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♫ 2024 SEASON


"Prelude to Spring"

Embassy of Kazakhstan
1401 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Natalia Kazaryan, Pianist

See Press Review ==>>


Washington International Piano Artists Competition

August 7-11, 2024


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DATELINE: 03/05/2024

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A Press Review of WIPAC's "Prelude to Spring" concert featuring Natalia Kazaryan, pianist, at the Embassy of Kasakhstan, and written by Henri and Lisa Polgar for

A black and white silhouette of a piano  Description automatically generatedDC area friends! I’m so excited to perform Grieg’s Piano concerto with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra on April 15th! I would love to see you there  Details in bio.   Posted @withregram • @alex_symphony Maestro Ross pairs two sym

WIPAC's Prelude to Spring Brings Music to Kazakhstan Embassy

by Henri Polgar and Lisa McFarren-Polgar

When concert pianist Natalia Kazaryan ”swept” into the beautiful salon of the Embassy of Kazakhstan to perform her recital celebrating WIPAC’s Prelude to Spring, she began with the Partita No. 2 in C minor by J. S.Bach, and “swept” her audience away, capturing the masterpiece’s intricate counterpoint, expressive melodies, and technical challenges.

Kazaryan's interpretation, marked by dexterity and musicality, brought out the full range of pianistic contrasts present in each movement of the suite, from the majestic Sinfonia to the lively Rondeau and the brilliant Capriccio. Bach's music requires both technical prowess and interpretive depth, and Kazaryan succeeded in conveying the richness and complexity of this Baroque masterpiece to her audience.

Johann Nicolaus Forkel, musicologist and Bach’s first biographer, wrote in 1802, “This work made in its time, a great noise in the musical world…. Such excellent compositions for the clavier had never been seen or heard before. Anyone who had learned to perform them well, could make his fortune in the world …. they are so brilliant, well sounding, expressive and always new.”

In her career as a concert artist, Natalia Kazaryan has been a champion of lesser-known composers, particularly women composers. For WIPAC’s Prelude to Spring, she performed French composer Lili Boulanger’s the Trois Morceaux pour Piano, D’un Vieux Jardin, D’un Jardin Clair, Cortege. Her interpretation of the pieces was poignant and she instinctively understood the distinctive harmonic language and emotional depth.
Lili Boulanger was the first woman composer to win the “Prix de Rome“ Composition Prize. She tragically died at age 24 of tuberculosis and pneumonia. As a part of a famous musical family, which included her father, Ernest Boulanger (composer and conductor), and especially her sister, Nadia Boulanger (composer and composition teacher of many famous American composers such an Aaron Copeland, Philip Glass, Elliot Carter, and others), the works of Lili Boulanger remain extant.
The final work of Ms. Kazaryan’s recital was the Tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel. Written as a Memorial to the French composer Francois Couperin, one of the major composers of the 18th century, the Tombeau de Couperin is comprised of a Prelude, Menuet, and Toccata. It is believed that Ravel wrote this piece in memoriam to his late mother, and to his friends who died in World War I.
The piece has a joyful and upbeat quality, which holds into question why Ravel would dedicate this piece to his war compatriots. Gerard McBurney, composer and musicologist commented, “Le Tombeau does not talk directly about the war; it talks about eternal values: it talks about beauty and elegance, the things we want to preserve …. in other words, the opposite of war.”
“The dead are sad enough in their eternal silence” was Ravel’s response when criticized for the apparent anomaly between the character of the piece and the dedication to those victims of war. The fact is, Ravel had seen the horrors of war when he served in combat driving an ambulance.
Indeed, pianist Kazaryan exquisitely performed the Tombeau de Couperin in an energetic and joyful style. As a musical scholar in her own right, perhaps the artist, who is known for performing benefit concerts for the children victimized by the current Ukranian war, is sending a message?

The audience was graciously welcomed by His Excellency, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Ashikbayev, and Mme. Dinara Ashikbayev, The Ambassador announced that the event was dedicated to the late WIPAC Emeritus President, Mr. Clayton Eisinger. His wife, visual artist Mrs. Susie Eisinger, co-chaired the concert with Stephen and Judith Baer.

Mme. Chateau Gardecki acknowledged Carolyn Fuller, WIPAC’s current President, and the great effort of Rhoda Septilici, WIPAC diplomatic liaison, for her efforts in organizing the event.
Following the concert, the attendants were feted to an exquisite feast of Kazakhstan food. The Embassy’s Councilor for Political Affairs, Dalel Ismagulov, commented that the most important ingredient in Kazakh food comes from the bottom of the heart.
Special guests at the Prelude to Spring concert were the US Special Envoy to Yemen, Timothy Lederking, the Hon. And Mrs. Valentin Motorga of Romania, Annie Simonian Totah, Suzzanne Tolstoy and Marina Poutiatine.


Important Announcement Regarding our 2024 Piano Competition

The dates for the 2024 Washington International Piano Artists Competition will be

Wednesday AUGUST 7 to Sunday AUGUST 11, 2024 at

The George Washington University Music Department,

Phillips Hall, B120, H and 22nd Streets NW, Washington DC

Arrangements for the FINAL ROUND TBA


2024 Washington International Piano Artists Competition Application Forms:

2024 Washington International Piano Artists Competition Application Form (docx)

2024 Washington International Piano Artists Competition Application Form (pdf)

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