Natasha ParemskiPiano
Alfredo RodriguezPiano

Natasha Paremski and Alfredo Rodriguez

Friday, September 27, 2019 | 7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information
San Francisco

$70/$55/$45

THE SHENSON PIANO SERIES

Program

PROKOFIEV: Visions Fugitives, Op. 22
RAVEL: Gaspard de la Nuit
BALAKIREV: Islamey

Performance Sponsors

Robert and Ruth Dell, Individual Sponsors

About This Performance

Pianists Natasha Paremski and Alfredo Rodriguez combine their individual musical fireworks. One is known as a galvanizing young classical artist and the other a Cuban jazz composer/interpreter. Their “call-and-response” style program makes historical masterworks ingenious material for interplay and improvisation.

Performer Biographies

With her consistently striking and dynamic performances, pianist Natasha Paremski reveals astounding virtuosity and voracious interpretive abilities. She continues to generate excitement from all corners as she wins over audiences with her musical sensibility and powerful, flawless technique.

The 2018-19 season features recitals in New York and Chicago, in addition to concerto appearances in North America, as well as Europe and South America. Her recording of Fred Hersch’s Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky— commissioned for her by the Gilmore Festival—will be released in early 2019 on the Steinway & Sons label alongside Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Natasha is a regular return guest of many major orchestras, including Minnesota Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Grant Park Festival, Winnipeg Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Elgin Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom she has performed every year since 2008 in venues such as Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, and Cadogan Hall. She has performed with major orchestras in North America including Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, NAC Orchestra in Ottawa, Nashville Symphony.

Natasha was awarded several prestigious prizes at a very young age, including the Gilmore Young Artists prize in 2006 at the age of eighteen, the Prix Montblanc in 2007, the Orpheum Stiftung Prize in Switzerland. In September 2010, she was awarded the Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year. Her first recital album was released in 2011 to great acclaim, topping the Billboard Classical Charts, and was re-released on the Steinway & Sons label in September 2016 featuring Islamey recorded on Steinway’s revolutionary new Spirio technology. In 2012 she recorded Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Fabien Gabel on the orchestra’s label distributed by Naxos.

She has toured extensively in Europe with such orchestras as Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Vienna’s Tonkünstler Orchester, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre de Bretagne, the Orchestre de Nancy, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchester in Zurich, Moscow Philharmonic, under the direction of conductors including Thomas Dausgaard, Peter Oundjian, Andres Orozco-Estrada, Jeffrey Kahane, James Gaffigan, JoAnn Falletta, Fabien Gabel, Rossen Milanov and Andrew Litton. In addition, she has toured with Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica in Latvia, Benelux, the United Kingdom and Austria as well as appearances with National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra in Taipei.

Natasha has given recitals at the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, Wigmore Hall, Schloss Elmau, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, Verbier Festival, Seattle’s Meany Hall, Kansas City’s Harriman Jewell Series, Santa Fe’s Lensic Theater, Ludwigshafen BASF Series, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Tokyo’s Musashino Performing Arts Center and on the Rising Stars Series of Gilmore and Ravinia Festivals.

Natasha began her piano studies at the age of four with Nina Malikova at Moscow’s Andreyev School of Music. She then studied at San Francisco Conservatory of Music before moving to New York to study with Pavlina Dokovska at Mannes College of Music, from which she graduated in 2007. Natasha made her professional debut at age nine with El Camino Youth Symphony in California. At the age of fifteen she debuted with Los Angeles Philharmonic and recorded two discs with Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.

Born in Moscow, Natasha moved to the United States at the age of eight becoming a U.S. citizen shortly thereafter, and is now based in New York.

Alfredo Rodriguez is an internationally acclaimed Cuban jazz pianist who, due to his formal training, is as proficient at playing classical music as he is his chosen genre.

Rodriguez was born in Havana in 1985 and named for his father, a popular singer, television host, and entertainer. He began his musical studies on percussion at the age of seven and training on the piano at age 10. He was enrolled in the Manuel Saumell Conservatory, and later at the Amadeo Roldan Music Conservatory. He won classical competitions in both schools.

The Köln Concert He also received some on-the-spot training; at the age of 14, he began playing with and arranging for his father’s orchestra. At the age of 15, he received Keith Jarrett’s classic Köln Concert album as a gift from an uncle, and his ears were opened to improvisation.

Rodriguez eventually studied at Cuba’s premier school, Instituto Superior de Arte, where he also won several competitions.

In 2006, he was invited to play the Montreux Jazz Festival. The festival’s founder, Claude Nobs, requested he play privately at his home for Quincy Jones. The producer and arranger liked what he heard and wanted to work with the young pianist. It took three years for that to come to pass.

While working with his father in Mexico, Rodriguez decided to relocate to the United States with nothing but his clothes and a suitcase. He was arrested at the border in Laredo, but he was resistant and insisted that he be let in because he was a musician and was going to work with Jones. Remarkably, he eventually convinced them; they let him in and even put him in a cab.

Rodriguez began working wherever he could, eventually finding his way and forming his own trio. His first collaboration with Jones was later in 2009 where, at the latter’s request, he collaborated with him, Chinese composer Tan Dun, and songwriter Siedah Garrett to compose the English-version theme song Better City, Better Life for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

The young pianist continued to wow critics and club-goers. He toured incessantly, opening for any number of jazz and popular music artists. He played not only Montreux again, but also the Playboy, Detroit, Newport, San Francisco, North Sea, Umbria, and Vienna Jazz Festivals, and in prestigious jazz clubs including Ronnie Scott’s, Yoshi’s, and The Blue Note.

In 2011, Rodriguez signed with Detroit’s jazz label Mack Avenue Records. His debut album, Sounds of Space—co-produced by the artist and Jones—was issued in 2012, winning wide critical acclaim and resulting in more touring opportunities. In the spring of 2014, Rodriguez, his trio, and notable guests issued The Invasion Parade (again co-produced with Jones), a collection of originals based on Cuban folk traditions as well as standards from his homeland.

The association with the legendary producer continued for his next Mack Avenue recording, 2016’s Tocororo. Named for the Cuban bird that dies of sadness if caged, for the artist it reflects: "…not only the desire for liberty, but the necessity of it…freedom, travel, and the cross-pollination of Cuban culture…" His guests on the album, Richard Bona, Ibrahim Maalouf and Ibeyi underscored that notion. In 2018, the pianist returned with his fourth studio album, A Little Dream.