tuchman said: “Since then, it has been a team effort putting together a programme and masterclasses. Our goal is to provide a cultural event for residents of Bermuda.
“One of the real motivations behind the festival is to connect with young students or anyone studying music.
“I remember as a young student how it really was very helpful to have the chance to play for someone who I didn’t take a lesson from every week, to get a fresh perspective and to hear different people performing. It is a wonderful way to grow and learn as an artist.
“We hope that by offering young students the chance to play for the musicians, the performing artists, they are inspired to take music wherever they want.”
Mr Tuchman started taking piano lessons at the age of 5. When he was 13, he studied in New York in the honours programme at Mannes Prep before continuing on at the Mannes School of Music at the New School. He then earned a master of music degree from New York Steinhardt as a member of the adjunct faculty.
He has performed here with the Bermuda School of Music and at City Hall. He has also appeared with the Bermuda Philharmonic at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts.
He said: “It is my passion to perform and organise events that bring performers together.
“I am finishing my doctoral degree in piano [performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music]. I plan to continue to perform solo and chamber music and I would love to teach at the university.”
• The Bermuda Piano Festival runs from tomorrow to Friday in the Trudeau Ballroom at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. Admission is free. For more information on it or about the masterclasses on offer, visit bermudapianofestival.com