An internationally renowned Russian pianist will fill the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University with Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Schumann and Chopin at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 during a special concert.
"We’re thrilled to have an artist of Dmitri Ratser’s caliber on our campus for a solo recital," said Janet Landreth, associate professor and coordinator of keyboard area studies. "He’s a phenomenal artist and the first Russian pianist to ever appear in Fort Collins or on the Colorado State campus. His playing has been compared to that of Vladimir Horowitz. I expect this to be the concert of the year."
Ratser was born in Moscow in 1953 to a family of professional musicians. At an early age, his talents were recognized and he became one of the select few to study at the Moscow Conservatory.
He began performing outside the U.S.S.R. in 1989, appearing in Vienna for the first time. Since then, he has toured annually throughout the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe.
When Ratser played on a Russian radio program in 1989, the performance was heard by Maxim Gershunoff, an American impresario and artists’ manager. Gershunoff thought the musician was Vladimir Horowitz, one of the most well-known Russian-American pianists of the 20th century. Gershunoff later contacted Ratser and auditioned a performance to be sure the artist he heard on the radio and Ratser were one and the same. When this proved true, Ratser embarked on a 1990-91 concert season which marked his introduction to the American concert-going public in East and West Coast recitals. He returned to the United States in 1991-92, making his North American orchestral debut with the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
Since then, he has appeared at the Kennedy Center and the prestigious recital series at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif., where he reappeared by popular demand.
"When the fingers are unerring, as Ratser’s seem to be, the results take the breath away," said the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Brilliant, dazzling, radiant – the words pale alongside the performance’s reality."
Ratser will perform his recital on a Steinway Concert Grand Model D, which was signed by Henry Steinway, senior member of the Steinway family, before being shipped to the student center at Colorado State early in 1998. The Steinway, which replaced the piano lost in the flood of 1997, has "a beautiful, heroic tone," Landreth said.
Ratser’s concert will include a sonata, two etudes and two preludes by Sergei Rachmaninoff and works by Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann and Frédéric Chopin. The concert is sponsored by the Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Fund and the department of music, theatre, and dance at Colorado State.
Tickets are $10 for nonstudents and $5 for students and are available at the Lory Student Center box office. Call 491-5402 for ticket details.