Day of Russia in New York, 2008


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Day of Russia

1st Half (Classical concert - 40 min).
Beginning at 8:30 - 8:35 PM

  1. Sarah Heltzel, mezzo-soprano

    2006 Apprentice Award from Chautauqua Opera and a winner in the 2004 Sun Valley Opera Competition.

    Georges Bizet - Habanera from opera "Carmen"

    Giacomo Puccini - Musetta's Waltz from opera "La Boheme"

    Marina Struleva, piano

  2. Mikhail Svetlov, bass

    Winner of the Viotti International Competition, two Telerama Awards and a Grammy Award nomination.

    Charles Gounod - Mephistopheles song from opera "Faust"

    Mikhail Glinka - Farlaf's Rondo from opera "Ruslan and Lyudmila"

    Pavlina Dokovska, piano

  3. Denis Matsuev, piano

    The Gold medal winner of the world's most prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition.

    Alexander Scriabin - Etude Op. 8 No. 12

    Franz Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

  4. Borislav Strulev, cello

    The world-renowned cellist and winner of the international competitions.

    Isaak Dunayevsky/Sergey Dreznin: Fantasy on the music to the film Circus

    Denis Matsuev, piano

  5. Vasily Romani, tenor

    One of the best known gypsy singers in the world.

    Nickolay Zhemchuzhniy - Russian Song "The Wind" / "Veter"

    arr. David Kurcheshvili

  6. Grand Finale for all performers

    Potpourri: "Dorogoy Dalniyu = New York, New York!"

2nd half (Entertainment concert - up to the End).
Beginning at 9:30 PM (approximately)

From mother Russia to the brotherhood of BOP

From Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers

Russian-born trumpeter Valery Ponomarev and his 18 - piece Jazz Big Band VP with Special Guests: Kids dancing Show.


Denis Matsuev

Denis Matsuev, Pianist

The very real thing-an absolute powerhouse of a pianist
Washington Post
Perhaps he is the new Horowitz
London Times

Denis Matsuev has become a fast-rising star on the international concert stage after his triumphant victory at the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and has quickly established himself as one of the most sought after pianists in his generation.

Mr. Matsuev has appeared in hundreds of recitals at prestigious concert halls throughout the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Salle Gaveau and Théâtre de Champs Elysée in Paris, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Musikhalle in Hamburg, Musikverein in Vienna, Royal Festival Hall in London, Great Hall of the Conservatoire in Moscow, Great Hall of Philharmonie in St. Petersburg, La Scala in Milan, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and the new Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall in St. Petersburg.

He has given brilliant performances in numerous festivals including the “Russian Winter” Festival in Moscow, “Stars of White Nights” in St. Petersburg, Andrew Lloyd Webber Festival in London, Auvers-Sur-Oise Festival and La Cote-St-Andre (Berlioz) Festival in France, Chopin Festival in Dushniki, Poland, Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Essen, Germany, Shanghai International Arts Festival, and festivals in Brazil, China, Spain, and Turkey.

Highlights of 2006-2007 included return engagements to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, concerts at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg under Mariss Jansons, his debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, concerts with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Vladimir Fedoseyev, a European tour with the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev, a tour in Israel with “Moscow Virtuosi” and Vladimir Spivakov, and performances in Teatro alla Scala with Lorin Maazel.  He toured in Greece, Switzerland and Italy with St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov, in Great Britain with Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Fedoseyev, and made his recital debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

In a season 2007-2008 Mr. Matsuev opened the season of Houston Symphony Orchestra with Hans Graf, debuted in Luxemburg with Liege Philharmonic Orchestra, in Chicago with Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin at the Ravinia Festival. The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra has chosen Mr. Matsuev to be the major soloist in their tour in Asia. He has appeared with recital in Isaac Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, will join the Ravinia Festival in Chicago and the Mariinsky Theatre concert Hall in St. Petersburg.

Mr. Matsuev is Artistic Director of two festivals in Russia: “Stars on Baikal” in Irkutsk and “Crescendo” in Moscow.

Borislav Strulev

Borislav Strulev, Cellist

Russian cellist Borislav Strulev has been fascinating audiences on some of the world’s most prestigious stages since his U.S. debut at the Kennedy Center in 1993 arranged on initiative of Isaac Stern, Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn and Byron Janis with whom he made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1999 playing F. Chopin Sonata.

