Carter Pann, CU Boulder professor and composer, said it best when he referred to Avguste Antonov as fearless on the piano. He might have made it fearless and flamboyant because Antonov was both. Stepping onto the stage dressed in white sneakers and shirt, red trousers, and navy jacket covered in white stars, Antonov hardly needed to advise the crowd that he would be playing a program of American composers. The fact that it was living American composers gave it an interesting spin. It is likely that most of the audience had never heard of these composers, let alone heard their music.
The first piece, “Blue Fantasy” by Robert Rollin, has elsewhere been referred to as “blues combined with a piquant contemporary flavor.” It struck me as a bit jarring and discordant, and I was not alone. The couple who sat next to me found the piece as disconcerting as I did. When we compared notes, we each admitted that when Antonov finished “Blue Fantasy,” we had been concerned that the entire performance would consist of similar pieces. But each piece thereafter delighted more than the one before it.
The rag influence was obvious in many of the pieces, but the influence varied between blatant and subtle. No doubt, the Broomfield audience appreciated that Antonov played a bit of Carter Pann’s own music, and the short, chatty, personal introduction to it by Pann—less an introduction than an endorsement of Antonov—delighted the audience. And if the audience doubted just how fearless Antonov is, that doubt was swept away by his brief but electrifying detour from living American composers when he took a go at George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” during his encore. I have never heard a more robust playing of it. And it made me want more.
Melanie Mulhall, Cultural Council Member, Broomfield-Colorado, USA
Avguste Antonov performed a delightful piano concert at the Broomfield Auditorium on Friday, January 22. The concert featured music by living American composers such as Robert Rollin, Matthew Saunders and William Bolcom. A special treat was the talk by one of the composers, Carter Pann, who was in attendance.
From his festive patriotic suit to his engaging exchanges with the audience, Avguste entertained and enlightened the audience. Here is some feedback from a few of the audience members:
"I enjoyed the concert, especially the variety of the American music presented. I thought he provided a very personal touch to each of the pieces. I also felt while contemporary music, it was attainable for non-music people but interesting for music aficionados."
"I thoroughly enjoyed his openness and accessibility. I like the way he explained the piece and then played. His performance was outstanding, filled with passion and exuberance. He exposed me to music that I hadn’t heard before. I will definitely be looking into the ragtime revival."
"His passion and attention to detail are front-and-center.
Karen Gerrity, Cultural Affairs Manager, Broomfield-Colorado, USA
Avguste Antonov recently performed Carter Pann’s Concerto Logic for Piano and & Wind Symphony with the San Jose State University Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Edward C. Harris. As an advocate for new music, Avguste continues to discover new and interesting repertoire that is a challenge for him and delight for the audience to see and hear. While the music is angular in composition, Avguste understands what the composer wants and how to put the four different movement styles together to make for a very impressive recital. As with the other two performances that I have witnessed by Avguste, he plays with great power and yet sensitivity where it is needed and his performance was flawless.
Jan Turnage, Executive Director, San Jose Wind Symphony, USA
Avguste Antonov gave an exciting performance of the little known Piano Concerto No. 2 by Jacob Weinberg. He was well prepared and easy to work with in rehearsals. His technique was strong and secure throughout the work. Collaborating with this artist was a pleasure.
Don Appert, Director-Jewish Community Orchestra Portland, USA
I wanted to thank you for coming to our school in February to perform music by (mostly) living composers. Your performance was nuanced and sensitive and brought life and vigor to music that is often regarded by audiences with trepidation. You are a strong advocate for new music, both in your performance and in your teaching, which we were able to experience in your masterclass with our undergraduate students. Best wishes for your future success.
Matthew C. Saunders, Composer, USA
Our First & Calvary concert series began the season with a wonderful performance by Avguste Antonov! His keyboard skills and entertaining narrative made for a delightful concert. Our audience especially enjoyed the variety of styles.
Sheila Grisham Pippin - Director of Music Ministries , Springfield, MO, USA