Thursday, December 3, 2015


When world-class concert pianist Bezhod Abduraimov returns to his home base in Kansas City for a concert, it’s a “must” event...

And sure enough, his recital of Schubert Impromptus, a Liszt Mephisto Waltz and the Moussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition on 1 December 2015 was a dazzling, roaring affair. Truly, I have devoted most of my life to cultivating, listening, studying, researching, and enjoying many of the great pianists of our time... and I can tell you that Bezhod, at the tender age of 24 is, to put it bluntly, the Real Thing.

Post-concert autographs
Bezhod Abduraimov is the star pupil of Stanislav Ioudenitch, co-winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn Gold Medalist . Bezhod, as we affectionately call him in these parts, won the Grand Prize at the 2009 London International Piano Competition at the Royal Festival Hall with a performance of Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. The voting was unanimous. He is currently affiliated with the International Center for Music at Park University, Kansas City, MO and records for Decca Records. Critic Michael White has written:
“A year on [from the London International] he’s matured in both appearance and performance into a power-player who projects big sound with big gestures but without the vulgarity or self-indulgence of some young pianists I can think of on the power circuit. For all the drama, aural spectacle and electricity in his playing, it’s substantial, disciplined, and accurate. He doesn’t splash, he doesn’t fake. It’s real.”

He is a native of Uzbekistan, a landlocked country in the heart of central Asia. “It used to be part of the Soviet Union,” explains mentor Stanislav Ioudenitch, “one of the fifteen republics. It borders Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan to the east; and to the south by Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Bezhod was from Tashkent, a large city. His teacher was Tamara Popovich. She was one of the most renowned teachers for young players. Alexei Sultanov, who is another Cliburn Gold Medalist, was also there.”

Bezhod and his sister
I have had the privilege of knowing this young man for almost ten years. Back then, in his mid-teens, he was so shy he could hardly make his way out to the platform. Now, seasoned and fully assured, he is absolutely fearless, blazing through Lisztian fireworks and tenderly nuancing the subtlest of Schubertian “heavenly lengths”—The phrase is Schumann’s—with an almost terrifying calm. But above all, he may be developing into one of the greatest Liszt pianists of our time.

The world is his stage, now... but Bezhod will always be one of ours!

1 comment:

  1. Hi John,

    I was wondering how you are these days, so I went to your website. I still have very fond memories of having you here in my house in Amsterdam and also abou listening to your great radio series on Schumann.
    I would like to order: "SCHUMANN AND THE ROMANTIC GENERATION". Is it still available? I could not order it through Amazon. And what happened with the paragraph I wrote on the illness of Schumann?
    Hope to hear from you. I wish you a pleasent end of the year and a fruitful 2016.
    With love and appreciation, Erik Fokke, Amsterdam, The Netherlands ( / 06-25316313)