Critics call him a

soloist... with a rich, singing tone
The New York Times
He produced a gorgeous sound
Daily News of Japan
Channeling no one, or perhaps God
Associated Press

Mr. Strulev was privileged to play at the “Tribute to Oscar Peterson” at Carnegie Hall. He took part in 6th Annual Russian Rhapsody - Eventica in London as well as to perform at the French Gala “rEvolution” - “Voulez-Vous” for World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Mr. Strulev took part in the 100th anniversary of Diaghilev's “Saisons Russes” within the CRESCENDO Festival - Paris edition in December 2007 - playing with pianist Denis Matsuev at Salle Gaveau. He performs and records with major pop band of Russia - UMA2URMAN. At the 92 Street Y in New York he performed as well as cu rated concerts entitled “Russian Sundays at the Y”. He performed with the celebrated Terem Quartet for their 25th Anniversary. Mr. Strulev is currently producing “Mythodea: Music for the NASA Mission - 2001 Mars Odyssey” of Oscar-winning composer VANGELIS for chamber ensemble as well as performing his numerous cello works.

Mr. Strulev’s orchestral appearances include Detroit Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Nazionale della RAI, WDR Symphony Orchestra- Köln, NÖ Tonkünstler Orchestra, Helsingborg Symphony, Orquestra del Principado de Asturias, NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra, Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, Moscow Virtuosi, Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra.

He performs at numerous important occasions such as opening of 27th International Film Festival in Moscow invited by Nikita Mikhalkov, Denis Matsuev’s “Crescendo” Festival (under auspices of Ministry of Culture and President Vladimir Putin), the United Nations in New York, Unesco in Vienna, where he played in honor of such celebrated figures as Prince Alexis N. Obolensky, Gorbachev, Clinton, Berlusconi, mayor Giuliani, JAY-Z, Billy Joel, Sean Lennon, Lord Lloyd Webber, U2’s Bono and G8 by special invitation of President Putin. He performed “Svyati Boje” by John Tavener on the occasion of Festival of Slavic Literacy in front of 30,000 people.

Mr. Strulev debut recording on French label LYRINX includes Rachmaninov and Schostakovich sonatas. The same label is to release his debut orchestral recording of Arvo Pärt’s Pro et Contra, Erkki-Sven Tüür’s concerto, and Daniel Schnyer’s cello concerto (world premiere). Mr. Strulev is special guest on significant crossover recordings with Regina Carter on “Paganini: after a dream” with celebrated mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and Eliane Elias on “Lost Days”. He has collaborated with Bobby McFerrin, Roger Kellaway, Vangelis and Billy Joel.

Mr. Strulev plays a cello by master Luigi Piattellini, Florence (1777) on a loan from Dmitry Gindin.

Sergei Dreznin

Sergei Dreznin, Composer/Pianist

Sergei Dreznin, a Moscow-born, Paris-based, award-winning pianist and composer trained in Russia’s finest music schools. His “dual personality” as piano virtuoso and composer helps him create unusual interpretation of classical works; reviving XIX century tradition, he often includes improvisation in his recitals. He produced 14 of his own music theater projects. Currently Sergei is producing Catherine the Great – a musical epic in Russia and in Germany. He was educated at the Russian Academy of Music (as a pianist and a teacher), Tchaikovsky Conservatory (as a composer), Vienna Hochschule in conducting. His most important symphonic scores are Requiem for the Victims of Nazis, Dante Concerto, Circus Fantasy, Songs of Victory, For Whom the Bell Tolls – In Memoriam 9.11, Jewish Folk Poetry (after Dm. Shostakovich), to premiere in May 2007 by Vladimir Spivakov. He performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Royal Albert Hall, Santa Cecilia, House of Music & Tschaikovsky Concert Hall (Moscow).

His Original music theater productions include Chansons und Satiren aus Theresienstadt (Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, New York, Washington, etc.), Ophelia – opera in blue (Vienna, London, Yale, New York 2007), Romeo & Juliet in Sarajevo (Vienna, Bosnia, Croatia), Don Juan and Feast During the Plague (Moscow, Vienna, Berlin), children’s opera Max & Moritz (Vienna), rock fairy tale Rotkäppchen! (Red Riding, Vienna), futurist opera Victory Over the Sun with costumes designed by Kazimir Malevich (Vienna, Moscow, St. Petersburg), 9.11 –The Witness (Vienna, New York), directed among others by George Tabori, Alexei Levinsky & Francesca Zambello.

