Dr. Dmitry Rachmanov, a professor and chair of keyboard studies in the CSUN department of music, performed a piano solo on Sat., Sept. 27th in the music recital hall.
Rachmanov’s performance was part of the 2008-2009 Faculty Artist Series. The program included works by Beethoven, Schubert, Stravinsky, Medtner and Scriabin.
The music seemed to flow from the piano effortlessly. Alternatively powerful and melodic the music vibrated beautifully through the hall.
Rachmanov played with a force and ease that rivaled one another in intensity. At times the music was melancholy and although classical, Rachmanov’s performance infused a sense of modernity that made it tangible.
The diverse crowd of all ages packed the sold-out recital hall. Every one of the 235 seats was occupied with an eager listener. Rachmanov has been playing to such crowds for many years, in the capacity of both a teacher and a performer.
At the young age of eleven, Rachmanov was accepted into a vigorous music school, Moscow’s Gnesins’ Academy of Music. He had been playing since the age of five and had decided at an early age that playing the piano was his passion.
‘In Russia there is a different approach to teaching and a highly developed method of teaching classical music, a very competitive field at the professional level,’ said Rachmanov.
In 1976 Rachmanov emigrated from Moscow to New York City where he began his undergraduate studies at The Juilliard School. He received his graduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and went on to win several prestigious scholarships.
The life of a pianist, like that of any great artist, requires an unparalleled devotion to one’s art. This means countless hours spent rehearsing in the studio.
‘Craftsmanship requires diligent work. When I am practicing for a performance, as opposed to teaching, I must learn new material and that can take any number of days or weeks,’ said Rachmanov.
Rachmanov has taught at countless schools across the country, including the Manhattan School of Music, Long Island Conservatory and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
‘Teaching is a rewarding experience for me. I get to work with talented, eager and hardworking students. It is a creative process where you pass on your knowledge,’ said Rachmanov.
Teaching classical music to modern students does pose certain challenges however. There is a concern that music and arts education is being severely curtailed from public schools for the last couple of decades which affects the general appreciation of the music, said Rachmanov.
‘At the same time, popular culture has its own icons and criteria, you cannot request that everyone enjoy classical music. However, everyone deserves exposure to culture and then can be left to decide,’ said Rachmanov.
‘There is a paradox that arises, there is limited access to arts education and yet many universities and conservatories are at capacity. I hope that music appreciation will not die,’ said Rachmanov.
In hard economic times people often turn to different outlets in search of solace. For some, the universal language of music provides that comfort.
‘Music elevates your spirits, it can soothe the soul. When the economic world is in disharmony you seek harmony in music and arts. For me music is my life,’ said Rachmanov.
Considering the expansive professional repertoire Rachmanov has cultivated over the years, he must have developed favorite pieces and composers.
‘There is an embarrassment of riches to choose from. As a performer, there is so much great music to choose from. There is such a wealth that my favorites change depending on the period in my life, what work I identify with most,’ said Rachmanov.