Pianist Alissa Firsova returns

Alissa Firsova by Aiga Photography
Alissa Firsova by Aiga Photography

The autumn Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra concert features the return of pianist Alissa Firsova.

She will play solo piano in the Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini op 43 in between the Wagner Overture to Tanhauser and the Dvorak 6th Symphony which forms the second half of the concert. The conductor will be music director Dominic Grier.

WPO spokesman Barry Cranford said: “The Wagner Overture has been requested by the WPO chairman David Holmes to celebrate the life of his late mother who was a keen amateur musician.

“She was an enthusiastic trombone player and also an extremely-talented instrument-maker producing two cellos and a violin which will be played at the concert. Her son, chairman David, will also be playing the violin he made at the Cambridge school of violin-making and viola player Lynn Whitley will be playing the instrument she made many years ago. The five instruments will be held up for the audience to see!

“The Rachmaninov Rhapsody was written in Switzerland in 1934 and is for solo piano and full symphony orchestra taking the form of a piano concerto with a set of 24 variations based on the twenty-fourth and last of Nicolo Paganini’s Caprices for solo violin.

“While this caprice has inspired several composers to produce interesting works, the most famous and best is the wonderfully-melodic Rachmaninov op 43 version. The 24th and last variation presents considerable technical difficulty for the pianist and shortly before the Rhapsody’s world premiere performance soloist Rachmaninov expressed considerable trepidation over his ability to play it! He had a glass of crème de menthe to steady his nerves just before the performance which was then then a great success. Alissa will not need any crème de menthe!

“The Dvorak 6th Symphony op 60 was written in 1880 and dedicated to Hans Richter conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. It has plenty of Czech national style within a standard Germanic classical romantic form.”

The concert is on Sunday, November 26 at 3pm in the Assembly Hall Worthing. Tickets are £9, £13, £16 with children under 16 and students £3. Contact the Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206206 or online at www.worthingtheatres.co.uk.

Barry added: “If you wish to support your local orchestra you can become a Friend of the WPO and get a discount on ticket prices and receive a newsletter. The WPO is a registered charity.”

Alissa Firsova is a British-Russian pianist, composer and conductor. As a pianist she gave her Wigmore Hall and Proms debuts in 2009 and has appeared in Dartington, Cheltenham, Presteigne and Messiaen at Southbank.