Important recordings: Dante Concerto and Circus Fantasy, Gidon Kremer & Kremerata Baltica (CD Kremerland, Deutsche Gramophon), Chansons & Satiren aus Theresienstadt (BMG Ariola), Romeo & Juliet in Sarajevo (Extraplatte), Ophelia – opera in blue (LeoRecords, London).

Important recital venues: Salzburg Festival, Konzerthaus (Austria), Movemento Populare (Rimini), Festival Akzente (Berlin), Bard Music Festival (USA), Sviatoslav Richter Festival (Russia), Cite des Arts (Paris, France). Performes together among others with Denis Matsuev, Elfi Eichinger, Arcady Shilkloper, Vladimir Spivakov & Borislav Strulev.


Mikhail Svetlov

Mikhail Svetlov, Bass

...Mikhail Svetlov was a sensation!
La Presse, Montreal
The evening, indeed, was rich in deep voice, with Mikhail Svetlov….first rate
New York Times

Celebrated bass and international opera star Mikhail Svetlov is known for the unique range and beauty of his voice as well as for his outstanding acting ability.  Described by The Washington Post as “a Titanic, all encompassing and penetrating voice”.

Mr. Svetlov is a winner of the Viotti International Competition, two Telerama Awards and a Grammy Award nomination.  A principal soloist at the venerated Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater for more than a decade, he also performed to great acclaim on its international tours at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Milán’s Teatro alla Scala and London’s Royal Albert Hall.

He has performed the greatest roles of the bass repertoire such as Zaccaria (Nabucco), Mephistopheles (Faust), Phillip (Don Carlos), Boris(Boris Godunov), Attila, Don Giovanni and Dutchman as well as orchestra works and recitals, in world prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerische State Opera, Hamburg Stadtsoper, Teatro Colón, Salzburg, Edinburgh and Britten festivals, Bregenz Festspiele, Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice, L’Opera de Montreal, Houston and Florida Grand operas, Santa Fe, Baltimore, San Diego and Palm Beach operas, Opera de Bellas Artes (Mexico), and many others.

Sarah  Heltzel

Pavlina Dokovska, Pianist

A First Prize winner of the Claude Debussy International Competition in France and Italy’s International Piano Competition of Senigallia, Pavlina Dokovska's concert tours have taken her to Europe, the Far East and throughout the United States, receiving critical acclaim for her brilliant technique, depth of interpretation, and emotional range.

Among the highlights of her performing career figure concerts with the Luxembourg Philharmonic under conducters Leopold Hager and Paavo Jarvi, and important debuts at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, Mai Musical in Bordeaux, the Frick Collection in New York, Munich’s Gasteig, the National Gallery in Washington, Prague’s Autumn Festival and the Klavierfestival Ruhr in Germany. At the International Apolonia Festival in Bulgaria she gave a solo recital in addition to a duo-recital with the great Bulgarian soprano Stefka Evstatieva.

Pavlina Dokovska was born in Bulgaria where she studied with Lydia Kuteva and graduated from the Music Academy of Sofia as a student of Julia and Constantin Ganev. After further studies with Ivonne Lefebure in Paris, she completed her Master of Music Degree at the Juilliard School in New York as a student of Beveridge Webster.

In New York, she has appeared in several top halls, including Avery Fisher Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Merkin Hall. A sought-after soloist with orchestra, she has performed with the symphony orchestras of Austin, Knoxville, Youngstown and Great Falls, and performed Chopin’s e-minor Concerto with the Billings Symphony and Prokofiev’s 3rd Piano Concerto with the Augsburg Symphony in Germany. Duo-recitals with the late legendary Bulgarian bass Nicolai Ghiaurov brought both to Paris, Munich, the Salzburg Festival, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and Wigmore Hall in London to standing ovations throughout. In her native Bulgaria, she regularly performs as recitalist and soloist with all the major orchestras, including the Sofia Philharmonic and Radio Symphony.

