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Virtuoso Pianist Polina Osetinskaya Launches North American Tour with a Solo Recital Debut at Koerner Hall

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Virtuoso Pianist Polina Osetinskaya
Virtuoso Pianist Polina Osetinskaya

The sublime virtuoso pianist and human rights advocate Polina Osetinskaya returns to Toronto for her Canadian solo debut featuring music from some of the greatest films of all time. Show One Productions and Cherry Orchard Festival present Baroque Music from the Greatest Movies of All Time a sprawling program featuring works by Bach, Handel, Purcell, and Rameau. Saturday, June 3, 8 p.m. at Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West. This solo debut launches the tour of a program that will also be presented at Boston’s Berklee Performance Center, San Francisco’s Herbst Theater, the Lighthouse Artspace Chicago, and New York’s Kaufman Concert Hall at the 92Y.  Tickets, starting at $48, may be obtained at the hall box office or online. More info is also online at https://showoneproductions.ca.

Music by Bach, Handel, Purcell, and Rameau have been prominently featured in movie soundtracks like Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, Jean-Paul Genet’s Casanova, not to mention in films by Tarkovsky, Greenaway, and Bergman. These works have become some of the most popular and enduring musical masterpieces in history. In Baroque music, Osetinskaya has found a harmonious companion for cinema classics that, for her, “Gives you a feeling of being protected. Baroque music is much more objective than music of the 19th century, for example. Everyone, and every emotion, can be found in this music.”

Osetinskaya’s genuine charm and impeccable attention to musical detail will make you understand why she rose to international acclaim as a soloist in demand by the greatest conductors on stage today from Carnegie Hall to Vienna’s Musikverein and London’s Barbican Centre. She began her career at the age of five and was soon recognized as a wunderkind, giving her first solo concert at the age of six and going on to study with Marina Wolf and Vera Gornostaeva. She’s since performed on international stages ranging from Rome’s Teatro Argentina, to Germany, Poland, Israel, Tokyo, the United States, and more. She’s also collaborated with the likes of Maxim Vengerov, Alexander Knyazev, Julian Milkis, Theodor Currentzis, and more. Osetinskaya is also a published author with a harrowing reflection on her childhood in her memoir, Farewell Sadness. Hers is a contemplative mind  with reflections across a wide horizon, creating in various genres, including  on the theatrical stage wherein she both acts and performs as a musician.

Osetinskaya has been a life-long human rights advocate, supporting political prisoners, performing charity recitals for patients in hospice care, and working as a trustee for Oxygen Foundation to support children with cystic fibrosis. Elsewhere, she has been vocal about her anti-war stance while remaining in Moscow, and has faced cancellation of her concerts in all state and government concert halls. In an interview with VAN Magazine, Osetinskaya reflected on how her childhood has prepared her to adapt to this censorship: “I remember when I was seven, [I] would go to the concerts of the big rock groups like Aquarium that were playing concerts in private apartments. This kind of underground culture of the early ‘80s is suddenly coming back. I’ll continue to play in those places, because the people who can’t leave Russia or prefer to stay in their own country and fight as they can for truth need art and music to heal their pain.”

YouTube Video – Polina Osetinskaya. Toronto 2023

About Polina Osetinskaya

Internationally renowned pianist Polina Osetinskaya began playing piano at age five and was soon designated a wunderkind in the former Soviet Union, giving her first concert at the age of six. She entered the Central School of Music of the Moscow Conservatory at seven, continued her studies at the Leningrad Conservatory with Marina Wolf, and later attended the Moscow Conservatory training with the legendary Vera Gornostaeva.

Osetinskaya appears on the most prestigious world stages including Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall; Barbican Hall, the Musikverein Vienna, as well as in her alma mater, the Moscow Conservatory; she performs in Rome, Tokyo, Milan, Brussels, and across the US; and at festivals throughout Europe, the US, Russia, and Mexico. She has appeared with the MusicAeterna, Mariinsky Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic, collaborating with chamber partners including Maxim Vengerov and Julian Milkis, and working with conductors including Teodor Currentzis, Tugan Sokhiev, Laurent Petitgirard and Alexander Sladkovsky, among others.

In recital, Osetinskaya is known for her experimental programs, juxtaposing works by contemporary composers with traditional classical repertoire. She is also very much at home with post–avant-garde composers such as Valentin Silvestrov, Leonid Desyatnikov, and Arvo Pärt, presenting her project An Unknown Friend at Carnegie Hall with Russian actress Kseniya Rappoport. She has recorded on the Quartz, Naxos, Sony Music, Bel Air, and Melodiya labels. Osetinskaya has been awarded the Maly Triumph prize, and has authored the bestseller Farewell, Sadness — an autobiographical account of her wunderkind years.

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