Thursday, November 3, 2011


The upcoming Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra concert will feature the KSO’s own Ildar Khuziakhmetov playing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D. As this concert was to have featured Calvin Smith playing a Mozart Horn Concerto, we are all indebted to Ildar for stepping in on pretty short notice to fill some very big shoes. Ildar is a major force on Knoxville’s cello scene, having been a member of the KSO since 2000. His teaching studio produces great students, one of whom was featured on a KSO Family Concert a few years back. We all also owe a debt of gratitude to his wife, violist Jennifer Bloch and their young daughter, Alexandra for allowing Ildar to pursue Haydn with abandon.

The Knoxville Symphony has three members with the initials I.K.– Ildar, Ikuko Koizumi, and Ihsan Kartal, from Uzbekistan, Japan and Turkey. Ildar’s last name is very hard to pronounce, but I think I can help you out with it. To hear him say it, it’s a 2-syllable word, but just to break the ice with him for you, say “khoo Jacques MADE of,” very fast. Kh is pronounced like the “ch” in “chutzpah.”
While Haydn’s life may have been a little more incident-free than Mozart’s– there is no movie about Haydn called “Josef”– when he hit a home run, he hit a home run, and “Haydn D” is way out of the yard. A concerto my college professor, David Wells called an “old man piece” (meaning I was too young), it exists in a couple of different renderings. The autographed score from which we are playing was discovered in a storage closet in 1954 at Breitkopf and Härtel in Leipzig.

I learned a lot tonight. The last soloist for the Haydn D was Janos Starker, in February of 2000 with the Chamber Orchestra. Well of course, I already knew that, but it turns out that the first time this work was played with the KSO was in 1949 with Raya Garbousova, under the direction of David Van Vactor. (The KSO webpage and program notes have it wrong; it is not “Kaya.” She was the other cello professor where I did my undergrad! She introduced me to Feuermann’s widow. That is a scary enough coincidence, but...) Raya's son is married to Miriam Fried, who was the soloist on the January 1989 KSO Masterworks concerts, on the Sibelius Concerto. Miriam Fried’s son, Jonathan Biss, is a fine pianist who soloed with the KCSO in April of 1997! Yikes.

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