After concerts with Kevin Rhodes in Springfield–we’ve done Liebermann’s 3rd (January 07) and Beethoven’s Emperor (March 08), Kevin said, ‘I’d love to do Prokofiev 2 with you next!’ Kevin is one of the most exciting and driven musicians I have met so far. he is also a consummate accompanist. This brought back many memories, for in 1983, I studied this warhorse with Adele Marcus while a student at The Juilliard School. On my cover copy is an autograph to me from the great Byron Janis. I ended up winning the concerto competition that year and played the concerto with the late Sixten Ehrling and the Juilliard Philharmonia–my first full concerto performance. In 1985, I won the William Kapell competition in Maryland (with National Symphony in the Kennedy Center) with the same concerto, and then an Oslo competition with the Oslo Philharmonic, again, ‘Prok 2′ as we called it. This was immediately followed by an invitation to play it three weeks later with the Danish National Radio Symphony in Copenhagen–the ever-amazing John Nelson conducted. That was the last time I performed this colossal concerto–my staple piece. Since then, everyone asks for the ‘Prok 3′, ‘Rach 3′, ‘Rach 2′. Taking out the score today was like meeting an old friend from many years ago, and the freshness of the music was overwhelming. So many of the chordal patterns and fingerings came back easily–others seemed like new territory. I can probably whisk the piece back into shape if I had to rather quickly. Having composed a good deal since then, the harmonic language seems very invigorating to me now–moreso than as a student. This is truly one of the great concerti, and I hope to have the pleasure to take it on the road many times again now.

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