Ms. Dokovska's discography shows an affinity for French music, such as in her CDs on Koch International and Arcadia featuring music by various French composers including the Groupe des Six, an album titled Tombeau de Couperin and another CD named Musical Tribute, Debussy on Labor Records. She has also recorded an all-Schumann CD on Gega New Records. Her collaborative efforts with major musical figures have resulted in many memorable recordings, among them Russian Romances with Mr. Ghiaurov on RCA, on Elan with cellist Nathaniel Rosen playing sonatas by Prokofiev and Rachmaninov, and on the Victor label sonatas by Ravel and Saint-Saëns with violinist Mila Georgieva.

Known for her insightful and caring teaching methods which have produced many a competition winner, Ms. Dokovska joined the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York in 1995. Three years later she was elected Chair of the Piano Department, a position she holds to date. In 1999 she founded and became artistic director of the annual Mannes Festival which grew into a staple of New York’s musical life with about 20 concerts at some of the city’s major venues. She is also artistic director of the Southwest Virginia Festival for the Arts.

Sarah  Heltzel

Sarah Heltzel, Mezzo Soprano

Lauded by the Seattle Weekly for her “perfectly polished and vivacious” singing, American Mezzo-Soprano Sarah Heltzel made her Seattle Opera debut in 2005 as the Siegrune in Stephen Wadsworth’s acclaimed Der Ring des Nibelungen., which she repeats in 2009.   She was a last minute replacement in Das Rheingold, singing Flosshilde from the orchestra pit with great success.   Miss Heltzel spent much of the past two seasons with the Seattle Opera; as a member of their Young Artist Program, where she was heard as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, and covered the role of Paula in the company’s performances of Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas.

Engagements for the 2006-2007 season included Miss Heltzel’s first performances of Bizet’s Carmen with both Skagit and Tacoma Operas, as well as Cherubino and the Monitor in Puccini’s Suor Angelica with Chautauqua Opera.  Also in the season she joins the Seattle Symphony as the Alto soloist in Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass, and Mississippi Opera for their “Love in the Afternoon” concert.

Miss Heltzel made her concert debut at Alice Tully Hall with the New York Symphonic Ensemble as the 2003 recipient of the Panasonic Harmony Award.  Additional concert engagements have included Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Handel’s Messiah; she has recently been a featured soloist with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, and with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra as Cherubino in a semi-staged Le Nozze di Figaro. Equally at home on the recital stage, Miss Heltzel has performed numerous song recitals in the New York, Boston, and Seattle areas.

In previous seasons, Miss Heltzel sang Mère Marie in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites in Tel-Aviv with the Israel Vocal Arts Institute, and appeared as Giulietta in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and as Charlotte in Act 3 of Massenet’s Werther with the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy. At Manhattan School of Music, she performed the roles of Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Zweite Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, among others. Other credits include La Messaggiera in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the title role of Offenbach’s The Grand Duchess of Gérolstein.

Sarah Heltzel received a 2006 Apprentice Award from Chautauqua Opera, and was a grant recipient in the 2005 Gerda Lissner Foundation competition. She was a winner in the 2004 Sun Valley Opera Competition as well as the 2002 Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition (Junior division).  Miss Heltzel holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Gordon College, and both a Master of Music degree and a Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music.

Sarah  Heltzel

Marina Struleva, Pianist

The accomplished pianist Marina Struleva was born in Moscow and received her musical education at the Gnessin Academy of Music. Her studies with the legendary teachers provided a deep passion for the great tradition of pianism, which the audiences immediately sense from her inspired interpretations and musical integrity. She was the youngest appointed accompanist at the Gnessin Academy at age 16 even before her graduation.

Marina Struleva developed a flourishing career as a chamber musician and accompanist to many of the most famous classical instrumentalists and singers in the world.

She was invited to perform at some of the most celebrated musical venues including The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Carnegie’s Weill recital Hall, a ten city tour of Japan including Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Van Wezel Hall, Kravis Center, Steinway Hall and United Nations in New York, and Northwestern University in Chicago.

Vasily Yankovich (Romani)

Vasily Yankovich (Romani), Tenor and Guitar

One of the best known gypsy singers in the world graduated in 1982 from the Gnesien Music Academy in Moscow, Russia.

