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Bach Goldberg Variations Candlelight Concert
Aug 26, 2021 @ 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm
The Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach is one of the great hallmarks of the keyboard repertoire.
Legend has it that German Count Kaiserling struggled with insomnia, thus commissioned Bach to write a work to be performed by his personal harpsichordist Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, that would cheer him up during his sleepless nights.
More than 200 years later, Glenn Gould’s legendary recording made the Goldberg Variations a household name. We are thrilled to welcome the First Prize winner of the prestigious Bach competition in Leipzig, Ilya Poletaev, pianist/harpsichordist. Be sure not to miss this concert – it is stuff legends are made of.
Note: Washroom accessibility will be limited
Johann Sebastian Bach, Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1741)
(Concert duration: 70 minutes, no intermission)
Ilya Poletaev, pianist/harpsichordist
A musician with a fiercely inquisitive mind, impeccable technique and an intensely poetic vision, Ilya Poletaev is an artist equally at home on the modern piano or on historical keyboards: harpsichord, fortepiano, and chamber organ. Hailed as “one of the most significant pianists of his generation” by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, he launched his career after capturing First Prize at the prestigious International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig in 2010 — the only Canadian ever to win that competition. He has since appeared at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, KlavierFestival Ruhr, Dresdner MusikFesttäge, Potsdam Musikfestspiele, Leipzig BachFest, Montreal Bach Festival, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and Chamber Music Society, St. Paul’s Ordway Center, Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, Caramoor Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, and many other prestigious venues. He also was the Grand Prize winner of the 2008 Concorso Sala Gallo in Italy, a laureate of the 2008 Canadian Stepping Stone, a top prize-winner at the 2007 SEHKS harpsichord competition, and a prize-winner at the 2011 George Enescu Competition in Bucharest. In 2009 he joined the roster of Astral Artists and is currently an Astral Artist laureat.
As a solo harpsichordist, Mr. Poletaev appeared at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Pierpont Morgan Library, Helicon Foundation, Ordway Center in St. Paul, Minnesota (with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, both in chamber formations and under the leadership of Christian Zacharias), Montreal’s Salle Bourgie, the Aston Magna Early Music Festival, Amherst Early Music Festival, and Yale’s Collection of Musical Instruments. As a continuo player, he has performed with Masaaki Suzuki, Andrew Lawrence-King, Steven Stubbs, Nicholas McGegan, Simon Carrington, Graham O’Reilly, Matthias Maute, and Helmuth Rilling. He can be heard in both solo and continuo roles on several recordings with the Yale Schola Cantorum (Bach’s 1725 St. John Passion; Bertali’s Missa Resurrectionis, among others) – all issued on the ReZound label.
In addition to performing classical repertoire, Mr. Poletaev is also active as an improviser, both as a soloist and a creator of live scores for silent film.
A dedicated teacher, Mr. Poletaev is currently Associate Professor of Piano at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal. He is also Assistant Director at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival’s Choral Week. He previously served on the faculty of Yale University as a Lecturer in Early Music. He has given numerous master classes and talks on performance practice in many of the world’s most prestigious music schools, including the San Francisco Conservatory, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the Buchman-Mehta Music Academy in Tel-Aviv, Rubin Academy in Jerusalem, Royal Conservatory in Toronto, and the Conservatorio di Milano. His students have been the recipients of many distinguished prizes and scholarships.
Mr. Poletaev began studying in Moscow at the age of six and continued his studies in Israel until he moved to Canada at the age of 14. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, where he studied with pianist Marietta Orlov, harpsichordist Colin Tilney, and composition with Walter Buczynski, as well as Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Yale, where he studied with Boris Berman.