NB’s own Slavic Sweetheart Ludmila Knezkova– Hussey
In Ludmila’s own words, she expresses: (see more at www.ludmilaknezkovahussey.ca )
“I believe in passing on to my students the work ethic of the great composers and artists of the past, which has become my motto, a lifelong dedication to excellence, through hard work, continuous growth, development and innovation. The best method of teaching is to lead by example. When I teach, I try to impart to my students my own philosophy of striving for the very best that I am capable of producing. I also believe that it is necessary for students of music to be thoroughly familiar with all styles and periods including as many culturally diverse forms of music as possible. My own education in music has enveloped me in the worlds of so many musicians and composers of all periods, countries and cultures. I must share these experiences with my students while fostering their own creativity, responsibility and a sense of purpose within, for without the latter two, the first would have no outlet. My ultimate goal is to instill musicians with excitement about the work they do and to do it to the best of their abilities.”
Witold Lutosławski: Little Suite / Mała suita
The Little Suite, originally written for a smaller group in 1950 shows
Lutoslawski`s love of folk music, his humour and his clever hand at orchestration. Although definitely a modern composer, Lutoslawski uses a “classical” structure that makes his music easy for today’s audiences to understand and appreciate. Indeed, after the Second World War, when Poland was under Soviet influence, Lutoslowski’s Symphony Number 1 was banned by the authorities for being too formalist. Lutoslawski held to his principles in both his music and his politics and received Poland’s highest honour, The Order of the White Eagle, near the end of his life.
P.I. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 1 B-flat minor, Op. 23
P.I Tchaikovsky concerto pour piano no. 1 en si bémol mineur, op. 23
Tchaikovsky had a famously tempestuous nature. But he composed at a time of great social and artistic change and was, perhaps, a perfect reflection of his time. Tchaikovsky`s first piano concerto was a true work of passion. Tchaikovsky reached out to folk melodies from France, Ukraine and Russia, blending them in ways that stretched the limits of “acceptable” composition.
The piano solo was composed during a strong creative period at the end of 1874, with the orchestration being completed quickly afterwards. When Tchaikovsky played this composition for his colleagues, however, the initial criticism was harsh, wounding Tchaikovsky deeply.
After initially refusing to change a note, Tchaikovsky updated the work (slightly) and then revised it again in 1889 but he made no major changes to any of the unpopular elements! The greatest criticism was given to the opening. The opening chords, which are perhaps the most famous in all classical music, were considered to be in the wrong key and connected inadequately to the rest of the piece.
Of Course, New ideas are often shocking.
In 1958, with a recording by Van Cliburn, this concerto became the first classical record to sell 1 million copies.
Nikolai Rubinstein, the foremost pianist of the day for whom the piece was originally intended, was critical enough of the work to have his name crossed off of the score. The premiere moved to Boston with the German pianist Hans von Bűlow, who described the work as “original and noble”. The original performance in October 1875 was as tempestuous as the composition. The audience loved the work so much that the Finale had to be repeated but the critics were less kind to the performance. A false entry from the trombone section incited an audible expletive from the pianist at the premiere in Boston and was more interesting to the press than the composition but Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto Number 1 went on to become a global classic.
Jean Sibelius Symphony no. 2 in D major, Op. 43
Jean Sibelius symphonie no 2 en ré majeur, op. 43
It is impossible not to hear the romantic influence of Tchaikovsky in Sibelius’ music. Both Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto and Sibelius` Symphony No. 2 were groundbreakers in their untraditional use of thematic material and in the unconventional use of Folk melodies. Wildly popular in Finland, Sibelius’ symphony No. 2 was also a big hit in the important cultural market of Germany. Although Sibelius denied any political agenda in the composition, it gained some of its popular appeal due to its perceived nationalism. The piece marks a time of strong resistance against the Russian occupation of Finland and
Sibelius was definitely caught up in the general movement. However, Sibelius rejected any obvious programmatic implications to his symphony. The music itself was the message. Nonetheless, Sibelius has become a National icon.
The composer Sulho Ranta (1901-60) spoke on behalf of his fellow Finns when he declared, “There is something about this music—at least for us—that leads us to ecstasy; almost like a shaman with his magic drum.”
In 1930, the government of Finland paid an English recording company 50,000 markka to record Jean Sibelius` First and second Symphonies. This marks possibly the first time that a government invested in the arts in this manner to promote its national culture worldwide. The recording made Sibelius a household name and attracted global attention to Finland`s fight against its occupiers.
