B. Martinu Variations on the Theme of Rossini
F. Chopin Sonata op. 65 1st mov
A. Ginastera Pampeana No 2
S. Rachmaninov Sonata op. 19 3mov
I. Stravinsky Suite Italienne Tarantella, Minuet and Finale
Nazar Dzhuryn is a native of Lviv, Ukraine. He began his cello studies at the age of six and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the Lviv Music School under Mr. Evgeny Shpitzer. His Master of Music degree under Professor Igor Gavrysh is from the Moscow State Conservatory. Upon graduation, he spent 2 years at the Moscow State Conservatory as an Assistant Professor of Cello.
Nazar Dzhuryn was the principal cellist of the Moscow Conservatory Symphony and the Moscow State Symphony “Young Russia”. He performed in numerous solo recitals throughout Russia, Ukraine, South America, Africa and the United States and was a soloist with the Moscow Conservatory Symphony, the Moscow State Symphony, and the Lviv Philharmonia Symphony. His Festival participation has been with the Rostropovich Festival in Evian, France, the Boulder Festival, Colorado and the Woodstock Mozart Festival, Illinois. An active chamber musician and orchestral player, Mr. Dzhuryn has appeared in concert with many classical music legends: Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, Daniel Barenboim, Mstislav Rostropovich, Georg Solti, Boris Pergamenchikov, Hellmunt Rilling, Mark Peskanov, Rachel Barton Pine, Cyrus Forough and James Galway.
When he arrived in the United States, Mr. Dzhuryn concluded his studies at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University under full scholarship. He has performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and the Chicago Cello Society. Currently he is a member of the music faculty at Elgin Community College and the Naperville School for the Performing Arts. He also serves as principal cellist of the Woodstock Mozart Festival and as assistant principal cellist of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.
Irina Feoktistova graduated from St. Petersburg Conservatoire, Russia. A classically trained pianist, she has performed in the major halls of St. Petersburg, Russia, and toured Europe and the United States as a soloist, duo pianist, and accompanist. In 1995, as a part of a piano duo, she participated in the Park Lane Group auditions and was chosen from 260 participants to perform at the Purcell Room of the Royal Festival Hall, one of the best in London. The piano duo Jana Polianovskaja / Irina Feoktistova won third prize at The First International Competition of Contemporary Music Interpretation in Weimar, Germany (1996).
In 1997 she gave series of concerts as a piano soloist with The Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders, conductor Mr. Robert Groslot. Also that year she participated in The Ninth International New Music Festival titled Sound Ways as a piano duo and recorded her first CD. Ms. Feoktistova relocated to the United States in 1998, and since then she has performed extensively in Chicagoland area and worked as a free-lance musician at the Roosevelt, Loyola, Northwestern, and DePaul universities. She has been involved in numerous musical theatre productions as an accompanist and music director. She is also active in various projects performing Russian and American contemporary music. Her USA tours include series of concerts with Russian singer and composer Elena Antonenko.
Since 2004, Ms. Feoktistova has had the privilege to be an accompanist for the world’s foremost performer of Baroque trumpet, Crispian Steele-Perkins on his yearly USA tours. In 2004 she won The Kawai CD Recording Competition in piano solo category. Ms. Feoktistova is affiliated withCUBE , MAVerick and Vox3 ensembles in Chicago and with The Union of Composers in St. Petersburg, where in May of 2005 she performed a program of American contemporary music at the 41st International Festival St. Petersburg Musical Spring and recorded her CD titledMusical Bridge, Chicago – St. Petersburg. In 2005 and 2007 she participated in John Cage’sMusicircus events organized by Chicago Composers Forum and The Museum of Contemporary Art. For the 2007 Musicircus event Irina initiated the Scriabin color-music program, that she performed piano solo accompanied by digitally created color animation projected on the stage background.
In 2005-2006 Ms. Feoktistova worked as a coach and interpreter for Vladimir Galouzine, the principal Russian tenor, performing in Manon Lescaut and Turandot at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She worked as a back stage pianist for Der Rosenkavalier (2006) and played organ part with the Lyric Opera Orchestra for Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten (2007, Sir Andrew Davis, conductor). Irina has been the principal keyboardist with Millennium Chamber Players, a Chicago based ensemble, since it was founded in 2006. Her recordings include piano solo Classical and Contemporary music. Her 20th century repertoire includes works such as Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs with Russian singer Elena Antonenko (2003); Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunare; Anton Webern works; Peter M. Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King with Millennium Chamber Players . Her recent recordings include works by Alexander Scriabin, Nikolay Medtner and Frederick Chopin. In 2007 Irina was featured in the ‘The Fazioli Salon Series ‘, which was broadcasted live on 98.7 WFMT Chicago classical radio station.
