ST. PETERSBURG - Eric Himy will present one of the most technically demanding and expressive concerts ever attempted at the Museum of Fine Arts on Sunday, Aug. 24, at 2 p.m. in the elegant Marly Room.
Tickets are first-come, first-served, cost $20 for adults and $10 for students 22 and younger with current ID, and can be purchased online by going to www.fine-arts.org. Admission to the entire Museum is included in the ticket price.
Himy will play Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini (Opus 43), accompanied by local pianist Jeffrey Chodil, as well as three preludes by the legendary Russian composer: the G-sharp Minor Opus 32, No. 12; the G Major Opus 32, No. 5; and the G Minor Opus 23, No. 5.
He played the Rhapsody in early June with the National Symphony Orchestra of Panamá, which brought down the house.
The first half of his program also includes the shimmering Ondine from Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit and Scriabin’s Poéme in F-sharp Major, Opus 32, No. 1, and Feuillet d’album (“Page of an Album”), Opus 45.
After intermission, Himy turns to music by two of Spain’s greatest composers: the ever popular Suite española by Albéniz, inspired by the traditional music of the country’s different regions, and de Falla’s wonderfully dramatic, gypsy-influenced El amor brujo (variously translated as “The Sorcerer’s Love” or “The Bewitched Love”). The final movement, the “Ritual Fire Dance,” will bring the summer series to a rousing conclusion.
The New York Times has described Himy’s playing as “flawlessly poised, elegant and brilliant,” and Revue Musicale de Suisse Romande compared him to no less than the legendary Vladimir Horowitz.
Himy began studying the piano at six and gave his first concert at 10. He was a guest soloist with the Baltimore Symphony at 15 and made his National Symphony debut under Hugo Wolf at 19. He went on to win numerous competitions, including the Kosciuszko Chopin Prize in New York.
He has performed at such major venues as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Recital Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Salle Cortot and Salle Gaveau in Paris. He has released all-Ravel and all-Gershwin CDs, both to critical acclaim. In 2010, he celebrated the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth by playing more than 40 concerts worldwide and followed in 2011 with tributes to Liszt’s bicentennial.
Himy studied music and biochemistry at the University of Maryland and received his MM from The Juilliard School. He was invited by the family of Leonard Bernstein to celebrate the 90th anniversary tribute to the composer/conductor in a gala concert at the 2008 Lukas Foss Music Festival in the Hamptons.
The MFA Music Committee, chaired by Dr. Richard Eliason and co-chaired by Demi Rahall, plans the series. Vicki Sofranko is the staff coordinator. Concerts are sponsored in part by the Estate of Mrs. Elvira Wolfe de Weil, and the Tampa Bay Times is the media sponsor.
The MFA at 255 Beach Drive N.E. has a world-class collection, with works by Monet, Gauguin, Renoir, Morisot, Cézanne, Rodin, O’Keeffe, and many other great artists. Also displayed are ancient Greek and Roman, Egyptian, Asian, African, pre-Columbian, and Native American art. The photography collection is one of the largest and finest in the Southeast. The galleries, The Junior League Great Hall, and the Marly Room in the original building were recently renovated, completely transforming the experience of the art on view.