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GCAC Presents: Piano Prodigy Comes Home to Columbus for Free Concert

 Alexandra Kelley Fox
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Igor Lovchinsky returns to Columbus for Sunday at Central's free concert series, Sunday, January 26 at the Columbus Museum of Art.

Many of us know that Columbus has long been a hotbed of rock music talent. But did you know that our classical music scene is equally fierce? We have more than a dozen vital classical music organizations, not to mention a 24-hour classical music radio station. Rising star pianist Igor Lovchinsky, who returns to Columbus on January 26 for a free concert at Columbus Museum of Art, credits growing up here with sparking his career.

Lovchinsky was born in Russia and raised in Columbus. After graduating from Gahanna Lincoln High School in 2003, he earned degrees from The Juilliard School and New England Conservatory and is currently pursuing a PhD in Physics at Harvard University. The 29-year-old musician has won several international competitions and has performed at venues including Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. He has toured throughout Poland, Lithuania, and Brazil and has presented recitals in Beijing and Calgary. His debut album on the Ivory Classics label was named one of the top five recordings of 2008 by Time Out International. Gramophone magazine has called him a “star of the future.”

With a repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century, Lovchinsky often combines classical repertoire with jazz and is an avid exponent of new music. He believes that Columbus is a dynamic incubator for burgeoning classical musicians.

“When I was growing up, Columbus had a thriving community of musicians and lovers of classical music,” he said. “There were numerous local competitions and performance opportunities that gave me a chance to play in public and get experience on stage. I got to play in the lobby before Columbus Symphony concerts in front of hundreds of people.”

“I was also fortunate to have some terrific teachers in Columbus,” he added. “I started taking classes from Nina Polonsky in 1994. She taught me everything that I know and in many ways is still my teacher.”

Lovchinsky attended lots of high-profile concerts here in his youth that deeply inspired him. In addition to concerto performances by Van Cliburn and a Dvorak cello concerto by Mstislav Rostropovich, it was two solo recitals by virtuoso Arcadi Volodos that had the biggest impact. “Those recitals made me strive to improve my own playing,” he said.

Most of Lovchinsky’s family still lives in Columbus. Of all the things that he misses most about living here, the main branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library is at the top of the list. “I spent a lot of time there checking out scores, CD’s, and books,” he laughed.

Lovchinsky will perform in Columbus Museum of Art’s Cardinal Health Auditorium on Sunday, January 26 at 3:00 p.m. This will be the first concert of Sunday at Central’s new Where Are They Now? series, featuring young professional musicians with ties to Columbus who are building impressive concert careers. Guests will have free access to galleries in CMA’s permanent collection, and parking is free.

GCAC Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus – in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association, a professional development and networking association of arts marketers. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at the arts in Columbus.

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