Really thrilled today as world famous conductor Alexander Sladkovsky (Peoples Artist of Russia) has agreed to work with me as mentor. It’s important for me to be able to speak with experienced musicians and conductors so that I can develop the way that I perform and also to help me really understand Russian music and what it means to people. I’m really looking forward to working with Maestro Sladkovsky again.

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Last night I performed Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto No.2 with The Mariinsky Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev. It was an amazing experience and the audience were very appreciative. The Mariinsky Theatre is in Vladivostok which is on the east coast of Russia, so its next to Japan. The theatre is a very big modern building with really excellent stages and practice rooms. The piano I was given for practice was a Steinway concert grand which is really unusual, normally I wouldnt be able to practice on such a lovely instrument!

Working with Maestro Gergiev was unforgettable, he has a complete understanding of the pieces he is conducting and was able to change and adapt to the way I was playing straight away. The Mariinsky Orchestra played perfectly and the combination really made an excellent performance.

I still can’t quite believe I have been given this incredible opportunity so thank you to everyone and especially Mr Denis Matsuev.

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A huge thank you to conductor Mr Alexander Sladkovsky and the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra for giving me the opportunity to perform with them at the White Lilac Festival of Sergei Rachmaninoff in Kazan last week. The performers included Barry Douglas, Valentina Lisitsa and Cesar Alvarez. It was wonderful being in the beautiful city of Kazan and a great honour that Mr Sladkovsky chose Rachmaninoffs Piano Concerto No.2 for me to perform. I hope that I managed to give a performance worthy of one of the worlds greatest concertos.

You can see me rehearsing the 2nd movement with the orchestra here.

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