International Piano Stars Come to Kansas City

Behzod Abduraimov will perform at the Folly; 
Vadym Kholodenko will join the Symphony’s finale concert in June.

Behzod Abduraimov
Behzod Abduraimov

(Vadym Kholodenko pictured above)

Within a month of each other, two acclaimed concert pianists under the age of 30 will give highly anticipated performances in Kansas City. Heralded for their mastery and imagination, both Behzod Abduraimov and Vadym Kholodenko have already achieved the celebrated status of “international touring artist.”

Sandwiched between appearances in Istanbul and Madrid, Behzod Abduraimov will make his Kansas City solo recital debut at the Folly Theatre on May 15, presented by Park University’s International Center for Music (ICM).

Born in Uzbekistan, he attended Park to study with associate professor Stanislav Ioudenitch, founder of ICM and gold medalist in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2001.

Abduraimov enjoyed success while a student: winning the 2009 London International Piano Competition, releasing his first album, and starting his international touring career.

In the past few years, he’s touched down in Kansas City for appearances with the Kansas City Symphony and recital performances with Ioudenitch. He has ferocious abilities, leaning near to the keyboard to draw out vivid colorations with meticulous effort.

Appointed ICM artist-in-residence in 2013, Abduraimov retains Park University as his home base, practicing in Park’s Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel.

“He truly embodies the mission and vision of the ICM, which is to train performers for careers in music at the highest level,” Ingrid Stölzel, the ICM’s director, said in a recent email.

“Behzod has been an incredible ambassador for our program,” she added. “Who better to serve in that position than a performer who is a product of that very educational model.”

Following tours in Europe and Russia, 2013 Van Cliburn gold medalist Vadym Kholodenko will join the Kansas City Symphony for their June 19-21 finale concert of the season. He will perform Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s challenging and beautiful Piano Concerto No. 1 in Helzberg Hall.

Kholodenko’s career was well in hand when he was vaulted into the limelight at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He had already toured and competed and made recordings as a soloist and collaborative chamber musician.

He is an artist who leaves nothing behind, playing with a bold style of aggressive enjoyment. His performances are applauded for their elegance, inventiveness and wit.

A native of Ukraine, Kholodenko lives in Fort Worth, Tex., where he became the first artistic partner with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in 2014. The three-year appointment includes recording the entire Prokofiev concertos—he performed Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 3 for his Cliburn gold—and performing orchestral and chamber music with the symphony musicians.

The Cliburn is a grueling competition of stamina and artistry. In an email, Kholodenko wrote that it took a few weeks after winning before he felt excitement, exhausted from the experience.

The Tchaikovsky concerto slated for June is a lyrical and technical masterpiece that will enable him to showcase these aspects. Kholodenko noted the final orchestral episode in the third movement as a favorite part, a fitting moment of huge, splendid chords in a vast crescendo that leads to the triumphant climax.

About The Author: Libby Hanssen

Libby Hanssen

Libby Hanssen covers the performing arts in Kansas City. She maintains the culture blog, “Proust Eats a Sandwich,” and writes poetry and children’s books. She holds a master’s degree in trombone performance from UMKC Conservatory and currently works at UMKC’s Music/Media Library.

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