World renowned performer and national and international award-winner, Arsentiy Kharitonov is in a league of his own. On Friday, July 12 this highly acclaimed Russian pianist and composer will perform works by Busoni, Haydn, Rachmaninov, Schumann, and Scriabin at The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor.
Arsentiy Kharitonov does not follow the mold of a virtuosic pianist who has played since he was a young child. In contrast, his studies began at the ripe old age of 16. With the goal of gaining admittance to the acclaimed Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, he found an instructor who was mostly curious whether a student with no previous musical training could prepare for, and pass, the entrance exams in the matter of a few months. During an interview with Classical Voice, Arsentiy said “I was accepted by a teacher who was impressed solely by the huge span of my hands!” With practically no fundamental piano skills and what may have seemed like delusional dream, Arsentiy defied the odds.
Within three years of embarking on the daunting task of becoming a concert pianist, Arsentiy appeared with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Theatre Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a first prize winner of the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition (U.S.), and the Rachmaninoff Competition (Russian Federation). After winning the Rachmaninoff Competition, he began his concert career with engagements throughout Europe, including appearances at the Royal Conservatory, Stockholm, and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, followed by an Asian tour with performances in the major halls of Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul.
Early in his career, he became a champion of playing lesser known repertoire. Still advocating for these works, he is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Masterpiece Finder, an organization that researches and highlights lesser known masterpieces of historical and contemporary composers. In an interview with Chloé McFeters, Arsentiy explains the reason behind this passion project. “Everyone is performing the same standards. In the meantime, there is an ‘ocean’ of forgotten masterpieces of lesser-known composers. If they aren’t being performed, it doesn’t mean it is bad music.”
Advance discounted tickets are $25 through the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Avenue or by calling 633-5159. The box office is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regular tickets are $30 and available online at boothbayoperahouse.com and at the door. Doors for seating open at 7 p.m. The concert begins at 7:30.