Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra had to scramble last month to replace the guest soloist for its concerts this weekend.
India-born pianist Pervez Mody was to have played Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the orchestra in SaddleBrooke on Saturday and Oro Valley on Sunday. But in mid-March, the orchestra learned that Mody, who lives in Germany, had to bow out due to a family emergency.
A few days later, the orchestra tapped a pianist closer to home to replace Mody — Russian-born Mikhail Korzhov, who lives in California. Korzhov is on the faculty of the University of California at Fullerton.
Korzhov, who studied in Moscow and earned his doctorate at USC, has appeared with orchestras and as a soloist throughout the United States and Europe. A champion of contemporary music, he won the 2005 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition in 2005. He has been critically acclaimed as a piano virtuoso: the Salt Lake Tribune called him a “major talent” who “belongs to that exclusive club of super musicians ... he already performs like a keyboard legend.”
In 2012, Korzhev recorded “Piano Classics Vol. 1” for Megatrax, which included works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.
SASO Music Director Linus Lerner will conduct the orchestra in a program that also includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Spanish-influenced and richly orchestrated Capriccio Espagnol and Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
Teen pianist Rebecca Shiao, a senior at Catalina Foothills High School, will perform the first movement of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 as the winner of the 2014 Dorothy Vanek Youth Concerto Competition held in early March.
The contest was sponsored by Dorothy Vanek, a staunch Tucson arts advocate who has supported the orchestra for several years.