Local residents have the opportunity to hear Ukrainian pianist Stanislav Khristenko perform in a benefit concert for Ukraine 4 p.m. Sunday, June 26 at Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High St., Santa Cruz.
The program: Frederic Chopin: Four Ballades and works by Ukrainian composers Boris Lyatoshinsky and Valentin Silverstrov.
Presenters are the Distinguished Artists Series, Peace United Church and Novo Ukraine, a nonprofit providing humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine, serving meals, delivering medicine and medical equipment and evacuating refugees.
Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Khristenko gave his first piano solo recital in Kharkiv Philharmonic Hall at age 11 — and he has since captivated audiences on four continents.
He studied with Vera Gornostaeva in the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and with Sergei Babayan in the Cleveland Institute of Music.
He has been called a “poet of piano” with his emotional intensity.
As a concert pianist, Khristenko received prizes at 30+ international piano competitions including Cleveland International Piano Competition, Maria Canals International Piano Competition and Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition.
He has appeared as a piano soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, Phoenix, Puerto Rico and Richmond Symphonies, National Orchestra of Belgium, Bilbao, Madrid and Tenerife Symphony Orchestras, Liege Royal Philharmonic, and Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra. His performance highlights include solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, and Palais de Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
He is a Steinway artist.
He moved to the United States in 2008; most of his family still resides in Kharkiv. He is a co-founder of KharkivMusicFest as well as music director of Nova Sinfonietta Chamber Orchestra in Kharkiv. In 2020 he founded Rethink Classical, digital initiative for classical music and arts as well as Rethink Piano Academy, a mentoring initiative for young pianists.
In just four years, KharkivMusic Fest presented performances of the world’s top musicians as well as outreach
concerts, painted pianos on streets, Festival Orchestra, a classical music forum, and Children’s Orchestra.
The event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and most of its program was presented in the spring 2021. This year’s event, planned for the end of March, replaced due to the attack by Russia with one concert in the subway shelter by only five musicians that stayed in Kharkiv. This year KharkivMusicFest was featured by Washington Post and ABC News, among others.
With the Nova Sinfonietta Chamber Orchestra, Stanislav conducted works of 40 composers in its first three seasons. In 2018-2019, Nova Sinfonietta ArtConnect project brought together musicians from Odesa, Lviv, and Kyiv chamber orchestras for alongside performances.
Nova Sinfoneittta orchestra musicians started a Children’s Orchestra initiative but activities were interrupted by the pandemic in 2020.
At this moment, most of the musicians have left Kharkiv to find shelter all over Europe.
Tickets are $100 at: www.distinguishedartists.org.