By Khalida Sarwari
Acclaimed Russian pianist Katya Grineva may have played at Carnegie Hall more times than you can count on your fingers and performed a private concert for the Bush family, but there’s something about California that keeps bringing her back.
She was here this time last year to do a pre-Valentine’s Day benefit concert for Cancer CAREpoint, and it was so successful that she has been invited back to perform at the Montalvo Arts Center on Feb. 11 in a concert titled, “Chopin, Champagne and Chocolate.”
Grineva said she is glad to make the trek from her home in Manhattan to the South Bay to support an organization that provides counseling and resources to cancer patients and their families.
“My mom passed away a year and a half ago from cancer, so I’m always happy to support anything that supports cancer patients,” said Grineva.
Moreover, she said she enjoys visiting the area and seeing the many friends she’s made here. This time of year, especially, it gives her a chance to escape the cold in New York, she said.
“I’m really happy to come back and I love the area; I think it’s one of the most beautiful places in the United States,” she said. “I just love being there, and the people are so wonderful.”
Grineva just finished her 14th concert at Carnegie Hall, becoming the only female solo performer who has performed at the prestigious concert hall that many times. It was the culmination of a busy year for Grineva, who traveled to and performed in South Africa and South America. Among the highlights of the year for her were performances she did for children in hospitals, something she said she wants to continue this year.
“It was really great because they react to classical music,” she said.
Stateside, she also played in Minneapolis, where she performed a concerto with her friend Byron Duckwall, and Chicago. The two of them clocked close to 50 concerts, she said. Duckwall also produced her new album, “A Classic Holiday.”
After her California stint in February, Grineva plans to travel to Israel, where she has concerts scheduled in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. She also will be taking some time to record a new album with Duckwall and prepare a program for her next concert at Carnegie Hall before hitting the road yet again for concerts in the U.S. and tours in China, South Africa and the Philippines–and, if possible, return to California for additional concerts.
“What I would love to do is bring my holiday concerts which I did at Carnegie Hall last year to California at the end of December or November,” she said.
The Montalvo concert will feature lots of Chopin, but also some of Grineva’s new holiday pieces by Schubert and Tchaikovsky.
“I have this gorgeous arrangement of ‘Ave Maria’ that I could play because it’s good for a romantic concert,” she said.
Audiences will also be treated to an extended version of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” and Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” and “Island of Joy,” which Grineva performed at Carnegie Hall. The piece is “the most amazing ecstatic piece of music,” Grineva said. “It makes you so happy and wild.”
Grineva performs at Montalvo on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $100 and reservations are required by Feb. 7. To order tickets, visit katyaconcerts.com. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to Cancer CAREpoint.
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gay Crawford at email@example.com.