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Denis Kozhukhin's success with the OBC at the 25th anniversary of L'Auditori
9th April 2024

On March 22, one of the most special programs of the season took place at L'Auditori de Barcelona, coinciding with the celebration of its twenty-fifth anniversary. Pianist Denis Kozhukhin had a standout performance in this tribute to the institution's quarter-century, interpreting Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 alongside the OBC and Ludovic Morlot.

Critics highlighted Kozhukhin's performance, noting his maturity and virtuosity. Below, we share excerpts referring to the pianist from the main reviews:

"A rigorous formal construction is, however, one of the outstanding characteristics of Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2, to the point that it has been called a 'symphony with piano.' It is, indeed, a gigantic, complex, and difficult work throughout its four movements. Pianist Denis Kozhukhin and the OBC delivered a resounding and excellent rendition of the work, where Morlot acted with effective sobriety as a conductor, attentive to the transitions of the rich themes entrusted to the piano, taken up by the orchestra, to the dialogues between orchestra and soloist, and to the tutti. Right from the start, an example of good coordination: we all remember the majestic exposition of the theme by the horn, picked up by the woodwinds and then the strings, but the piano had entered from the second measure of that theme into the mind and hands of Kozhukhin as a stealthy idea that would later resolve into a powerful cadenza. The pianist's gestures, his face directed towards the instruments or orchestral groups, to which he listened and with which he coordinated – no doubt he has not only his part in his head but the entire score – were anything but gratuitous and very much those of a complete musician, besides being virtuosic, which is what Kozhukhin is". José Luis Vidal, Scherzo.

"The highlight of the evening came with Brahms and his famous second piano concerto, with which Kozhukhin won over the nearly two thousand attendees. The Russian offered a spectacle from his energetic start and showed great expressiveness both inside and outside the piano, with recurring and notable body movements. He stood out in the first movement with his technical display, skillful in hand crossings and particularly adept in double and triple note attacks. Together with Morlot, he modulated the presence of his instrument and knew how to balance the prominence with great integration. He attacked the Allegro appassionato with drama and vigor before continuing with the third movement, in which the first cellist showcased a beautiful passage in his middle register, creating a notable moment of musical poetry. Morlot, already in ecstasy, guided his ninety performers towards the fourth movement and left room for Kozhukhin to soar over his keyboard with fluidity and agility, once again merging the performer with the orchestra and delivering a powerful finale that brought several to their feet in applause. The pianist calmed the enthusiasm with an exquisitely delicate Traumerei by Schumann, closing a memorable and excellent evening, worthy of the anniversary". Carlos García Reche, Platea Magazine.

Photo: May Zircus/L’Auditori