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Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

Ivory Whisperer

Ukranian piano genius Vadym Kholodenko in Sunriver

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In a kind of World Cup for pianists, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, crowns perhaps the planet's very best every four years. In 2013 the best was Ukrainian-born and current Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory student Vadym Kholodenko.

On Aug. 19, Kholodenko will grace the Historic Great Hall at Sunriver Resort as part of this year's Sunriver Music Festival.

Like most any classical music prodigy—regardless of which country they're from—the list of accolades attributed to Kholodenko as well as prestigious academies attended is long; and for most Americans without much meaning.

What should mean something—even without extensive knowledge about which awards are important and which schools are the best—is the undeniable and flatly striking talent displayed when Kholodenko sits at the keys of a grand piano. Let's go ahead and call what transpires a metaphoric transmutation of classical compositions by Bach and Beethoven into transfixing and heart- stopping performances akin to a balloon light enough and big enough to float a listener straight to heaven.

The 26-year-old Ukrainian is a baby-faced chamber music rock star and all-around smile hound who began his rise to piano greatness as the age of 5 in Kiev. Now a father and husband, the student and assistant teacher continually competes as well as takes on new projects like forming a piano duo with fellow artist Andrey Gugnin.

In the world of classical piano music, Kholodenko—for the moment—is tops in the field. Formidable in any milieu, his wow factor has sparked a ton of online chatter among fans of the traditional genre. He is precision personified.

Vadym Kholodenko

7:30 pm.. Sunday, August 18

Sunriver Resort

57100 Beaver Dr.

Tickets $30 - $50 at www.sunrivermusic.org

About The Author

Ethan Maffey

Both a writer and a fan of vinyl records since age 5, it wasn't until nearly three decades later that Oregon Native Ethan Maffey derived a plan to marry the two passions by writing about music. From blogging on MySpace in 2007 and then Blogspot, to launching his own website, 83Music, and eventually freelancing...

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