CommunityConcert Experience

The Lauridsen Great Pianists Series

By December 13, 2022 No Comments

10 fingers. 88 keys. Thousands of notes.

Becoming a professional musician is a difficult journey. Each memorable concert is the result of years of devotion and countless hours of practice. The experience of hearing a piano recital is unlike any other. While most musicians are able to practice with their instrument day in and day out, getting to know it’s tendencies and being able to anticipate the response to any action, pianists do not have that luxury. Pianists “meet” their instrument just days, sometimes hours, before being asked to perform on it. The instrument commands respect; just ask anyone who has spent any time on the bench.

Nixon and Virginia Lauridsen attended their first CMA concert around 2015. They were immediately impressed with the caliber of talent, and quickly become CMA supporters. We featured them a few years ago in this post, which shares a bit about the Lauridsens and what initially brought them into the CMA family. In 2021, their dream of launching the Lauridsen Great Pianists Series came to fruition.

Yefim Bronfman kicked off the Lauridsen Great Pianists Series in 2021

On October 20, 2021, we launched the Lauridsen Great Pianists Series. When it comes to presenting live, intimate experiences, there are few things that can match a piano recital.

Yefim Bronfman took the stage to perform a robust concert featuring pieces by Beethoven and Chopin, and what a wonderful performance it was! Hoyt Sherman Place was filled with thousands and thousands of notes. Fast, fiery, delicate and nuanced, we heard it all.

Bronfman has performed around the globe, from summer festivals and chamber work to appearances with major Symphony Orchestras under the direction of conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Riccardo Muti and Daniel Barenboim. His solo, chamber and orchestral recordings have been nominated for 6 GRAMMY® Awards, winning in 1997 with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for their recording of the three Bartok Piano Concerti.

Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the United States, he studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, under Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists, in 2010 he was further honored as the recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane prize in piano performance from Northwestern University and in 2015 with an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music.

As one of the most acclaimed and admired pianists performing today, Bronfman was the perfect artist to launch the Lauridsen Great Pianists Series. We’re thrilled to feature his name on our season history alongside pianists Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Emanuel Ax, and Philip Glass, among others.

Garrick Ohlsson takes the stage for the second annual recital in the series during the 2022-2023 season

The second annual concert is February 25, 2023, at Sheslow Auditorium. Garrick Ohlsson returns to Des Moines with a program of Scriabin, Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

Long regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Frédéric Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson commands an enormous repertoire, which ranges over the entire piano literature. A student of the late Claudio Arrau, Mr. Ohlsson has come to be noted for his masterly performances of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. To date he has at his command more than 80 concertos, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century, many commissioned for him.

Des Moines deserves world-class pianists

Virginia and Nix believe in the power of music. They have traveled extensively, taking in the arts and culture scene wherever they go. It was at the Aspen Music Festival that the idea for a pianists series first budded. There, they heard some of the world’s finest musicians. And it was there that they were inspired to annually bring a pianist of that caliber to our community.

“Des Moines deserves world class talent, and we wanted to help make that a reality.” – Virginia Lauridsen

We can’t thank the Lauridsen’s enough for making this incredible series a reality! We hope that audiences from near and far will join us this year and in the many years to come. This is exactly the type of experience that makes our city so special!

Leave a Reply