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SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2023 AT 4 PM


“He established himself as an artist to watch.” — Montreal Gazette

The first American in four decades and youngest musician ever to win First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition Cello Division.

“Awesome Technical Command and Maturity.” — The Strad



Great music has often been inspired by friendships between like-minded artists. In this multimedia event, Artistic Director Michael Parloff will illuminate the relationships that inspired a trio of masterpieces by Brahms, Bartók, and Rachmaninoff to be performed by three of today’s fastest-rising young musicians: violinist Keven Zhu, cellist Zlatomir Fung, and pianist Albert Cano Smit.


In the summer of 1886, the 53-year-old Johannes Brahms fell under the spell of the young contralto Hermine Spies. Inspired by her artistry and beauty, he composed songs for them to perform together at the idyllic Swiss resort of Thun. Later that summer, he wove themes from ‘her’ songs into the fabric of his radiant Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100.

Béla Bartók maintained a lifelong friendship with his esteemed violinist colleague Joseph Szigeti. Their fruitful partnership yielded many remarkable works, including Bartók’s First Violin Rhapsody, dedicated to his friend and compatriot Szigeti.

At the onset of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s career, the renowned Peter Tchaikovsky was one his most encouraging supporters. When the 53-year-old Tchaikovsky died unexpectedly in 1893, the shocked 20-year-old composer mourned and memorialized his lost mentor in his eloquent Trio élégiaque No. 2, dedicated “In Memory of a Great Artist.”


Johannes Brahms

Sonata in A, Op. 100 for violin and piano

Kevin Zhu, violin; Albert Cano Smit, piano

Béla Bartók

Rhapsody No. 1, Sz 86 for cello and piano

Zlatomir Fung, cello; Albert Cano Smit, piano

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D minor, Op. 9

Kevin Zhu, violin; Zlatomir Fung, cello; Albert Cano Smit, piano

Watch Zlatomir Fung play perform Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme:
Watch Kevin Zhu play Weiniawski’s Fantasy on Themes from Gounod’s Faust:


Watch pianist Albert Cano Smit perform Beethoven’s Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 (“Tempest”) at the 2022 Van Cliburn Competition:

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