A Piano Recital With a Literary Twist


Travis Hairgrove, Editor

The grievous, soul pouring sound of Beethoven’s music continues to tug at the heartstrings of people of all musical tastes. Likewise, the inner and outer conflict so perfectly captured by William Shakespeare’s words still resonates with audiences 400 years after the bard’s death.

Next Wednesday (Oct. 5) at 7:30 p.m., senior music major Elijah Dmitrievsky will pay tribute to these two titanic legacies in a piano recital titled Music Meets Shakespeare. While Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No.2, (popularly known as “The Tempest”) will be featured in the performance, Dmitrievsky will also play selections by Sergei Prokofiev, Johann Sebastian Bach and Frederic Chopin.

Hailing from Russia, Dmitrievsky first started thinking in terms of story when working out the phrasing and artistic interpretation of pieces early in his development.

“In the 9th grade, what made me start taking it more seriously was how my teacher in Russia really inspired me to pursue music, and she really instilled in me a desire to perfect the art of my piano playing,” Dmitrievsky said. “She was always about finding the right type of image…the right type of [mental] story for performance. I really appreciated it.

When I was in Russia, it was like music school was a second home for me,” Dmitrievsky recalled. “I would come back from school, and I would just go there. I’d almost see her every day. It was very intimate in a way. She was a very attentive, and very dedicated teacher, and wanting he students to succeed.”

Even though his father’s studies at Dallas Theological Seminary took his family back and forth between Russia and the United States, Dmitrievsky’s transition into life as a music major at A&M-Commerce still took getting used to.

“At first, it was hard for me to adjust, because you meet with your professor only once a week for an hour,” Dmitrievsky said. “In Russia, I always had contact, so that was kind of a little difficult for me. So, [in college] you have to become an individual, self-motivated musician at some point, so I feel like that was good…to learn your music, show up prepared to your lesson, and then he’ll guide you on where to go with it.

A major plus side, though…coming from Russia to here, was how amazed I was at the quality of the instruments and the music building,” Dmitrievsky continued. “Everything’s good, just really good pianos to play on. I always give this analogy. It was like when you go skiing down a slope or just cross country skiing. If you ski on pure wooden skis, it’s not the same as if you on plastic skis. When I got here, it was like me getting on plastic skis and just going really fast and smooth…very good instruments. In Russia, you sometimes didn’t have that luxury of having nice instruments to play on, and you always had to work around that.”

Ultimately, Dmitrievsky would like to be a professional performer, and has a dream of assembling a touring orchestra, someday, with the mission of using classical music to minister to people.