Christmas Eve 1874. The young composer Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky rushes over to the Moscow Conservatory to play his first masterpiece in front of his mentor, Nikolai Rubinstein. Tchaikovsky plays the Piano Concerto No. 1 all the way through, and Rubinstein, after a long, agonizing silence, responds that the piece is impossible and must be heavily revised. Enraged, Tchaikovsky declares, I shall not alter a single note! and takes the work to Boston to be premiered. One year later, Rubinstein relents and debuts the concerto in Moscow to thunderous applause. Tchaikovsky would later go on to compose the repertory classics Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and the 1812 Overture, but many people still consider Piano Concerto No. 1 to be his best work. Who better to perform it with the New World Symphony than exiled Russian pianist Vladimir Feltsman? The Arsht Centers Knight Concert Hall will be flooded with talent this Sunday afternoon at 3 for The Tchaikovsky Concert, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.
Sat., May 2, 8 p.m.; Sun., May 3, 3 p.m., 2009