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Australia-based Russian pianist Konstantin Shamray studied in Moscow at the Gnessin Academy of Music. He performs extensively internationally with many of the world’s top conductors and orchestras including the Russian National Philharmonic, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Prague and Belgrade Orchestras and at top international piano festivals.
Shamray’s gargantuan program opens with two of Mozart’s most beloved works, the beautiful Mozart Fantasia in C minor, K.475 and Sonata No 14 in C minor, K.457, often performed as a single unit as Mozart intended the later Fantasia to be a prelude to the sonata. Schumann was only 26 years old when he composed the extraordinary, stupendously difficult Toccata in C major.
He believed it was “the hardest piece ever written”; the opening passages are right-hand breakers. The second half comprises a series of transcriptions including the Wagner/Liszt Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde. The concert ends with the fiendishly difficult Mozart/Liszt Reminiscences de ‘Don Juan’. Critic Harold Schonberg wrote, “To play Liszt well you have to have in your breast a good-sized dollop of original sin.”