The South Carolina Philharmonic presents Rachmaninoff 150 on Friday, November 17, 2023 at 7:30 PM at the Koger Center for the Arts under the baton of Music Director Morihiko Nakahara. The SC Phil joins orchestras all over the world to celebrate Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday. This second Masterworks Series concert of the season features a double-dose of Rachmaninoff as guest pianist Albert Cano Smit (piano) joins the SC Phil for a stirring performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4, along with Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 serving as the thrilling finale. The evening will begin with a bit of a symphonic rarity as the orchestra performs D’un Soir Triste, or “Of a Sad Evening,” which was written by French composer Lili Boulanger in 1918, shortly before her death at age 24. Tickets may be purchased by visiting scphilharmonic.com or by calling the Koger Center Box Office at 803-251-2222.
Since the SC Phil announced their season in April 2023, the Rachmaninoff 150 program has seen some program changes. The SC Phil traditionally welcomes the previous winner of the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition to perform with the orchestra. The 2022 winner, Katherine Liu, had to postpone her performance until the 24|25 season due to a hand injury. While the orchestra wishes her a swift recovery, Music Director Morihiko Nakahara pivoted and invited pianist Albert Cano Smit to perform the November 17th concert. With Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4 being in Smit’s repertoire this season, Nakahara made this piece the centerpiece of Rachmaninoff 150.
A musician who has been praised as “a moving young poet” (Le Devoir), Spanish/Dutch pianist Albert Cano Smit enjoys a growing international career on the orchestral, recital, and chamber music stages. Noted for his captivating performances, storytelling quality and nuanced musicality, the First Prize winner of the 2019 Young Concert Artists Susan Wadsworth International Auditions has appeared as a soloist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony, Montréal Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río, Barcelona Symphony, Catalonia National Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Nottingham Youth Orchestra, and American Youth Symphony.
Albert Cano Smit is excited to return to South Carolina after recently performing in the Upstate during the Young Concert Artists Tour (yca.org). He is particularly delighted to be performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4. “This work speaks to me, or touches me with a special kind of strength,” says Smit. “I feel there’s a unique aura atmosphere to it that ‘reflects’ we could say, the heart of Rachmaninoff with shocking power. After it ends, […] one feels shaken to the core by a sincere, almost autobiographical even, confession. This may be a reason why it’s relevant to modern audiences – I somehow get this feeling of Rachmaninoff seeing the world change around him so fast with modernity coming in like a tsunami. Ultimately, I hope this piece will speak to everyone and feel personal in one way or another.”
Smit also understands why orchestras all over the world are celebrating Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday and his body of work this season. “He must be doing something right,” says Smit. “His concertos are amongst the most popular works, both for music lovers and classical music newcomers. That is not something to be taken lightly; especially because when you actually take time to study his music as a musician, there is such craftsmanship, depth, beauty and inspiration there. He certainly isn’t taking any shortcuts to reach anyone, but he manages to reach almost everyone.”
Rachmaninoff 150 with Albert Cano Smit (piano) will be presented on Friday, November 17, 2023 at 7:30 PM at the Koger Center for the Arts. Concert ticket prices range from $20 to $55, and they can be purchased at scphilharmonic.com or by calling the Koger Center Box Office (803) 251-2222. Student Rush tickets are available for $10 starting thirty minutes before the concert.
This concert is sponsored by Dr. Todd Kolb in honor of Olllie Bear.This program is also made possible through grant support from the City of Columbia H-Tax Grant Program, the Richland County H-Tax Grant Program, and the South Carolina Arts Commission which is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and collaborates in its work with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and South Arts.
The South Carolina Philharmonic is committed to performing live symphonic music and providing dynamic educational opportunities in the Midlands. We carry forward a legacy of passion for the music and embrace our responsibility to be a vibrant part of the cultural fabric of our diverse community.