Pianist To Celebrate Work of Mendelssohn at Smith Opera House – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
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Pianist To Celebrate Work of Mendelssohn at Smith Opera House

Honoring some of classical music’s most distinguished creators, The Smith Opera House’s “Great Composers Birthday Celebration” concludes on Feb. 3 with Rusian pianist Natalia Lavrova honoring Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) on the 196th anniversary of his birth. The performance begins at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets to the recital are $15 general admission and $7 for students and senior citizens. Call 781-LIVE (5483) or toll-free 866-355-LIVE (5483) for more information or to purchase tickets. The Smith accepts MasterCard, Visa and Discover. Lavrova is substituting for Siiri Schutz who was unable to be in Geneva.

Lavrova will play from one of Mendelssohn's best known piano compositions, “Songs without Words,” as well as works by his contemporaries Chopin, Liszt, Muzio Clementi (who died when Mendelssohn was 23) and 20th century composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

Born in Moscow and trained at the Moscow Conservatory at an early age, pianist Natalia Lavrova is a prizewinner of numerous national and international competitions including the TCU Cliburn Institute Concerto Competition, the Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition, the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the International De Chateau de Coursillon Competition in France, the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, the Isabel Scionti Piano Solo Competition and the Silver Lake international Concerto Competition where she won the Audience Choice Award. Ms. Lavrova was also recipient of the Guiomar Novaes Award in 1999 which was awarded to her by judge Ivan Davis in the name of the Brazilian Embassy.

Ms. Lavrova has performed in her native Russia and at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York City, as well as in recital at the Juilliard School where she was recipient of the Susan W. Rose Piano Fellowship, the Vicki Cowen Scholarship and William Petschek Scholarship. She has appeared as soloist with the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra and the Sarah Lawrence Orchestra, and appeared at the Southhampton Music Series and Pianofest in Long Island, the Belleayre Music Festival, and was honored to be chosen to perform for the C.A.S.E. Museum of Russian Contemporary Art in Exile and other Russian organizations in the United States.

In addition to numerous engagements in the United States this season, Ms. Lavrova will be taking part in a series of concerts in Moscow, St. Petersburg and the former Republics of USSR during the next two seasons, as well as the Festival of Russian Music in Brazil in 2005. Plans for her recordings for the Classical Division of Elephant Records are also in completion.

Felix Mendelssohn is regarded by classical music aficionados and critics alike, as one of the most prolific and gifted composers the world has ever known. Even those who could not name any of his works have heard it, as his “Wedding March” from “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” which has accompanied many a bride down the aisle.

Whether he was born with his incredible talent or was the product of an artistically and intellectually-inclined family will remain a mystery, but like all prodigies, Mendelssohn showed signs of true genius from childhood.

Regarded by some critics as the 19th century equivalent of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and others as a great composer whose contribution would have been greater, had his life been marred with more hardships, everyone should agree that he deserves his place amongst the best, and most influential.

The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith and the “Great Composers Birthday Celebration” are generously supported with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by individual contributing members.