Russian pianist dazzles Pattaya audience

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Pattaya residents who went to hear Russian pianist Andrey Gugnin at the Bayshore Hotel on Saturday, March 1 were not disappointed.  Playing a program of Russian composers, the young virtuoso brought the audience to a standing ovation. “We have never heard anything like this in Pattaya,” commented one awestruck member of the audience. 

More than 200 people filled the hall to listen the star pianist.  Some came from Bangkok for the event.  One even came from as far as Petchburi for an event which was only to be held in Pattaya.

Russian pianist Andrey Gugnin had the audiences spellbound during his trip to Pattaya. (Photo courtesy Matthew Bolton)Russian pianist Andrey Gugnin had the audiences spellbound during his trip to Pattaya. (Photo courtesy Matthew Bolton)

Press reviews of Gugnin’s previous performances have raved about the pianist’s ‘staggering’ technical powers and deep musical sensitivity.  But there is nothing like witnessing it in person.  Hearing – and seeing – is believing.

The young, fresh-faced 26-year old entered into an almost transcendental state as he began the program with Rachmaninoff’s thirteen Preludes, Opus 32.  His concentration did not fail, nor did his touch as he weaved seamlessly from the delicate to the tempestuous.  The Preludes spanned more than forty minutes.  But the audience sat spellbound and attentive throughout.

After the interval he played Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, one of the most eccentric pieces of piano music in the Russian repertoire.  Gugnin brought out the wide range of moods and colours of this monumental work, which depicts a visitor to an art gallery inspired by contrasting paintings.  Gugnin’s performance of the final movement, ‘The Great Gates of Kiev’, a profound and stirring finale, brought the audience to its feet with a raucous standing ovation.

Gugnin beamed with delight before launching into the Toccata from Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata, a dynamo of a piece, which builds up into a tumultuous crescendo of astounding virtuosity.  The audience went wild, cheering and applauding with delight and amazement.  And with good reason.  Pattaya has never seen such a world-class standard of piano performance.

Andrey Gugnin was brought to Pattaya by Pattaya Classical Music, a non-profit group formed by local residents in order to bring live classical music performances to the city.  He played four recitals in total during his visit here, three at Eelswamp in Jomtien and the one night at the Siam Bayshore.  The event was made possible by Siam Music Yamaha Co. Ltd, who brought a seven foot grand piano to Pattaya, especially for the event.

The Gugnin performance has raised the cultural standard of Pattaya.  It will be a hard act to follow.