According to Antonii Baryshevskyi, practice does not necessarily make perfect.
“The very simple rule is that everybody must practice,” he said. “But it’s not enough. You have to think about what you want to say with your music.”
Baryshevskyi will make such a statement at 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater with Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16. The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra rounds out the evening performance with Anna Clyne’s “Masquerade” and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17.
Baryshevskyi is a rising star in the piano world, having won numerous competitions, including the prestigious Arthur Rubinstein Competition in 2014. This will be the artist’s first visit to Chautauqua Institution, and one that directly mirrors the debut of pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk, another Ukrainian virtuoso who first appeared in the Amp shortly after taking home top honors at the Rubinstein Competition in 2005.
Now in his late 20s, Baryshevsky has been a career pianist since age 7. His parents were not musicians, but they were more than encouraging when he was a child in Ukraine. Eventually, Baryshevskyi enrolled in a special music school in Kiev, which further accelerated his studies.
Since then, he has won more than 20 competitions and, even in the crowded field of concert piano, he said there is something very clear that separates good players from great players.
“A very big problem nowadays is how people play just notes — just take care of playing all the right dynamics, notes, and so on,” he said. “But you need to think what the music says, what ideas you should produce playing this music. It should be like theater.”
That approach lends itself to the Prokofiev he plays tonight. Dedicated to one of the composer’s close friends who died by suicide, the piece carries complex, intricate ideas that Baryshevskyi hopes to articulate.
“This is one of my favorite concertos — outstanding, even for Prokofiev,” he said. “This music is very tragic, very plaintive, also very macabre with black humor.”