Yakov Kasman

For the first concert of its 70th season, Jackson County Community Concerts will present pianist Yakov Kasman at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008 at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

Kasman's silver medal at the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was the culmination of several competition triumphs, including the 1991 London World Piano Competition, the 1992 Artur Rubinstein International Competition, and the 1995 International Prokofiev Competition.

Born in the city of Orel, near Moscow, Kasman began his piano studies at the age of 5. A graduate and postgraduate of the Moscow Conservatory and previously a professor of piano at the Music College of the Conservatory, Kasman is now professor of piano and artist-in-residence at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Kasman has performed in the United States, Russia, Europe and Asia, playing with more than 40 orchestras, including the Orchestra de Lille in France, the Singapore Symphony, the Moscow Philharmonia Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic.

"From the first notes, Kasman sailed through the music, playing the massive chords with voluptuous tone and even inserting a playful quip now and then "¦ Most extraordinary, his playing transcended the notes, difficult as they were, and took on the natural, assured quality of a storyteller enjoying his tale," The Oregonian wrote in October 2004.

Kasman has 12 studio CD recordings on the Calliope label. His two-CD set of the recordings of the complete sonatas of Prokofiev was awarded the "Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Academie du Disque" in France in 1996.

Other CDs include solo works by Haydn, Scriabin, Stravinsky and Rachmaninov. The International Piano Quarterly magazine recommended his CD of Moussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" as one of 14 equally ranked best in a survey of recordings over the past 75 years. His recording of Shostakovich's Concerto No. 1, and Schnittke's Concerto for Piano and Strings, released in 2000, received the "Choc du monde de la musique" award in France, is rated highest for artistry and sound quality by Classics Today.com, and referred to as "superlative" in the American Record Guide.

The Community Concert Association is a nonprofit organization "bringing outstanding, reasonably priced entertainment" to the Rogue Valley through the power of prepaid subscriptions." 2008-2009 memberships are $75 for adults, $25 for students and $175 for a family. Memberships are available from the Jackson County Community Concert Association, P.O. Box 1358, Medford, OR 97501. Single tickets for this concert are $25 at the box office.

See jcconcerts.org or call 734-4116.

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