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Pianist Says ‘Technically Simple’ Can Be the Hardest

Josu de Solaun

Josu de Solaun

Wednesday at 12:15 pm


Valencian pianist Josu de Solaun offers perspective on what makes a piece hard. The “Rach 3,” the Third Piano Concerto of Sergei Rachmaninoff is famous for having fistfuls of notes; it was written to be played by the huge hands of the composer himself at Carnegie Hall. It’s come to be regarded as the Mt. Everest of concertos: the endurance test of aspiring pianists.

Josu de Solaun chose the Rachmaninoff Third for the final round at the European Union Piano Competition. In the days leading up to the finals, he acknowledged the difficulty of the piece, but quickly added that Chopin is hard; Mozart is hard—even without the thundering torrent of notes (see the Competition video). Solaun went on to win first prize.

Josu de Solaun will play music by fellow Spaniard and conductor Alexis Soriano Monstavicius, as well as Debussy, and Brahms on the next Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert. The concerts are held each Wednesday at the Chicago Cultural Center, and broadcast live on WFMT starting at 12:15 pm.

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