Hungarian Dance No. 1
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Piano Concerto No. 1 (Ani Gogova, piano)
Johann Strauss, Jr.
On the Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz
Nascence and Apotheosis from Journey
Our January 19, 2019 program opens our Matinee series with a little of everything. The concert opens with Brahms’ 1st Hungarian Dance, then we feature pianist Ani Gogova playing the ultra-romantic 1st Piano Concerto by Tchaikovsky! After intermission, we have two very familiar pieces – the Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss, Jr. and Rimsky-Korsakov’s colorful Capriccio Espagnol. – a great showpiece for the entire orchestra! In between, we’ll hear the regional premiere of music by acclaimed video game composer Austin Wintory. I’m excited to share this program of diverse and accessible music with our listeners. There truly is something for everyone!
Ani Gogova’s “dazzling artistic presence”, “masterful poetic expression”, “ravishing colors”, and “virtuoso technique beyond reproach” (Kultura) have been captivating audiences around the world for almost two decades. Her career started early in her native Bulgaria when she won all major competitions, including the most prestigious National Music Competition “Svetoslav Obretenov”, as well as top prizes in several international competitions for young pianists. Since then Gogova has appeared in solo recitals and concerts with orchestras in Bulgaria, Italy, Serbia, England, Slovenia, Romania, Portugal, Macedonia, France, Canada, Mexico, and throughout the US. Recent performances include solo debut at Carnegie Hall, debut as soloist with the State Orchestra of Mexico, appearances at Chicago Cultural Center, Harris Theater, and the Bulgarian Embassy Series in Washington, DC. In addition, her solo renditions have been heard on the Bulgarian National Radio, FM Classic Radio, Interlochen Public Radio, and WFMT Chicago.
She has been featured artist and presenter at numerous festivals and conferences including Figueira da Foz Festival in Portugal, The College Music Society, European Piano Teachers Association, Apollonia Festival of the Arts in Bulgaria, Sofia Music Weeks, World Piano Conference, Isidor Bajic International Piano Memorial in Serbia, Zodiac Festival in France, and New Bulgarian Music Festival. Throughout her career, Gogova has given several premieres, most notably the world premiere of a work by renowned Bulgarian composer, former Dean of the Bulgarian Conservatory and Minister of Culture in Bulgaria, Georgy Kostov.
Acclaimed for her innovative approach to classical music, Ani Gogova appears in over 40 performances each season. Her cutting-edge collaborations with artists of other media such as photography, film, live animation, poetry, fashion, and dance create fresh and memorable classical experiences. James Harrington of American Records Guide writes, “Gogova is a complete modern classical musician, with the ability to communicate her music through straight concert performances, videos, multi-genre presentations, and recordings…I would go out of my way to see her perform.”
Gogova’s latest album titled “Fantasies, Fairytales, and Nightmares” was released on Blue Griffin Recording label gathering critical acclaim for her playing being “quite hypnotic”, “eliciting fine nuances”, “project[ing] a special magic “and for its “incisive accuracy” “as if she were Martha Argerich on speed.” (Audiophile Audition) Her next solo album, “The Tempest”, will be released in 2019 and will feature music inspired by the writings of William Shakespeare.
An avid chamber musician, Gogova performs regularly in iAN&ANi Duo with Russian cellist Ian Maksin. Their performances have been featured on NPR’s Worldview, Bulgarian National Radio, WFMT Chicago, TED Talks, and have been selected as Critics’ Pick by Time Out Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Tribune. Their multimedia concert “Tango Obsession” was sold out for 5 consecutive nights at the Chopin Theatre in Chicago. In 2012 iAN&ANi Duo released their debut album “Tango plus” featuring music by Piazzolla, Ravel, Ginastera, De Falla, Shchedrin, and a world premiere of a work by Chicago-based composer Ilya Levinson commissioned by the duo. The duo is frequently invited to perform at the Chicago Cultural Center, Mostly Music in Chicago, Unity Temple Concert series in Oak Park, Northeastern Illinois University’s Jewel Box Series, Live on WFMT from PianoForte Studios, Southwest Michigan Symphony Music Series, Atlantic Classical Orchestra’s Chamber Music Series and others.
Equally at home as a performer and producer, Ani Gogova is the Executive Director of Anima Productions. In this capacity, she has been in charge of numerous productions, most notably the world premiere recording of music for baritone and string quartet by Ricky Ian Gordon presented at Lincoln Center in New York last season, as well as productions at the most prestigious concert halls in New York and Chicago including Carnegie Hall, Harris Theatre, and Old Town School for Folk Music featuring artists such as GRAMMY award winning soprano Barbara Frittoli, Metropolitan star Elizabeth Norberg Schultz, and world-music phenomenon Theodosii Spasov, to name a few. In addition, Gogova has co-produced several music films directed by Russian director Sergei Kvitko, most notably “Moments” featuring her on the piano in collaboration with Lucas Segovia of the Joffrey Ballet and “Strings Detached” featuring iAN&ANi duo and ballerina Abigail Simon.
Gogova came to the US to complete her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor on a full scholarship and has made her home in Chicago since 2003 when she was appointed at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, becoming the youngest professor to join the world-renowned faculty of the Music Conservatory at the time. Her dedication to education and collaboration with young musicians has led to numerous master classes, adjudication at national and international piano competitions, and teaching young pianist from all over the world at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. Sought after master class teacher, Gogova was the featured artist in residence Zodiac Music Academy and Festival in Valdeblore, France in the summer of 2018.