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Andrey Gugnin releases “Pictures”

Steinway & Sons releases latest album from prodigious Russian pianist Andrey Gugnin – Pictures –

Gugnin, the 2014 Gold Medal winner at the prestigious Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, presents Mussorgsky’s monumental Pictures at an Exhibition surrounded by rarely heard “Exhibitions” by Jacques Ibert and Armenian composer Arno Babadjanian. On April 8, 2016, sensational young Steinway artist Andrey Gugnin brings his unique interpretation of Mussorgsky’s seminal work Pictures at an Exhibition to his latest Steinway & Sons label release, Pictures.  

Many are familiar with Maurice Ravel’s iconic symphonic arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Fewer, perhaps, know that the work originally began as a suite for solo piano. Mussorgsky’s masterpiece was written as a tribute to his dear friend, the artist Victor Hartmann, who died at the age of 39, and who shared Mussorgsky’s ideals in his own field of architecture and painting. The year after Hartmann’s death saw a memorial exhibit of 400 of his works, including sketches, watercolors and costume designs. Mussorgsky was deeply moved by the exhibition and, struck with inspiration, quickly reacted by writing a suite of ten piano pieces dedicated to the organizer. Mussorgsky’s Pictures represents an incredible triumph for the composer and for program music. The piece functions as a tone poem in which the listener “promenades” through an exhibition of Hartmann’s works, each existing as a character piece within the larger work. These shorter pieces bubble over with a variety of colors, characters, and imagination, bringing not only their subjects to life, but the keyboard as well. 

Gugnin’s Pictures also explores the works of two more contemporary composers. Composed between 1943 and 1944, Jacques Ibert’s Petite Suite en quinze images offers a simple collection of unconnected musical scenes, or miniatures. An example of twentieth century Neoclassicism, these short pieces are written with traditional, closed forms and largely conventional harmony, which is particularly evident in the movements without program — Prélude, Ronde, Romance, and Quadrille. The other miniatures are more preoccupied with suggesting a scene. The motoric La machine à coudre and Sérénade surl’Eau for example prove to be particularly effective in the suggestion of their subjects. Ibert injects all with a healthy dose of his signature humor.

Arno Babadjanian, a contemporary Armenian composer, abandons the idea of program musical together with his Six Pictures. Composed later in his career, the virtuosic miniatures which make up the set never claim to depict anything more than their musical form, the most programmatic being Folksong and Sassoun Dance. The pieces are filled with irregular rhythms and rich chromaticism.

Andrey Gugnin been involved in music since the age of seven. He studied with Professor Vera
Gornostayeva at the Moscow Conservatory, graduating in 2010. In addition to winning the Gold Medal and the Audience Prize at the 2014 Gina Bachauer InternationalArtists Piano Competition (2014), Andrey has won prizes at multiple competitions including the Valsesia Musica International Piano Competition (Italy, 2014); the Beethoven International PianoCompetition (Austria, 2013); Svetislav Stančić Piano Competition (Croatia, 2011); Cittâ di Cantù (Italy,2009); International Piano Competition of the Republic of San Marino (piano duo section, 2008).

He has performed in significant halls in more than 20 countries including Russia, Austria, France, 
Germany, Thailand, Italy, the United States and Croatia. His performances have included both solo piano concerts and concerto performances with orchestras including the Svetlanov State Orchestra,the Moscow State Orchestra, the Macedonian Philharmonic, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony.

About Steinway & Sons label

An imprint of Steinway & Sons, the Steinway & Sons music label was introduced to bring the music of some of the world’s most talented emerging and established pianists to new audiences.  Since its founding in 2010, music produced by the Steinway & Sons music label has consistently garnered widespread critical acclaim. Recordings on the Steinway & Sons record label can be purchased through ArkivMusic.com as well as Amazon, iTunes and other fine retailers around the globe.

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