(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Violinist Joana Genova and pianist Vassily Primakov are featured guests in a weekend of free concerts at Williams College. Genova joins violinist Heather Braun and pianist Michael Brown in a trio concert featuring works by Prokofiev, Ysaye, Moszkowski, Shostakovich, and de Sarasate on Saturday, March 5, at 4pm in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, in a concert featuring the world premiere of “Fantasy for Two Violins” (2016) by composer Stephen Dankner. Primakov plays the Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491 by Mozart with the Berkshire Symphony in Chapin Hall on Friday March 4, at 8pm, in a concert also featuring Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Mussorgsky’s monumental “Pictures at an Exhibition.”
Violinist Joana Genova, Artist Associate at Williams College and Resident Artist and Education Director of the Manchester Music Festival, has an active career as a chamber musician, orchestral player, teacher and soloist. She began playing violin at the age of six in her native Bulgaria, made her solo debut at the age of twelve with the Plovdiv Chamber Orchestra, and is a prizewinner of the National Competition in Bulgaria.
Genova received her bachelor of music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and her master’s degree in chamber music at the Rotterdam Conservatory in The Netherlands. Her teachers included Peter Brunt, Ilya Grubert and Prof. Samuel Thaviu. In Holland, Genova was concertmaster of the Amsterdam Bach Consort and a member of Amsterdam Sinfonietta.
Since 2000, Genova has lived in the US, where she is the principal second violin of the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, concertmaster of the Manchester Chamber Orchestra, and a member of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. She on the faculty of the Manchester Music Festival and the Michael Rudiakov Music Academy in Vermont and has taught at Smith College and the Bennington Chamber Music Conference.
Genova is active as chamber musician for the Manchester Music Festival and the Williams Chamber Players and as a frequent guest at other festivals and concert series. Her collaborations include performances with the Shanghai String Quartet, Kalichstein-Laredo Robinson trio, Andres Cardenes, Nathaniel Rosen, Renee Jolles, Michael Rudiakov,Yehuda Hanani, Trio Solisti, Tobby Appel, Sophie Shao, Ruth Laredo, Davide Cabassi, David Deveau, Adam Neiman and David Krakauer among others. Ms. Genova has performed as soloist with Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, Metropolitan, Rockaway and Danbury Symphonies, Berkshire Symphony and Manchester Festival Orchestra.
The Berkshire Symphony presents Beethoven’s Egmont Overture for its Friday evening concert, as well as the Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, featuring guest soloist Vassily Primakov, piano. Also on the program is Modest Mussorgsky’s monumental “Pictures at an Exhibition.”
Vassily Primakov has been hailed as a pianist of world class importance. Gramophone wrote that “Primakov’s empathy with Chopin’s spirit could hardly be more complete,” and the American Record Guide stated: “Since Gilels, how many pianists have the right touch? In Chopin, no one currently playing sounds as good as this! This is a great Chopin pianist.” Music Web-International called Primakov’s Chopin concertos CD, “one of the great Chopin recordings of recent times. These are performances of extraordinary power and beauty.” In 1999, as a teen-aged prizewinner of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Mr. Primakov was praised by Donald Rosenberg of The Cleveland Plain Dealer: “How many pianists can make a line sing as the Moscow native did on this occasion? Every poignant phrase took ethereal wing. Elsewhere the music soared with all of the turbulence and poetic vibrancy it possesses. We will be hearing much from this remarkable musician.”
His first piano studies were with his mother, Marina Primakova. He entered Moscow’s Central Special Music School at the age of eleven as a pupil of Vera Gornostaeva, and at 17 came to New York to pursue studies at the Juilliard School with the noted pianist, Jerome Lowenthal. At Juilliard Mr. Primakov won the William Petschek Piano Recital Award, which presented his debut recital at Alice Tully Hall, and while at Juilliard, aided by a Susan W. Rose Career Grant, he won both the Silver Medal and the Audience Prize in the 2002 Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition. Later that year Mr. Primakov won First Prize in the 2002 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions. In 2007 he was named the Classical Recording Foundation’s “Young Artist of the Year.” In 2009, Mr. Primakov’s Chopin Mazurkas recording was named “Best of the Year” by National Public Radio and that same year he began recording the 27 Mozart piano concertos in Denmark. BBC Music Magazine (November, 2010) praised the first volume of Mr. Primakov’s Mozart concertos: “The piano playing is of exceptional quality: refined, multi-coloured, elegant of phrase and immaculately balanced, both in itself and in relation to the effortlessly stylish orchestra. The rhythm is both shapely and dynamic, the articulation a model of subtlety. By almost every objective criterion, Vassily Primakov is a Mozartian to the manner born, fit to stand as a role model to a new generation.”