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Catch a Khachaturian

Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet

A Soviet-era piano concerto that put an Armenian composer on the map, being performed by French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, is one of the highlights of this week's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert.  WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports.

Aram Khachaturian wrote his only piano concerto in 1936 in the USSR . It was a hit both at home and abroad, especially in the U.S. So much so that, a 1946 recording by William Kapell with the Boston Symphony Orchestra became so popular that it was often referred to as the "Khachaturian Kapell.”

Yet, though highly acclaimed in its day, performances of the work by today’s best-known pianists are rare.

But not Jean-Yves Thibaudet. And though the work has not been played in a Philadelphia Orchestra Subscription concert in over 40 years, Thibaudet learned the piece for a Philadelphia Orchestra summer concert at Saratoga Springs just over 20 tears ago.

Thibaudet says Khachaturian’s piano concerto is not for the faint minded or faint fingered.

Under the baton of Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Jean-Yves Thibaudet plays the Khachaturian Piano Concerto in this week's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert, Sunday afternoon at 1 pm on WRTI.  Also on the program is Glazunov's “Autumn,” from The Seasons and the Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 1 in D minor.

Listen to more of Jim's interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet.