Los Alamos Concert Association presents Sergei Babayan: Piano man

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By Special to the Monitor

On Jan. 22, the Los Alamos Concert Association presents a performance by the renowned pianist Sergei Babayan. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. in Duane Smith Auditorium on the Los Alamos High School campus, and a reception will follow the concert.
The program will begin with the “Fantasia in C minor, Op. 21,” in memory of Maria Yudina, by Vladimir Ryabov, which Babayan played at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in December. The concert continues with a group of pieces by Alexander Scriabin, which includes “6 Preludes from Op. 11” and two “Etudes from Op. 8,” as well as an early Mazurka from “Opus 10” and a Mazurka from “Opus 25” written 10 years later showing his more mature style.
The group concludes with the philosophical and enormously difficult “Vers la flamme, Op. 72,” in which Scriabin depicts the world ending in a great conflagration. Following intermission, Babayan will perform a group of Waltzes from “Opus 17 and 34,” a Nocturne from “Opus 32,” and an Impromptu from “Op. 29” by Frederic Chopin.  The music of Sergei Rachmaninov brings the concert to a close with transcriptions from the song Melodia and the cello Sonata, and two Moments Musicaux.  
A reception will follow the concert in the orchestra room, providing an opportunity to visit with Babayan.
Babayan was born in Armenia to a musical family and started to play the piano at age three, beginning formal studies at age six.  In his late teens he attended the Moscow Conservatory and completed post-graduate work there in 1989. Following the collapse of the Soviet system, he was the first pianist from the former USSR who was able to compete without government sponsorship.
He is the winner of four first prizes in international piano competitions, including the 1989 Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition in Cleveland, the Palm Beach Competition (1990), the Hamamatsu Competition in Japan (1991) and the Scottish Competition (1992). He is also a Queen Elizabeth Competition (Brussels) Laureate and a winner of the Busoni (Italy) and the Esther Honens Competitions (Calgary).
In recent seasons he has performed recitals in New York City, London, Hannover, Brussels, Glasgow, Moscow, St. Petersburg,
Paris, Grenoble, Warsaw, Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle, Atlanta, Miami and New Orleans.  
He appears frequently at major music festivals, and his concerts have been broadcast by WQXR in New York, WCLV in Cleveland, Radio France, Polish Radio and Television, BBC-TV and NHK Satellite Television.
He has made several recordings for EMC, Connoisseur Society and Pro Piano labels.
In 1996, Babayan founded the Sergei Babayan International Piano Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he is also the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Gilliam Artist-in-Residence. In 1997, in an unprecedented decision, four of his students were admitted to participate in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.  
Tickets for the concert may be purchased in advance for $30 at Otowi Station Bookstore and CB Fox Department Store; in White Rock at Smith’s; and in Santa Fe at Nicholas Potter Bookseller. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $35.  
Youth admission (ages 6-18) is free, but requires a ticket. Youth tickets may be obtained at ticket outlets or at the box office on the day of the concert.  As a courtesy to the artists and other audience members, children younger than six will not be admitted.