Celebrating 150 Years of Rachmaninoff at Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall

Music MCM
Music MCM

The Cultural Exchange Foundation is Celebrating 150 Years of Rachmaninoff on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 8pm at Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue, NYC. Tickets start at $10.50 and are available online at CarnegieCharge (212) 247-7800, carnegiehall.org, or at the Box Office on 57th Street and Seventh Avenue.

The Cultural Exchange Foundation – in cooperation with Young Concert Artists, Houston Grand Opera, Classical Movements, Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival, and Morgan State University – celebrates 150 years of Rachmaninoff with a diverse program of instrumental and vocal music. The evening commemorates one of the finest composers of the Romantic era and one of the most celebrated pianists of all time. An exciting group of world-class artists from around the globe will perform some of Rachmaninoff’s most famous music: PreludesÉtudes Tableaux, and original transcriptions, as well as more rarely heard selections, such as excerpts from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers performed by the Morgan State Choir, and arias from the operas Aleko, Francesca de Rimini, and The Miserly Knight. The night will also feature various romances, solo piano works, and chamber works: Piano Trio No. 1 in G Minor with Asi Matathias on violin, Kristina Reiko Cooper on cello, and Dmitry Yudin on piano, as well as the brilliant Sonata for Cello and Piano, also performed by Cooper and Yudin. Soprano Sarah Coburn will also perform three of Rachmaninoff’s most treasured romances including his perennial favorite Vocalise.


Sarah Coburn, soprano

Kristina Reiko Cooper, cello

Maia Gonzalez, soprano+

Navasard Hakobyan, baritone^

Ani Kushyan, mezzo-soprano^

Asi Matathias, violin

Chaeyoung Park, piano*

Joseph Parrish, bass-baritone*

Alisa Sadikova, harp

Aristo Sham, piano*

Diana Skavronskaya, soprano

Victor Starsky, tenor

Ben Strong, bass-baritone+

Elizaveta Ulakhovitch, soprano

Dmitry Yudin, piano


The Morgan State University Choir

Dr. Eric Conway, Director

*appears courtesy of Young Concert Artists

^HGO Butler Studio Artist, appears courtesy of Houston Grand Opera

+Prague Summer Nights Young Artists


Sarah Coburn, soprano

American soprano Sarah Coburn is captivating international audiences with her “precision placement, mercury speed, and a gorgeous liquid gold tone, gilded by a thrilling top and bottom register” (The Globe and Mail). Following her performances in the title role of Lucie de Lammermoor at Glimmerglass Opera, the New York Observer noted, “she turns out to have qualities that have made legends out of so many of her predecessors, from Adelina Patti to Maria Callas: stage charisma, a thrilling upper register and, crucially, a fearlessness about abandoning herself to opera’s most abandoned heroine… this is a palpably exciting voice… Ms. Coburn is a budding prima donna of exceptional promise.”

Kristina Reiko Cooper, cello

Cello virtuoso Kristina Reiko Cooper has won worldwide acclaim for her musical diversity, artistry, and charismatic stage presence. Hailed by The New York Times as “sensational in concert” and as a “striking virtuoso” by the Los Angeles Times, Kristina has performed as a soloist on the world’s most distinguished stages including Carnegie Hall, the Rudolfinum in Prague, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, and Radio France in Paris.

Maia Gonzalez, soprano

Ms. Gonzalez made her debut as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Prague Summer Nights Music Festival, conducted by Maestro John Nardolillo at the Estates Theatre. In December of 2022, Maia debuted the title role of Ibert’s opera Angélique conducted by Maestro Pierre Vallet in Neidorff Karpati Hall at Manhattan School of Music.

Navasard Hakobyan, baritone

A second-year Houston Grand Opera Butler Studio artist from Garni, Armenia, Navasard Hakobyan won first place at HGO’s 2022 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias. During HGO’s 2023-24 season, he performs as Sharpless in alternate cast performances of Madame Butterfly. During the 2022-23 season at HGO, he performed the roles of Baron Douphol in La traviata, Antonio in The Marriage of Figaro, and Second Nazarene in Salome.

Ani Kushyan, mezzo-soprano

A first-year Houston Grand Opera Butler Studio artist from Tbilisi, Georgian-Armenian mezzo-soprano Ani Kushyan performs the roles of Flower Maiden/2nd Esquire in Parsifal and Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music during HGO’s 2023-24 season. Kushyan was a finalist in HGO’s 2023 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias.

Asi Matathias, violin 

Violinist Asi Matathias, protege of Pinchas Zukerman, is already recognized as one of the most celebrated talents of his generation. He made his debut at the age of 14 with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta, displaying a musical maturity and inspiration far beyond his years. This success was immediately followed by another invitation from Maestro Mehta for the following season.

