Thursday, September 10, 1998
Concert 1 * Oct. 18-20, 1998
Soloist, Alexander Kniazev, cello
Program Highlights: Prokofiev: Classical Symphony
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations, featuring cellist Alexander Kniazev
Brahms: Symphony No. 1
Resume: Although Yablonsky studied at Juilliard (pre-college division), Yale and Curtis, he has not previously been engaged to conduct professionally in this country. His resume is a patchwork of guest appearances and appointments, tours and academies, from Russia to Belgium to Spain. Yablonsky's "day job," which he has so far not given up, is that of cellist, both as soloist (he appeared in that role during Monterey County Symphony performances of Beethoven's >"Triple" Concerto in 1977) and as principal chair of orchestras in Spain and Norway. Yablonsky is named as principal guest conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Shaliapin Academy of Catalonia, Spain.
Said to be: a mystery man. Given the paucity of his experience as a conductor, the process of evaluating Yablonsky will depend heavily on his actual work here. Most music directors have goals in mind--including a particular "sound" or quality of ensemble--that support their interpretive visions and programming ideas. But no matter how clear this is in the music director's mind, it takes time to achieve such results. Getting specific critiques on Yablonsky's artistic accomplishments has proven difficult, to say the least. His performances here will need to demonstrate unequivocally the basis for his selection.
Watch/listen for: Yablonsky's biggest test will be the Brahms, a well-known work that summarizes and expands upon the classical style with great contrapuntal detail. Brahms' distinctive style goes far beyond the limitations of the printed score. Yablonsky will have to demonstrate both an understanding of Brahms' distinctive style and an interpretive vision for the whole work.
Bottom Line: Ambition is not a substitute for experience. Yablonsky's talent will really have to catch fire if he's going to make a great showing here.