If this is your first encounter with this symphony, relax and enjoy. Symphony New Brunswick is proud to be able to perform this piece for you this evening.
DR. Ludmila Knezkova-Hussey
“What an extraordinary musician, with purely technical delights and a stunning master of color”. Moscow, Russia. Журнал “Музыкальная жизнь”. Magazine “ Musical life”
Identified as a child prodigy, Ludmila began her extensive musical education with violin studies at the age of three and gave her first public recital before reaching the age of five. She entered Lvov Central Music School, Ukraine at age 6, studying violin and piano and upon graduation she continued her studies in piano at the Music College of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow, followed by graduate and post-graduate work at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
After completing her studies at the Conservatory Ludmila moved to the Czech Republic where she won first prizes at the Czechoslovakian National Piano Competition and the Smetana International Piano Competition. Throughout this period she augmented her post-graduate studies at the Academy of Music in Prague.
Ludmila’s international performances earned her recognition resulting in scholarships from the Czech Musical Foundation which allowed further post-graduate studies in France and at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar in Germany. Ludmila won at the 1989 international piano competition in Germany performing the fifth concerto by Beethoven at the Concert of the Stars. In May 1992, she received a scholarship from Canada’s Banff Centre School of Fine Arts to study with noted Professor Gyorgy Sebok.
She has performed as a soloist in more than 50 countries, and appeared as guest artist with numerous symphony orchestras including L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, L’Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine”, Paris, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the WKO Symphony Orchestra, Vienna, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra (Turkey), and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.
A recipient of numerous international awards. Among them are World Order Science-Education-Culture, Belgium; the International Order of Merit, England; Paul Harris Fellow Award, “The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International”, Canada . Ludmila has also been recognized regionally with an honorary doctorate from the University of New Brunswick and induction into the Order of New Brunswick.
As an active composer, her masterworks include the 2004 Grand Opera-ballet “Traversees”. This premiered as the first Opera documenting the Acadian history in the New World, with music composed and scored by Ludmila, and a Libretto written by Acadian writer/dramatist, former New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor, Hérménegilde Chiasson. It featured “L’Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine”, from Paris, France.
The documentary “Flying on the Moon – The Ludmila Story” was produced in collaboration and distribution with the CBC then its acclaimed reception warranted numerous rebroadcasts on Bravo, ARTV, Radio Canada and the CBC networks.
Among her own numerous compositions are symphony “St. Andrews Anthology”; “Tabula Rasa” (double concerto), “Symphonic Ballad” for orchestra; Lord Beaverbrook Concerto for Piano and Symphony Orchestra, numerous compositions for piano.
Dr. Ludmila Knezkova-Hussey is currently living in Rothesay, New Brunswick.
For additional information: http://www.ludmilaknezkovahussey.ca
LUDMILA’S WORDS ON TCHAIKOVSKY
Tchaikovsky’s concerto #1 was my mother’s favourite concerto and like Tchaikovsky, I am grateful for my mother’s influence and for our close relationship. I could sing some of the Tchaikovsky’s melodies from this concerto at the age of 5 since my mother played Tchaikovsky’s records quite often. Tchaikovsky’s music had a great influence on me and I said to my mother that I wanted to be like Tchaikovsky one day and I wanted to create music like him. I found a quote from Tchaikovsky at the age of 7 which I liked very much. Tchaikovsky said that inspiration comes during hard work. I wrote this quote on a piece of paper and put it on my piano and I still have this quote on my piano today.
I attended a special music school for gifted children where students were very competitive. I do remember saying to my schoolmates at the age of 9 that I would be playing Tchaikovsky’s concerto #1 with a symphony orchestra by the age of 14; that I would win a few international piano competitions, and that I would create an opera before turning 50. I remember that my friends did not believe me because these seemed to be unrealistic goals, but I did achieve them.
Two days before my first performance of this concerto at the age of 14 in Moscow, Russia, I broke my right ankle, so it was impossible for me to use my right food for the pedal. I used my left foot instead of my right which was a very awkward position. I went on stage with crutches and although the performance was judged by the conservatory examiners to be an academic tour de force, I have many other happy memories of presenting this work with different symphony orchestras around the world.
I would like to invite you to this concert. Please don’t miss this opportunity to hear live such beautiful music.