Internationally known pianist to join Port Angeles Symphony for concert Saturday

Internationally known pianist to join Port Angeles Symphony for concert Saturday

PORT ANGELES — The slender woman at the piano coils herself over the keys, bowing her head and raising her eyebrows as the music pours out. She moves as though she’s part of the instrument; part of the 66-piece orchestra surrounding her.

This is Anna Petrova, the young, well-traveled player joining the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra for this Saturday’s concert — the full orchestra’s last one in its 2016-17 season.

Jonathan Pasternack, maestro of the community orchestra, wanted to bring Petrova here ever since he visited her hometown. It’s a world away: Plovdiv, Bulgaria, where Pasternack, Petrova and the Plovdiv Symphony Orchestra performed Prokofiev’s Third Symphony back in winter 2014.

Petrova, prize winner in competitions in Spain, Russia and Italy and an internationally known performer, will be seated at the grand piano for two public events at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., this Saturday: the final rehearsal at 10 a.m. and the evening concert at 7:30.

Admission to the morning rehearsal is $5 per person or $10 per family; tickets to the evening concert are $12 for students and seniors, $15 for general admission and $20 to $30 for premium reserved seats.

Youngsters 16 and under are admitted free with an adult.

Ticket outlets include the Symphony office at 360-457-5579, Port Book and News, 104 E. First St. in Port Angeles and The Joyful Noise Music Center, 112 W. Washington St. in Sequim.

Petrova’s showpiece: Rachmaninoff’s virtuosic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

She said it is a piece she has always wanted to play.

“I love the music. I identify with it … I selfishly wanted to explore the genre, and have fun with it,” Petrova said of the Rhapsody. Many people know it from the movies, such as 1980’s “Somewhere in Time” or the 2014 documentary “Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory.”

The Symphony event also includes a 20-minute pre-concert chat. In it, Pasternack discusses the music and takes questions from the audience starting at 6:40 p.m.

The Rachmaninoff is one of three masterworks on the program. To open, Pasternack will lead the orchestra in Richard Wagner’s lyrical “Good Friday Spell” from the opera “Parsifal;” then comes Petrova’s Rhapsody and finally Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.

This last work, which Dr. Pasternack said is all about fate, hasn’t been performed in Port Angeles in many years. It’s also a symphony that’s close to his heart.

There’s a certain harmony to Petrova’s visit. A year ago this month, the Spanish-born pianist Josu de Solaun — Petrova’s husband, whom she met when both came to study at the Manhattan School of Music — came to Port Angeles. He performed Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto, aka the gigantic “Rach 3,” with the Symphony. Soloist and orchestra drew two standing ovations.

The couple lives in Houston, Texas, where they teach at Sam Houston State University. It’s where they met and became good friends with Pasternack, who also taught at Sam Houston before accepting the job of conductor and music director of the Port Angeles Symphony.

Pasternack’s way of working can be demanding, Petrova said, “but it’s done with a good heart, with respect for the music and for the people at the same time. It’s a very fine balance,” centered on the maestro’s dedication to the music.

That’s one of the reasons the pianist is full of anticipation for Saturday’s concert. Another: Her parents, Petar and Tanya Petrova, are traveling from Bulgaria to Port Angeles to see her perform with the Port Angeles Symphony. They’ve been to the United States before, but never to the West Coast.

“It will be a celebration,” Petrova said.

Internationally known pianist to join Port Angeles Symphony for concert Saturday

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