Chaeyoung Park, piano

Chaeyoung Park has been praised as a passionate pianist who “does not play a single note without thought or feeling.” (New York Concert Review). Embracing a broad range of the classical music literature, her programs feature works ranging from the early French Baroque by Rameau, to Beethoven sonatas, to new music by living composers including South Korean classical composer Unsuk Chin.

Joseph Parrish, bass-baritone

Winner of the 2022 YCA Susan Wadsworth International Auditions, Joseph Parrish is a Baltimore native and holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School. Recent operatic credits include Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Augure in Rossi’s L’Orfeo at Juilliard; Spinelloccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Festival Napa Valley, Le Baron de Pictordu in the City Lyric Opera’s production of Viardot’s Cendrillon; and next season he makes his Cincinnati Opera debut in Don Giovanni.

Alisa Sadikova, harp

Alisa Sadikova has had great success in many international harp competitions, including winner of the Maestro Yuri Temirkanov Prize. She is the official representative and creative face of the Salvi Foundation and the recipient of a study grant from the Guzik Foundation (2021-2024). Ms. Sadikova has recorded five albums (in Germany, Russia, France and Belgium) and performed as a soloist in the international tour;Royal Christmas Gala with Sarah Brightman (26 concerts in 16 countries).

Aristo Sham, piano

Hailed by The New York Times as a pianist “who’s playing combines clarity, elegance and abundant technique,” and by The Washington Post as a young artist with “boundless potential” who can “already hold his own with the best,” pianist Aristo Sham has dazzled audiences on five continents. In 2009, Aristo was featured in the documentary The World’s Greatest Musical Prodigies, broadcast by Channel 4 in the UK.

Diana Skavronskaya, soprano

Acclaimed soprano Diana Skavronskaya graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory majoring in opera performance. She was awarded First Prize at the highly competitive Boris Tchaikovsky and Romansiada competitions. In her many years of professional experience as a classical singer, Diana has performed many concerts, most notably at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow before an audience of 6,000, as well as Carnegie Hall.

Victor Starsky, tenor

A native of Richmond Hill, New York, tenor Victor Starsky is a star on the rise. Of his performance in Carmen, Opera Today writes “Starsky’s Don José is terrifying and compelling – a voice that performs vocal acrobatics with strength and beauty that remains undiminished through his final line.” Starsky received tremendous acclaim for his debut as Radamès in Verdi’s Aida at the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre this past summer, where he simultaneously debuted the role of George Gibbs in Rorem’s Our Town.

Ben Strong, bass-baritone

Ben Strong is an American bass-baritone from western Pennsylvania. His education includes a BA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MM from IU’s Jacob’s School of Music. Strong’s roles range from Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Musical Arts Center at IU, to Don Giovanni and Leporello in Don Giovanni.

Elizaveta Ulakhovich, soprano

Elizaveta Ulakhovich (soprano) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She attended the Music College N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov and the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. She was a member of the 2017 class of the People’s Artist of the RSFSR E.S. Gorokhovskaya, where she graduated summa cum laude. She then joined the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia as a Young Artist under the direction of Honored Art Worker D. Vdovin.

Dmitry Yudin, piano

Moscow-born pianist Dmitry Yudin was first a student of Professor Lydia Grigoryeva at the Moscow Gnessins School of Music. He has won prizes in many national and international competitions and festivals, including: the 15th International Scriabin Piano Competition (Paris, 2015, 1st prize), 3rd International Classical Music Festival and Competition for Young Pianists, Astana Piano Passion (Astana, 2015, 3rd prize), 2nd Vladimir Krainev Moscow International Piano Competition (Moscow, 2017, prize), and the 17th Youth Delphi Games in Russia (Vladivostok, 2018, silver medal).

Morgan State University Choir

The Morgan State University Choir is one of the nation’s most prestigious university choral ensembles. The choral forces of this critically acclaimed choir include The University Choir, which is more than 120 voices strong, and The Morgan Singers – approximately 40 voices. While classical, Gospel, and contemporary popular music comprise the choir’s repertoire, the choir is noted for its emphasis on preserving the heritage of the spiritual, especially in the historic practices of performance.

Dr. Eric Conway, MSU Choir Director

Dr. Eric Conway is the Chairperson of the Fine and Performing Arts Department as well as the Director of the Morgan State University Choir. He served as associate conductor and principal accompanist for the Morgan State University Choir for more than twenty years under the leadership of the late Nathan Carter. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University where he majored in Piano Performance and minored in Conducting.

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