It’s amazing how one learns on stage. Sometimes, actually most of the times, you learn by mistakes. Something doesn’t work during a concert and you swear not to repeat the mistake again. A few lucky times, you learn from something that goes really well. Something that magically works on the spot and you swear to repeat again at the earliest opportunity. And some other times you have an experience so intense that you need a long time to process all the information you collect during the concert.
I recently had the good fortune to play Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto with the amazing Yuri Temirkanov and his St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra on two different occasions. The first was at the Rostropovich Festival in Moscow and the second in Nizhni Novgorod. From the first phrase I realized that I was in for an inspiring collaboration, of course, but I also knew this was going to be a life lesson. I had constantly the feeling that every phrase, gesture and sound will continue to inspire me for years to come. The flexibility, sound, and sheer beauty of Maestro Temirkanov’s vision and the stunning delivery of every single musician of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic was truly one of a kind, and for this concerto it was beyond any doubt the right kind.
I always said that if I had to put together my dream team for any Rachmaninov concerto it would be Temirkanov and St. Petersburg, but this truly exceeded all my expectations.