Unique Rachmaninoff series in Budapest

On two days running, August 18 and 19, piano artist János Balázs is going to perform all
four Rachmaninoff piano concertos, together with the fifth, Rhapsody on a theme of
Paganini, at the Liszt Academy, together with the Hungarian National Philharmonic under
the baton of Charles Olivieri-Munroe.

While several artists kept or still keep all five piano concertos of Beethoven on their
repertoire, only a few of them can boast of climbing all the peaks of performing all five piano
concertos by Rachmaninoff—including the briliant Paganini variations which can also be
regarded as a piano concerto. This is due in part to the relatively less popularity of the first
and last piano concertos— and in large part to the fact that technically all these pieces make
an amazingly difficult, sensitive, deeply emotional, and complex musical material. From the
entire series of the piano concertos, a really significant recording (apart from that of the
author) that became a standard was perhaps made only by Zoltán Kocsis—but even he
would not have undertaken to play all the works in two evenings. This superhuman
undertaking of Liszt-award winner pianist János Balázs is probably going to be unique in the
world. With the music, the performer, and the audience becoming one, the emotional depths
and culminating points unique to Rachmaninoff’s music alone, the two-day marathon
performed under the baton of Charles Olivieri-Munroe is most certainly going to create
cathartic moments.

“You get ecstatic from performing them, and after the first five or six minutes I feel like my
fingers are playing on their own, and I, the performer, will also be listening to myself at the
same time… It means a huge amount of physical stress and brain strain, but if not now then
when should I attempt playing all these pieces, being 32 years old, at a prime of my life? I’d
like the audience to arrive for the second night with the enthusiasm of the first concert and
for us to be able to continue where we left off”—told János Balázs about the extraordinary
undertaking to Hungarian cultural magazine Papageno.