International pianists join forces for library recital
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor
Thursday, 02 May 2013 10:19
Bowling Green State University's College of Musical Arts draws students from around the world.
|Dmitry Molkov of Russia and Mengdi Li of China will be holding a piano concert this Sunday at the Wood County District Public Library. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
On Sunday that will mean two pianists one from Russia, the other from China will share a piano bench for a piano four-hands rendition of selections from Edward Grieg's "Peer Gynt."
Dmitry Molkov and Mengdi Li will perform solo as well as together during Sunday's recital at 3 p.m. in the atrium of the Wood County Public Library.
He will perform music by J.S. Bach and she will perform music by Frederick Chopin, Maurice Ravel and Ludwig von Beethoven.
Both pianists have just completed their first year as performance major graduate students in the BGSU studio of Dr. Thomas Rosenkranz.
Molkov started studying piano at 6. "That was my mom's desire," he said. By 7 he was enrolled in a school with an intense musical curriculum where he studied piano, music theory, history and literature as well as academics.
He said that in third and fourth grade he started to rebel. His teacher "was strict and I didn't know what she wanted."
Molkov said he had the frustration that comes from when "your fingers don't listen to you." Still his parents insisted he continue practicing.
That changed when he started taking lessons with a new teacher, and he went on to attend the Nizhny Novgorod Musical College.
He first came to the United States three years ago, first earning a professional diploma from the University of Indiana where he studied with Alexander Toradze.
He decided to continue his studies at BGSU because he had heard glowing reports about the school from several musicians he knew who had studied here. The college has lived up to those reviews, Molkov said.
Li, who comes from Chengdo in southwest China, was enticed to attend BGSU when she heard faculty members, including Rosenkranz, when they visited China. Li even was able to take a lesson with the pianist.
She started piano when she was about 4, again at the bequest of her mother. "I think I liked it, so I agreed."
When it came time at age 11 to decide whether she'd continue her studies more seriously, her mother gave her a choice.
Her teacher had already said she had the talent that warranted further study.
The three compositions she'll perform Sunday cover a range of textures and emotions. Chopin's Piano Sonata in B-minor is the epitome of romantic with "very strong emotions. ... It's a heroic piece."
Ravel's "Une barque sur l'ocean" captures the spirit and rolling textures of a mariner at sea, and Beethoven's Piano Sonata in E-flat major "Les Adieux" is a farewell to a good friend.
Molkov said he selected Bach's English Suite in D-minor, which features seven movements based on popular dances of the time, because of the variety it offers.
The recital gave him the impetus to polish the piece to performance standards.
They decided on presenting the Grieg suite because so many listeners like it, Molkov said.
Playing together on the same piano requires teamwork. "When you play solo you are responsible for yourself," Molkov said. "When you play four hands it divides up the responsibility."
Li will carry the melody in the upper end of the keyboard while Molkov will fill out the harmonies below.
"It's supposed to sound like one pianist playing with four hands," Li said.
Li said she was pleased to have the opportunity to play for the Bowling Green community in the library. "That's what I like here," she said. "I have more performance chances than before."