Muzewest Presents Ilya Poletaev, piano

Pianist Ilya Poletaev performs works by Bach, J.K. Fischer, Nielsen, Sharlat, and Liszt in the beautiful Pyatt Hall at the VSO School of Music.

A pianist with an inquisitive mind who embraces a wide range of repertoire choices and performance practices ranging from the 16th to the 21st century, Mr. Poletaev leads a multifaceted career as both a classically trained pianist and as a performer on early keyboards. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently praised his debut in Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (in both C.P.E. Bach's Harpsichord Concerto in D minor, Wq. 23 and Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor with Symphony in C) as an "interpretation of considerable individuality", singling out his in particular his "lively imagination" and "unfailingly gorgeous tone".  He has also appeared with the Toronto and Hartford symphony orchestras as well as with Romania's Filarmonica "Mihail Jora" di Bacau and Orchestra J-Futura of Trento, Italy.  Mr. Poletaev was also the First Prize winner of the XX Concorso Sala Gallo Piano Competition in Monza, Italy, where he also received the Audience Prize, the Bach Prize, and the Orchestra Prize. He also captured First Prize at the 2009 Grieg International Competition, and was a laureate of the 2008 National Stepping Stone Competition in Canada. He joined the Astral Artists roster as a winner of its 2009 National Auditions.

As a harpsichordist, Mr. Poletaev was a top prizewinner at the 2007 Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society harpsichord competition, and has been heard in such venues as Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, Pierpont Morgan Library, the Helicon Foundation, the Aston Magna Early Music Festival, the Amherst Early Music Festival, and Yale's Collection of Musical Instruments. As a continuo player on both harpsichord and organ, he has performed under Masaaki Suzuki, Andrew Lawrence-King, Steven Stubbs, Nicholas McGegan, Simon Carrington, Graham O'Reilly, and Helmuth Rilling and can be heard in recordings of music ranging from Bertali to Mendelssohn. At the piano, he has performed alongside such distinguished artists as Robert Mann, Donald Weilerstein, Gary Hoffmann, Boris Berman, Paul Hersh, Susan Narucki, and Miah Persson. He has also appeared at the Moab, Caramoor, Sarasota, Norfolk, Yellow Barn, Banff, Orford, and Stratford Summer Music festivals.

Recently, Mr. Poletaev gave an acclaimed performance at the Caramoor Festival with renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Other recent performances include a tour of Romania, recitals at  Italy's Festival Lago Maggiore, the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Upcoming engagements include Medtner's Piano Concerto No. 3, under Peter Oundjian, and the Toronto Symphony, and a solo appearance at the prestigious Klavier-FestivalRuhr, in Germany.  His two-volume recording of the complete works of George Enescu for violin and piano, with violinist Axel Strauss, will soon be released on the Naxos label.

Mr. Poletaev began studying in Moscow at the age of six and continued his studies in Israel until he moved to Canada at the age of 14. He holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, where he studied with pianist Marietta Orlov and harpsichordist Colin Tilney, as well as a doctorate and a Master's degree from Yale, where he studied with Boris Berman. Between 2005 and 2010 he also served on the faculties of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, the Yale Department of Music, and the Yale School of Music as a lecturer in Early Music. In the spring of 2011 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Piano at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montréal.