Sergei Rachmaninoff (Library of Congress)
Utterly extraordinary as pianist, conductor, and composer, throughout his life Sergei Rachmaninoff bestrode the musical world like a colossus. In his 150th birthday year, popular speaker and concert pianist Rachel Franklin celebrates his prodigious mastery of all these fields through recordings, video clips, and live demonstrations at her piano.
British-born Franklin has been a featured speaker for organizations including the Library of Congress and NPR, exploring intersections among classical and jazz music, film scores, and the fine arts.
September 6 Russian Roots
Bells, chant, folk music, nature, and seasonal change: The sounds and sights of his childhood permeated Rachmaninoff’s musical language. Before fleeing Russia forever in 1917 he composed in every genre including opera, symphony, choral works, chamber music, and piano solo, rapidly developing the intensely rich timbres that mark his unique style.
September 13 Conquering a New World
Rachmaninoff’s arrival in the United States saw him build his career as a legendary concert pianist and conductor. Despite his quiet, almost dour demeanor, he became a musical superstar worshipped by a mesmerized public, and he set new standards for performing brilliance.