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Sunday, October 24, 2021

An orchestral showcase of Russian classics

There is no need to travel long distances to hear the fine acoustics and performances from elite world-class musicians. The Mondavi Center has attracted music groups, solo artists from all over the world, and tonight the Mondavi will now showcase a whole orchestra.

UC Davis students will have a unique chance to see them at the Robert and Margrit Modavi Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m in Jackson Hall.

Tickets are available at the Mondavi box office. Regular price tickets cost $45, $65 and $75, while student tickets are half the price.

Formed in 1990, the Russian National Orchestra was the first Russian orchestra that was completely independent of the then socialist national government. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, the Russian National Orchestra bring their all-star team to showcase Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Elegy for String Orchestra in G Major, as well as Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 35.

“There will be great drama from Tchaikovsky, everyone’s favorite Russian composer,” said Don Roth, executive director of the Mondavi in an e-mail interview. “In particular one of the most exciting and popular works ever his Violin Concerto. “

The second half of the program will feature Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 in E-flat Major, a more modern piece that highly contrasts the first half of the show.

In high demand all over the world, the orchestra has played for the Vatican, the Olympics, won over 60 awards and a Grammy in their relatively short career.

“In their 20 years, they have gone from accomplishment to accomplishment,” said international general manager to the Russian National Orchestra and UC Davis alumnus, Rich Walker. “Repeatedly astounding audiences with their exciting performances.”

From its start in 1990 the RNO has attracted top players from orchestras all over Russia. On this year’s tour, guest artists include conductors Vladimir Jurowski, Nicola Luisotti, Antonio Pappano, Alan Gilbert and soloists Martha Argerich, Yefim Bronfman, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Steven Isserlis, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Simone Kermes and Renée Fleming, among many others.

Conducting the performance at UC Davis is Mikhail Pletnev, a Russian pianist, conductor and composer. Pletnev won the gold medal at VI International Tchaikovsky Competition when he was 21, and has recently won a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance.

“Mikhail Pletnev is an outstanding musician,” said Christian Baldini, music director of the UCD Symphony Orchestra. “He is one of the world’s best living pianists. He is also a very fine conductor and it is exciting to hear him with his orchestra here in Davis.”

The RNO also brings violinist Stefan Jakiw, a musical prodigy who made his musical debut at age 12, to the Mondavi.

“[Jakiw’s] a very inspiring violinist,” Baldini said. “This should be a really phenomenal performance of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece.”

Roth encourages students to come out and experience something new.

“They will see and hear, an orchestra that, while relatively new, demonstrates the training that has made Russian musicians among the best in the world.” Roth said. “It is amazing how many beautifully trained musicians continue to come out of Russia.”

ANASTASIA ZHURAVLEVA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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