On June 12th, 2008 Irina made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist and an accompanist with Russian singers Vladimir Galuzine, Methodie Bujor and Natalia Timchenko for The Russia Day concert (N.Y., USA).
Irina Feoktistova and Nazar Dzhuryn And Dreams that Come True
I want you to picture yourself at the age of six. Ask yourself if you remember what you wanted to do at that point in your life. Do you remember? Is that still what you want to do? For many of us, you probably said no to one or both of those questions. But if you said yes, you should know that by the age of six, Nazar Dzhuryn and Irina Feoktistova had become the talented musicians they wanted to be.
Natives of Ukraine and Russia, respectively, the two musicians were observed and chosen by their parents and their teachers to study music. Dzhuryn said “They chose me!” based on his long arms and advanced ability to recognize pitch for the cello, his instrument of choice.
Similarly, in St. Petersburg, Russia, a six year old Irina Feoktistova was chosen from her classmates to study music, but her weapon of choice was not strings, but keys – the piano.
I had no idea what to expect as I entered the recital hall that Thursday evening on Jan. 23. I had not attended many concerts, none at least that played G.Valentini or R. Schumann.
I had only ever been in the recital hall once before, one day when I was walking past it last semester. I was met with a melody that floated its way through the doors of the hall. Another student and I were stopped in our tracks, almost in a trance-like state, and we went to check it out. It was brief and random, but it was a memorable sound. I will admit that the experience left me a bit intrigued and even excited to watch another performance in the recital hall.
The quiet of the room on Thursday was introduced to the sweet, peaceful and powerful sounds of the strings and piano duo at about 7:40 p.m. Each piece was long, and sometimes I felt myself drifting off into my head until the music snapped me out of it with a wild and unexpected arrangement of notes.
There was a definite pattern within these pieces that began with a peaceful and joyful introduction that was met with quick, deep and dark notes. The sounds of both instruments created killer harmonies. I realized just how out of my element I was when I kept questioning if the piece was actually over or not and whether I should cheer or just clap.
I definitely recommend checking out another performance by this duo, or anyone else who performs in the recital hall at NEIU. It’s free admission for NEIU students. They occur pretty frequently and host local, regional and universal talent.
Coincidentally, both Feoktistova and Dzhuryn came to Chicago the same year, around the same ages, yet didn’t meet until about three to four years ago. They had almost identical childhoods with rigorous training. Feoktistova, for example, was “practicing for twelve hours a day” with her grandmother, who was strict with her because she was very proficient in pitch.
For both musicians, it became clear that music and performance were more than just “careers” they had been assigned. “It was my passion and I’m good at it,” said Feoktistova on playing the piano. Music had become a part of these artists’ lives; their performances were their way of radiating their energies to the audience.
Each performance and song created a new character to portray and project each night, as if they were actors. “All art connects,” said Feoktistova about theatre, music, literature, visual art and anything you consider to be ‘art’. “Cooking is art!” added Dzhuryn.
Feoktistova had a few tips for any musicians or artists: “Unlock your potential,” she said. “Decide what interests you, decide what you’re good at and remember, ‘Travel is key to art, discover new culture and sounds.’”
Dzhuryn gave me some personal advice at the end of our phone interview. I told him I was at NEIU studying to teach elementary school and he reminded me to “teach [future students] that art is important.” I will gladly start to preach this shared belief right now.
If you aren’t the type to go to shows, don’t like music, are way too busy or just can’t make it — for whatever reason — don’t fret. It’s okay. I understand. However, don’t let that stop your creative juices from flowing. The artist will always be a part of the minority in society, but we can all decide what true art is. For Feoktistova, her art is the “spark” inside her soul that she can share with her audiences. For Dzhuryn, art is a way to “show the mindset of society,” and promote more creativity in our lifestyles. And for me, art is the key that unlocks the mind from all the feelings and thoughts that are trapped.