Art Alert: World famed Egyptian pianist Ramzi Yassa to perform in Cairo

Ahram Online, Wednesday 25 Sep 2013

On Saturday 28 September, internationally-acclaimed virtuoso Ramzi Yassa will perform Beethoven's 'Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5' at the Cairo Opera House

Ramzi Yassa
Ramzi Yassa performing in Cairo, 2010 (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)

Speaking to Ahram Online, Ramzi Yassa – who performs at the Cairo Opera House on 28 September – had thus expanded on Beethoven's work during a 2012 interview: "You ask me why Beethoven, specifically. Beethoven's score is kind of perfect. If you move anything out of its place, you find the quality diminished: the quality of the phrase or the musical form is broken. Everything has a reason: nothing is there without cause. There is nothing placed in his scores for the sake of decoration or embellishment. Everything feels like it carries the essence of the music or the essence of musical discourse: it has drive. Beethoven is very precise. Behind the logic is stirring emotions, but there was always logic,"

On Saturday 28 September, the Paris-based internationally renowned Egyptian pianist, will perform Beethoven's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5 with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, directed by Jiri Petrdlik.

The programme will also include Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man and, in the second segment of the evening, the orchestra will perform Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9, Op. 70.

Among the Cairo Conservatory's first graduates following its inauguration in the 1950s, Ramzi Yassa became one of the most remarkable musicians of his generation.

He pursued his formal education at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and received an honorary certificate at the 1974 Tchaikovsky competition. Yassa was the first Arab pianist to record Beethoven's piano concertos, which he did with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Ahmed El-Saedi. He relocated to Paris in the 1970s, where he resides to date. 

Yassa's extensive performances the world over – in which he cooperated with renowned conductors Zubin Mehta, Charles Groves, Vladimir Ashkenazy, among others – have seen him delight the audiences of some of the most prestigious concert halls. These include the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, the Barbican Centre, the Royal Albert Hall, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Berliner Philharmonic Hall, to name a few. 

The Egyptian virtuoso currently teaches at Paris' École Normale and is a jury member of numerous international piano competitions held in Leeds (UK), Santander, Carlet, Kawai (Spain), Cagliari (Italy), Pretoria (South Africa), Missouri (USA), among many others. He also organises master classes in various locations across the globe.

Yassa frequently performs in Cairo while on visit to his native Egypt. 

His last concert with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Hisham Gabr, was scheduled to take place on 1 June. On this evening, musicians of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, along with the artists from other companies, stood on stage announcing strike in opposition to then minister of culture Alaa Abdel-Aziz and his pro-Muslim Brotherhood policies. 

On 28 September Ramzi Yassa will once again indulge his Cairo audiences, this time with Beethoven's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5.

Saturday 28 September at 7pm
Cairo Opera House Main Hall, Zamalek, Cairo

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