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Master Pianist's Historic Return to America Starts in Princeton with Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition"

originally published: 02/07/2024

Master Pianist

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- On March 3 at 4:00pm, Altamura Legacy Concerts (ALC) at Princeton United Methodist Church presents master Russian pianist and Tchaikovsky Competition jury member Boris Petrushansky performing Mussorgsky's iconic Pictures at an Exhibition paired with Schumann's masterpiece Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6. This concert marks the septuagenarian’s historic return to the U.S.A. in over two decades.

Admission is $40, $10 for students, “cash at the door” or reserved seating by this Eventbrite link. The church is located on Nassau Street at Vandeventer Avenue.

Petrushansky’s visit continues with two masterclasses. On Monday, March 4 from 5:30pm-8:00pm at Taplin Hall on the Princeton campus, he will work with young pianists from the Music Department at Princeton University and on March 5 from 4:00pm-6:00pm he will be teaching Curtis Institute piano students at the Jacobs Music’s Philadelphia Steinway showroom.  These masterclasses are free and open to the public.

Altamura Legacy Concerts Artistic Director Cristina Altamura says “it a tremendous honor for us to facilitate Petrushansky’s return to the U.S.A. and it fulfills Legacy Arts International’s mission to preserve and cultivate the artistic legacies of significant artists, master teachers, and institutions. I have admired his poetic pianism, gentle manner, and profound teaching since I was a student in Italy. I am certain Princeton’s piano-loving audiences will be equally enthralled to watch him perform and teach.”

Born in 1949 in Moscow into musical family, Boris Petrushansky had among his early teachers the eminent Heinrich Neuhaus (author of the iconic book The Art of Piano Playing). Boris is included in Neuhaus' list of some of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century including Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter, and Radu Lupu.  After studying with Lev Naumov, he graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1975, having already distinguished himself in major international competitions, for example at Leeds in 1969, Munich in 1971, and Terni in 1975, where he won first prize. From there the list of concerts and accolades reads like an encyclopedia of prestigious concert halls, conductors, orchestras and record labels worldwide. In addition to his formidable pianism as a concert artist, Boris Petrushansky’s pedagogical pedigree is now considered historic. An immensely influential teacher from Italy’s Imola Piano Academy “Encounters with the Masters,” he has taught major competition winners from around the world.

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Petrushanky’s appearance in the USA is directly thanks to ALC Artistic Director and pianist Cristina Altamura. Altamura met Petrushansky during her Fulbright Fellowship and years of study in Italy in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with Imola Academy founder Franco Scala. She was personally asked by Scala to interview Petrushansky about the presence of Russian pianistic traditions at the Academy. In 2018, Altamura created a cultural exchange between the Italian academy and the Music Department at Princeton University. Connecting both institutions allowed her to introduce young pianists to Italy’s historic role as the birthplace of the piano (by Cristofori) and the Imola Academy as a hotbed of pianistic excellence. 

The concert series opens its doors at 3:30pm with a welcoming Coffee/Tea Bar in the venue organized by Illy At Earth’s End. Admission is $40, $10 for students, “cash at the door” or reserved seating by this Eventbrite link.

Altamura Legacy Concerts is a new concert series developed in 2023 by pianist and artistic director Cristina Altamura, featuring herself and a roster of guest artists performing on a newly restored 1924 Steinway B grand at Princeton United Methodist Church, home of the majestic Tiffany stained-glass window depicting St. George that graces its façade. Concerts are on selected Sundays at 4:00pm in the Sanford Davis Room of Princeton UMC, adjacent to the church’s sanctuary. Guest artists range from some of Italy’s and Russia’s most illustrious piano masters, to New York’s current avant-garde, to Princeton’s own community of distinguished pianists. Altamura will be joined by her husband, Sō Percussion’s Adam Sliwinski, for an informal talk at the beginning of each program. 

Upcoming Concerts 2023-24 Season:

April 7 at 4:00pm - Italian pianist, Andrea Turini performs J.S. Bach’s monumental Goldberg Variations. For more info, visit the Legacy Concerts page.

Registered as Inter-Cities Performing Arts, Inc. 501©3, Legacy Arts International is a Princeton-based non-profit musical arts organization which facilitates cultural exchange, initiates performances and educational programs to build vibrant artistic communities, and documents important artistic legacies.

In recognition of the cultural impact and enrichment the series brings to the Princeton area community, Altamura Legacy Concerts is proudly supported by Jacobs Music Company, one of the nation’s most respected piano merchants and the Tri-State region’s exclusive Steinway dealer representative for new, Steinway Factory restored, and certified pre-owned Steinway & Sons pianos, and Steinway’s Boston and Essex pianos.

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