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Iffley Anglo-Russian Music Festival

4th February 2008

Dear All
Received from a member
Best wishes
Ute

Dear Ute,

I started the Iffley Music Society 12 years ago and the "Iffley
Anglo-Russian Music Festival" is our most ambitious event to date –
actually, a series of events, a festival over the week-end of 22-24
February.

I attach a copy of what will appear in the local Oxford Times about the
event. Anyone thinking of coming can phone me on 01865 777276 or send an
email to [removed]. Tickets cost �10 per concert, but
there's a reduction if you attend more than one.

Thanks very much for your help in this. Our members could combine
brilliant music with a pleasant week-end in Oxford.

Warmest wishes,

Michael

IFFLEY MUSIC SOCIETY PIANO FESTIVAL. FEBRUARY 22 � 24, 2008

For young musicians, an Oxford gig is a perfect warm-up for the pressures
of the Purcell Room or the Wigmore Hall, indeed for the world at large. We
offer audiences open to a wide repertoire, thrilled to be at the cutting
edge of emerging talent. One such opportunity is Iffley Music Society.
Founded by music-enthusiast Michael Bourdeaux in 1996, the society stages
half a dozen concerts a year in the glorious old church and hall of Iffley
village. The emphasis is on informality and accessibility, with players
writing their own programme notes and discussing the music between
numbers. Over the years, Michael has built up a lively and faithful
following, but never has be staged quite such an ambitious event as this
up-coming piano festival.

On Friday evening, 21-year old Cordelia Williams launches the festival
with a piece of showmanship from a youthful Bach � his Toccata in F#
minor. Cordelia is the daughter of a piano teacher and gave her first
public recital at the age of 8, going on to win the piano section winner
of �Young Musician of the Year� in 2006. Not content with exposing just
her own talents, in the live television finale she chose to premiere
�Absentia� by her friend Hugh Brunt. Hugh is well known to Oxford
audiences as the conductor of Oxford University Philharmonia and other
enterprises during his recent sojourn at New College. Since �Absentia�,
Cordelia has commissioned two more piano pieces from him, and the complete
triptych gets its first airing at this concert.

It would be a mistake to think novelty and youth were the only
characteristics Williams offers. As a student of theology, she is not
embarrassed to discuss the spiritual element of her work. For the
culmination of her concert, she has chosen Schubert's last piano sonata,
written just a couple of months before his death at the age of 31. Of the
music, Williams says �there are outbursts of fire and anger, but also
moments which I believe to be among the most beautiful in all music,
moments of communion with the sublime. This sonata seems to me to be a
reflective journey through life; it encompasses the whole of our world and
more.�

From Viennese universality to dancing in the streets of Buenos Aires – at
lunchtime on Saturday, the 21 year-old Russian Alexandra Krylova will give
a recital full of fireworks, its high-point being a flamboyant sonata by
Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera. The lunchtime concert next day
will contain old favorites by Schubert and Bach, as well as Beethoven,
Mozart and Chopin. At 18 years of age, pianist Craig Greene is the
youngest in the festival.

The evening concerts on Saturday and Sunday provide exposure for two more
young Russians. Iffley music-lovers are big fans of 27 year-old Elena
Vorotko, who has played for them twice before. She came to England from
the Russian Central Volga region, first to study at the Purcell School and
then at the Royal Academy of Music. Two years ago, her work as a composer
came to our notice when the choir of New College performed her
prize-winning choral piece. Elena specialises in Bach and Schumann, whose
music fills her programme in Iffley.

Last but not least, Veronika Ilinskaya arrives on Sunday evening. She grew
up in Moscow and was taught piano by her mother and later at the Moscow
Conservatoire�s Central Music School.

�Growing up in the country with so glorious and rich cultural heritage
couldn�t leave me uninvolved in the eventful musical life there,� says
Veronika. �Apart from inspiring atmosphere and access to so much
repertoire, materials, great teachers and historical concerts–during
these years I also got accustomed to discipline and hard work from the
start.�

Veronikia came to the UK to study at the Guildhall School of Music. Of
this she says, �It helped me to become aware of deeper level of
musicianship to aim for, close studies of other forms of art, history and
literature, and it also assisted me to become an independent, to have my
own musical opinion and to start my performing life travelling across UK
and Europe with concerts and doing to competitions and festivals.�

Last summer she played with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at
the Henley Festival and is now making her first commercial CD of
Scriabin's Piano Concerto, also with the CBSO. Her programme for Iffley
emphasises her interest in Russian music, with a popular sonata by Medtner
(the contemporary of Rachmaninoff who spent his last 15 years in the UK)
and a suite by Prokofiev taken from his brilliant Cinderella ballet.

Like the composers she champions, Veronika is a true cosmopolitan. Not
content to settle in a commercial niche, she recently graduated from the
Mannes School of Music in New York, where she held a scholarship.

�Now, when I am back to Europe,� she says, �I hope to share my love for
changes, different views and discoveries which I try to integrate through
my work, because I believe that it is appreciation of all differences
which makes people to be closer and richer.�

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