From 1982 to 1990, he performed as the lead musician in the Gypsy Theater Romen under the direction of N. Slechenko  in Moscow.

From 1986 to 1988, he served in the military as a soloist in the Moscow State Ensemble Song and Dance. He was presented with a special military citation by the Ministry of Defense for his contributions to the State Ensemble.  Since 1990, he has travelled the world as a musician and has held many performances in Moscow and the United States.

He has entertained  President Putin, Pope John Paul II as well as performing in the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC. and at Festivals throughout the country.

Vocal and guitar repertoire includes songs and arias from the best of Russian and American classical and popular traditions, Italian Bel Canto and Gypsy Heritage.

She has appeared in; Russian Classical Romances Concert – Carnegie Weill Hall – New York City; Regular Performer in Russian Embassy Concert Events – Washington, DC; Annual Cultural Exchange Festival – Portland, Maine; Russian Gypsy Concert – Harvard University; Russian Gypsy Concert – Boston University; Russian Gypsy Concert – Boro College – Manhattan, New York; Lead performer in The Defense of Prague in LaMaMaTheater, Manhattan, New York; Lead musician in Russian Gypsy Ensemble in New York Theater production of “The Brothers Karazamov” – La MaMa Theater, Manhattan, New York; Performing  concerts in Russian Embassy in Washington, DC; Russian Gypsy Concert performance at the University of Texas; Featured performer in Guggenheim Museum event welcoming Russia’s President Putin to the United States and the opening of the United Nations; Gala Holiday Event at Metropolitan Club of New York for Banks of Deutsche and Suisse; Directed and performed Gypsy Music Shows at Moscow Cabaret ; Filmed in motion picture “Autumn In New York” with actor Richard Gere.

Big Band

Valery Ponomarev

Valery Ponomarev, Big Band Leader and Trumpet

But the most provocative soloist in the group is Valery Ponomarev, a Russian trumpeter who combines bristling attack with dazzling execution and a very neat, compact, controlled development of his solos.
John S. Wilson, The New York Times

Mr. Ponomarev worked with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers for 4 years. Also made numerous television appearances with the Messengers in Europe, Japan, and Brazil. In the United States has made television appearances on "To Tell the Truth", on PBS network, National Geographic Today and on CNN.

First time Mr. Ponomarev returned to Russia in 1990 after a 17year absence to participate in the First International Jazz Festival in Moscow along with many of the world's greatest jazz superstars. Since then Mr. Ponomarev regularly travels to Russia with American musicians, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Bobbie Watson, James “Sid” Simmons, Bradford Leali, Vincent Lewis, Byron & Robert Landham, Sean McGloin, Evelyn Blakey, joining local stars for concerts and tours of the major cities in Siberia, Moscow and St Petersburg.He was also featured as a European superstar at the Charlie Parker in Paris Festival. Valery has also played concerts with Benny Golson, featuring Mr. Golson's music.  Mr. Ponomarev is a current member of the memorial “Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers” band led by Mr. Golson.

Worked in clubs, tours, festivals, and concerts with: Arturo “Chico” O’Farril Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band, Bob Berg, Joe Henderson, Joe Morello quintet, Frank Foster concert band, Joe Farrell, Pepper Adams quintet, Paquito D'Rivera, Jack Mcduff, Harold Land, Lou Donaldson, Walter Bishop Jr., Charles Mingus "Epitaph", Lionel Hampton orchestra (solo chair), Mercer Ellington orchestra, Paul Ellington orchestra, Warne Marsh, and the Lee Konitz nonet to name a few.

Featured in the movie "Frozen in Amber" a documentary about the contributions of Russian ex-patriots to art and the performing arts in the USA. “Messenger from Russia” a documentary by independent producer Jason Scadron about Valery Ponomarev’s life was aired on the National Geographic Today channel.

Included in many publications including: Oxford University Press, the Grove Encyclopedia of Music, Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD by Richard Cook & Brian Morton, All Music Guide to Jazz, Hard Bop Academy by Alan Goldsher, Top Brass by Bob Bernotas, Trumpet Kings by Scott Yanow and many other. Valery Ponomarev’s book “On the flip side of sound” was written both in English and Russian languages. It was published by the “AGRAF” publishing house and came out in Moscow, Russia in January 2003. It’s being prepared for publication in English language in America.