Evgeny Kissin to Perform at Concert Commemorating Genocide Centennial at Carnegie Hall on May 26


Evgeny Kissin

Evgeny Kissin

NEW YORK (Classicalite) — Virtuoso pianist Evgeny Kissin will be leading a special concert at Carnegie Hall entitled “With You, Armenia” in commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The concert will juxtapose Armenian composers with works by Chopin and, surprise, will feature the world premiere of a newly composed work by Krzysztof Penderecki. Poland’s greatest living composer, as per the Guardian, yes, Penderecki is all too familiar with historical horrors — and how to honor them.

Tuesday, May 26 at Carnegie Hall marks but the first in a series of concerts around the world, in association with the Yerevan Perspectives International Music Festival. The festival is a year-round celebration that invites top-flight classical soloists and ensembles to Armenia, organizing special events in cooperation with Armenia’s own Ministry of Culture.

Kissin, the grand Russian/British/Jewish pianist of our day, is hoping that, with this concert, Armenia and the world can move toward a more harmonious future. According to Kissin: “That’s why genocides must never be forgotten. That’s why I am taking part in the concert in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide centennial at Carnegie Hall in New York. Not only to honor the memory of 1.5 million innocent martyrs and to mourn together with my Armenian brothers and sisters, but also to make sure that more people will remember the tragedy of the Armenian nation and the hideous crime against it.”

A curious blend of Armenian and Polish music, the concert’s first half features the Hover Chamber Choir of Armenia and will include pieces by Armenian composers such as Komitas, Vache Sharafyan and the great Tigran Mansurian.

Its culmination, though, will most certainly be the 80-something Penderecki‘s brand new remembrance.

The second half will see the stage given over to Kissin, the headliner proper. His performance of select Chopin pieces will be followed by a TBD Armenian encore. Kissin notes further, “people often treat each other badly, but seldom does it happen on the scale of what took place in Turkey 100 years ago–the killing of nearly a million and half people, half of all Armenians in the world, for belonging to their nation.”

Yet, Kissin is optimistic, as should we all. Because away from the backroom deals and negotiations of geo-politics, there are melodies that touch our soul and remind us of stone-cold facts. Namely, that horrific atrocities of genocide and ethnic cleansing still exist in parts of the world and cannot be overlooked. This concert can sound a warning bell for our own future.