Jacksonville Symphony to perform Russian Masterworks by Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff


The Jacksonville Symphony will perform Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony and Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto Feb. 23-24, led by Assistant Conductor Nathan Aspinall and featuring guest pianist Behzod Abduraimov.

Abduraimov was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 1990 and began to play the piano at the age of 5. He is an alumnus of Park University’s International Center for Music (ICM), where he studied with Stanislav Ioudenitch and now serves as the ICM’s artist-in-residence.

Abduraimov has collaborated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, NHK Symphony and Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestras. He appeared at Carnegie Hall in 2015 and performed for the Cliburn Concerts, Carolina Performing Arts, the Vancouver Recital series and played concerts in Houston and Pittsburgh. Abduraimov recently appeared at the Aspen Music Festival and with orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony and Seattle Symphony. In 2015, he made his debut with the Münchner Philharmoniker under Gergiev, featured in their new 360 degree Festival, and subsequently made his BBC Proms debut playing Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto.

Written for his first American tour in 1909, Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto is arguably one of the most difficult piano concerti to perform, according to the Symphony. Featured in the movie “Shine,” the piece is the center of a pianist’s emotional breakdown as he tries to conquer its technical demands.

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Fifth Symphony at a critical point in his career. The composer faced Stalin’s displeasure after his opera “Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District” was banned for not falling in line with the standards of the regime. This was the first time he faced Stalin’s displeasure, which could have ended his career. The Fifth Symphony, maybe his most well-known, premiered November 1937 and was received with enthusiasm. Although Shostakovich outwardly described the work as “a Soviet artist’s reply to just criticism,” it is rumored he personally saw the final movement as a satire of Stalin and its appearance of elation as hollow.

The concerts will take place on Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24 in the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in Jacoby Symphony Hall. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the ticket office at (904) 354-5547 or visit www.jaxsymphony.org.