Celebrating Sergei Rachmaninov in Song: April 4 at French Embassy

On Tuesday, April 4, the Russian Chamber Art Society will mark the 150th anniversary of Sergei Rachmaninov’s birth with a performance of his vocal and chamber music at the Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Road NW. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert, “A Tribute to Rachmaninov: Celebrating His Treasury of Song,” are $59, including a post-concert reception with the artists.  

Just three days after Rachmaninov’s 150th birthday (April 1, but March 20 according to the Russian Empire’s Julian calendar), the concert is part of RCAS’s yearlong celebration. The evening’s special guest of honor is Rachmaninov’s great-granddaughter Natalie Wanamaker-Javier, granddaughter of the composer’s elder daughter, Irina.  

“Sergei Rachmaninov is known, above all, as a virtuoso pianist and a masterful composer for the piano,” said Vera Danchenko-Stern, RCAS founder and artistic director, herself a Moscow-trained pianist. “But he also wrote more than 80 ravishing art songs, many of which we will feature on April 4 and later in this 150th anniversary year.” 

Accompanied by Danchenko-Stern and Kyiv-born pianist Alexei Ulitin will be two outstanding young singers with expertise in Russian repertoire: Chinese tenor Fanyong Du, who studied at the Odesa Conservatory and at New York’s Manhattan and Mannes music schools; and soprano Elizaveta Ulakhovich, a Saint Petersburg Conservatory graduate who spent two years as a Bolshoi Theatre young artist.  

Among other works, Du will perform “Sing Not to Me, Beautiful Maiden” from Rachmaninov’s opus 4 (1890-93), with a text by Alexander Pushkin, and “What Happiness” from his opus 34 (1912), with a text by Afanasy Fet; and Ulakhovich will perform “The Soldier’s Wife” from his opus 8 (1893), with a text by Aleksey Pleshcheyev; and “Lilacs” from his opus 21 (1902), with a text by Ekaterina Beketova. 

Sergei Rachmaninov. YouTube photo.

Also on the program is Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor, written when Rachmaninov was an 18-year-old Moscow Conservatory student, performed by violinist Risa Hokamura and pianist Albert Cano Smit, both on the prestigious Young Concert Artists roster, and cellist Connor Kim, a faculty assistant to Joel Krosnick at Juilliard.  

An American organization that stands in solidarity with Ukraine, RCAS was founded in 2005 by Danchenko-Stern, a graduate of Moscow’s Gnessin Institute of Music. Russian diction coach for Washington National Opera, Danchenko-Stern was a faculty member at the Gnessin Institute, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory, where she taught the “Singing in Russian” course for more than 25 years.  

 Tickets to the April 4 concert are available at thercas.com

Sergei Rachmaninoff on Steinway piano. Wikipedia.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *