Thursday, February 07, 2002

Teen-age pianist conquers difficult works

By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        She looks as delicate as a ballerina, but pianist Anna Polusmiak can summon powerful sounds on her piano. The 18-year-old junior at Northern Kentucky University has already won a fistful of contest prizes.

        But more impressive than that, she performed the fiendishly difficult Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 1 (heard recently at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra) when she was 12 years old.

        Her most unusual concert took place last summer — in a hockey stadium in Canada. She flew to a small town in New Brunswick to perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 (yes, the music from Shine) with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

        Because the town had no concert hall, they performed in a sold-out hockey stadium. Thousands were there.

        “That was just an amazing experience,” the Kharkiv-born pianist says. “I won a competition, and one of their prizes was to play with this orchestra. It was a small airport; to bring the whole symphony orchestra, they had to charter a special plane.

        “It was the biggest audience they have played for.”

        On Jan. 29, the teen was poised and professional when she performed Milhaud's Suite from La Creation du Monde with the distinguished Amernet Quartet in Greaves Concert Hall. Her sense of balance and ensemble was superb, and she communicated the joy of this jazzy music.

        Sunday, Ms. Polusmiak, who studies with her father, NKU artist-in-residence Sergei Polusmiak, will perform two movements from Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3, with Mr. Polusmiak performing the orchestra part on another piano, in the NKU Presidential concert, 2 p.m. at Memorial Hall. (Call to reserve free tickets: 859-572-5810)

        Isn't it hard to take piano lessons with your dad?

        “It's easy,” she says. “First of all, I'm used to him, and I don't have to wait for a lesson. If I have a question, I can ask him at home.”


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- Teen-age pianist conquers difficult works
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