Before Dmitri Levkovich took the stage at the Clayton Center for the Arts on Sunday, Jan. 30, the acclaimed pianist had already had a taste of Maryville hospitality.
Levkovich was the first in the Evelyn Miller Young Pianist Series concerts for 2011, which has moved its home to the Clayton Center. On Saturday, Jan. 29, the 31-year-old Ukraine native and Canadian resident was invited to meet local arts and music community leaders at a reception at the home of Dr. Fred and Jane Tolhurst.
The evening featured hors d’oeuvres and drinks and first-class entertainment as Levkovich gave a short preview of the upcoming concert. Those attending the reception included mostly Maryville friends, but also some Young Pianist Series board members and supporters from Knoxville. Tickets for the season were available at the party, which was also a fundraiser for YPS.
The Young Pianist Series is the living legacy of pianist and teacher Evelyn Miller, who, at age 25, was the first soloist with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra on its inaugural concert in 1935. Miller, who died in 2006, founded the piano recital series, which now bears her name. Many of the performers through the years have gone on to have substantial national careers.
Dmitri Levkovich has already won prizes in 10 international competitions, including first prizes at the Jose Iturbi and Hilton Head international competitions and second prizes at the Cleveland and New Orleans international competitions. This season he won third prize at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition and first prize at the China International Piano Competition.
Levkovich’s Sunday afternoon program included a variety of works featured on his competition programs: three sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (D Major, K. 45; D Minor, K. 213; and F Major, K. 17), a Haydn sonata (C Major, Hob. XVI: 48), Chopin’s Scherzo in B-flat minor, op. 31; Stravinsky’s Trois mouvements de Petrouchka; and Franz Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor.
For years, the piano series was held in the now-razed UT Music Hall and then moved to church sanctuaries. This year the series moved to the Lambert Recital Hall at the Clayton Center.
Executive director of the Evelyn Miller Young Pianist Series is Sandra Murphy and Jane Tolhurst is a member of their volunteer board of directors. Saturday’s reception was also a fundraiser for the series.
Two other performances are planned. Pianist Soojin Ahn will be the guest artist on Feb. 27 and Roberto Plano will be featured on March 20. Tickets are available at the Clayton Center Box Office.