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“LA BELLE ÉPOQUE”
The Santa Barbara Music Club will open its 2023-2024 concert season on Saturday, October 7, 3 PM, at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 4575 Auhay Dr, Santa Barbara. Admission is free.
Violinist Chavdar Parashkevov and pianist Natasha Kislenko will perform a program of Eastern European composers from La Belle Époque, a period of European history usually considered to have begun around 1871 and to have ended with the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It was characterized by optimism, economic prosperity, and technological and scientific progress in both Europe and the United States. The unique program is compiled of lesser known works for violin and piano by composers such as Enesco, Dohnanyi, Suk, and Rachmaninoff.
The acclaimed duo Parashkevov – Kislenko was established in 2009. Since then they have toured extensively with concerts in Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and USA, in addition to live radio broadcasts (Sofia, Bulgaria and Houston, TX) and a televised recital (Sofia). They have released two studio albums: Russian Sonatas, and Beethoven.Brahms.Mahler.
Bulgarian violinist Chavdar Parashkevov’s diverse career has included numerous appearances with orchestra and in recital in Bulgaria, Turkey, the United States, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Denmark. Recent appearances include chamber music recitals at the Round Top Festival, Houston Museum of Art concert series, and Cypress Creek FACE Foundation. Parashkevov was awarded First Prize in the National Competition Svetoslav Obretenov in Provadia, First Prize and a special Bach prize in the “Young Talents Competition” in Sofia, Second Prize in “The Best Performance of Bulgarian Music” in Varna, and First Prize for the “Best Performance of Czech and Slovak Music” in Varna. He has released four albums, the most recent “Brahms and Shostakovich – Piano Trios,” was published in 2021. Parashkevov is a graduate of the School for the Arts in Varna, and also attended Southern Methodist University and the University of Houston. His teachers have included Peter Hristoskov, Veronica Bogaertz, Nelli Shkolnikova, Andzrej Grabiec and Albert Muenzer. He currently combines performing for the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet Orchestras and teaching at the Round Top Music Festival.
Pianist Natasha Kislenko, hailed for her “vividly expressive” interpretations and “virtuosity that left the audience exhilarated,” (Santa Barbara Independent) offers unique concert programs and presentations to the worldwide community of music listeners. A prizewinner of several international piano competitions, she has extensively concertized in Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and across the Americas. Ms. Kislenko made her Carnegie Hall solo recital debut after taking the Grand Prize at the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition in 1996. Recent solo engagements include the Eskişehir Greater Municipality Symphony Orchestra, Turkey, and the Varna Chamber Orchestra, Bulgaria. A resident pianist of the Santa Barbara Symphony since 2010, she has been a featured soloist for the Shostakovich, Grieg, Clara Schumann, de Falla, and Mozart piano concerti, to great critical acclaim.
Born in Moscow, Ms. Kislenko holds degrees in piano from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University, NY. In addition to a successful performing career, Dr. Kislenko has been a dedicated educator and mentor to the younger generations of aspiring musicians. A collaborative faculty member at the Music Academy of the West, CA since 2004, Natasha joined the faculty at University of California, Santa Barbara in 2007 after serving at California State University, Fresno for five years. She has recently appeared with performances and masterclasses at University of Maryland College Park, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Houston Moores School of Music (TX), Morgan State University (MD), Tulane University (LA), Fort Hays State University (KS), Ankara University (Turkey), Scuola Musicale di Sesto Fiorentino (Italy), and Würzburg Musikhochschule (Germany) in addition to numerous adjudications for MTNA and MTAC.
Santa Barbara Music Club concerts display a wonderful diversity of historical musical periods and compositional styles, including beloved masterworks and exciting new and seldom-heard repertoire.
Of the series, the Santa Barbara Independent exclaimed: “A beautiful day, a beautiful room, beautiful music … who could ask for more?” and Gerald Carpenter in Noozhawk.com declared, “Every Santa Barbara Music Club concert that I have ever attended has been a sensory joy as well as a consciousness expansion.”
A valued cultural resource in the community since 1969, the Music Club’s mission is threefold:
(1) Presentation of an annual series of concerts, free to the public.
(2) Aiding and encouraging musical education by the disbursement of scholarships to talented local music students.
(3) Presentation of community outreach activities, including bringing great music to residents of area retirement homes.
For information on this or other Santa Barbara Music Club programs and performing artists, visit SBMusicClub.org.