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Polish piano phenom Konrad Skolarski returns to Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

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Thu, Feb 20th 2020 12:45 pm

Skolarski to perform virtuosic Rachmaninoff concerto with BPO; solo recital part of Kleinhans’ ‘Centerstage’ series & master class for piano students

Konrad Skolarski, one of Poland’s leading pianists, made his Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra debut in the fall of 2017, swiftly becoming a favorite of audiences. He returns at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 8, with what the BPO called “Rachmaninoff’s masterful Piano Concerto No. 2, an unassailably epic work of genius, one of the greatest in the piano repertoire. Maestro JoAnn Falletta conducts the program, which also features works by two French Romantic masters: Claude Debussy with his dreamy Prelude to ‘Afternoon of a Faun,’ and two works by Florent Schmitt, ‘Legende’ for violin and orchestra, and his musical fresco of power and drama, the fabled ‘Oriane and The Prince of Love.’ ”

Skolarski started to learn to play the piano at the age of 4. He graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw in 2007, studying under Alicja Paleta-Bugaj, and continued postgraduate studies with Pavel Gililov. As a concert pianist, Skolarski is known for his extraordinary technique, recognizable style and interpretation, and the sophistication of the works he chooses to play. He recently performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Polish National Philharmonic under Maestro Mikhail Jurowski and the Israel Camerata Orchestra Jerusalem under Maestro Avner Biron. He has also given recent recitals at the 20th Beethoven Easter Festival and 30th Izmir International Festival.

His performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 received critical acclaim, and is included on the BPO’s recording “Treasures of Poland.”

“(Konrad) is a world-class musician with a distinct voice, astonishing technical ability, beautiful tone and charismatic personality – one of the leading pianists in the world today,” BPO Music Director JoAnn Falletta said.

Skolarski will precede his BPO performance with a solo recital as part of Kleinhans Music Hall’s “Centerstage” series, which gives audiences an up-close-and-personal concert experience with the performer in the middle of the main stage and the audience seated onstage surrounding them. At 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, he performs Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata “Pathetique” in.C minor op. 13 – a nod to the composer’s 250th birthday being celebrated worldwide this year, as well as several works by Chopin.

A very limited number of tickets are available.

Skolarski will also present a piano master class at Kleinhans Music Hall at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5, featuring Williamsville North High School students Christian Brann, Debosir Ghosh and Gio Kharchilava, and Nichols School student Michael McClure. These students will work one-on-one with Skolarski in front of a live audience.

The master class is free and open to the public, but reservations should be made in advance online at bpo.org or by calling the Kleinhans Music Hall Box Office at 716-885-5000.

Tickets to Skolarski’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the BPO, “Centerstage” solo recital at Kleinhans, and reservations to his master class at the BPO Clement House are available now. The Kleinhans box office is open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, visit bpo.org.

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