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Piano festival showcases full range of keyboard virtuosity

By Lawrence Budmen Special Correspondent - May 15 2007

Rachmaninoff's 9 Etudes-Tableaux, Op.39 are rarely performed due to their extreme technical demands. Steeped in brooding melancholia, the etudes are a formidable test of a pianist's endurance and artistry. Russian firebrand Alexander Gavrylyuk, winner of the 2005 Artur Rubinstein International Competition, attacked the pieces with heated passion and manic intensity that did not slight the scores' more ruminative episodes…Gavrylyuk gave a sensational performance of the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. He captured the music's romantic urgency and dispatched dazzling finger work at rapid speed…

'Rhapsody' shines brightest at piano Rach fest

Miami Herald - May 14, 2007

Alexander Gavrylyuk's coiled virtuosity and fleet-fingered articulation fit the Rhapsody like a well-tailored glove. The Ukrainian pianist captured the music's scherzando essence with power and poetry, floating the famous 18th variation in a fresh and natural way and throwing off the headlong final moments with thrilling combustibility.

Piano festival serves up a savory, all-Rachmaninoff feast

Miami Herald - May. 10, 2007

For most concertgoers, the name Rachmaninoff conjures up thoughts of fleet fingers and lush melodies. Yet a deep melancholy and a wild sense of diablerie also are present in much of his music. The opening of the Miami International Piano Festival's 10th-anniversary season certainly did the composer proud, as three pianists presented differing views on perhaps the last of the great composer/pianists Wednesday night at the Lincoln Theatre.

Alexander Gavrylyuk began the all-Rachmaninoff feast with the Op. 39 Etudes-Tableaux -- nine pieces in all. There's a good reason why most pianists fear playing the complete set. The score is dark with black print, and interpretive niceties only come after one acquires the technical skills to avoid drowning in the sea of notes.

Gavrylyuk performance with the CSO 'sensation of the season'

The Chautauquan Daily - July 16, 2007 (excerpt)

The sensationally gifted pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk has become the sensation of this season’s Chautauqua Festival. His playing of the first Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto created an audience reaction seldom experienced. It was certainly one of the most gripping performances of the work live or recorded this reviewer has ever encountered.

Ashkenazy Reveals Prokofiev's Postwar Hope

The Sydney Morning Herald - 17 November 2009 - by Peter McCallum

The pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk had a brilliant success with his performance of the Piano Concerto No. 3 in C, Opus 26, attacking the spiky articulated fingerwork of the first movement and the close of the second like one possessed. His demonic approach to the passage work of the finale is like that of a mercurial circus performer conspiring to dazzle and astonish.

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