Acclaimed pianist Yefim Bronfman playing Rachmaninoff’s Third at SLSO


Jordan Palmer

Internationally recognized as one of today’s most acclaimed and admired pianists, Yefim Bronfman stands among a handful of artists regularly sought by festivals, orchestras, conductors, and recital series. His commanding technique, power, and exceptional lyrical gifts are consistently acknowledged by the press and audiences alike.

Bronfman will be joining St. Louis Symphony Orchestra conductor Stéphane Denève on the Powell Hall stage, Friday, October 1 to gather us in the warm embrace of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

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.

Performances begin at  10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 1, and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2. at Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., Tickets start at $15.

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According to the SLSO, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 originated with the Russian-born composer’s first visit to the United States, which he would eventually adopt as his homeland. In accepting an invitation to undertake a concert tour in this country, Rachmaninoff agreed to compose a new piano concerto that he would perform with American orchestras.

All through the spring of 1909, various obligations prevented him from working on the piece, and it was not until June that he set to work on it. The composition went smoothly, however, and the concerto was finished before the end of summer. But Rachmaninoff had not had time to learn the demanding solo part before his departure. He, therefore, brought a practice keyboard along on the voyage, and on this device worked to master the concerto’s intricacies.

This unusual method proved sufficient. Rachmaninoff played the concerto with consistent success throughout his American tour. A particularly notable performance occurred on January 16, 1910, at Carnegie Hall in New York, when the orchestra was led by Gustav Mahler.