Piano: Nadia Blank-Koliha
Featuring: San Ramon Valley Chorale
In our opening program of the 2019-2020 season, the Diablo Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Matilda Hofman, honors the legendary pianist Clara Schumann on her 200th birthday. We will also present works by her husband Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms – three composers whose lives became forever intertwined.
Clara Schumann was one of the most acclaimed concert pianists of the 19th century, and helped define the modern piano recital. She was also a noted composer, and her Piano Concerto forms the centerpiece of this program; we are proud to be joined by our featured soloist Nadia Blank-Koliha. Clara encouraged her husband Robert Schumann to pursue orchestral composition, and his Symphony No. 3, “The Rhenish”, is often considered the pinnacle of his symphonic output. Both Clara and Robert Schumann were pivotal influences on Johannes Brahms; we will present his major choral work Schicksalslied (“Song of Fate”), joined by the San Ramon Valley Chorale, directed by Bruce Koliha.
Johannes Brahms – Schicksalslied (“Song of Fate”)
— with San Ramon Valley Chorale
Clara Schumann – Piano Concerto
— with soloist Nadia Blank-Koliha
Robert Schumann – Symphony No. 3 (“Rhenish”)
Russian born pianist Nadia Blank-Koliha holds a diploma in piano performance from the St. Petersburg State Conservatory (Russia) and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University of Southern California. In Russia she studied with the renowned Grigory Sokolov and Isaac Katz and at USC with Daniel Pollack, Stewart Gordon and Cherry Rhodes (organ). Ms. Blank’s piano teacher’s lineage can be traced directly from Isaac Katz to Alexander Goldenweiser to Alexander Ziloti and finally to Franz Liszt and Ludwig Beethoven.
Ms. Blank has received various prizes and awards in national and international piano competitions. She was a recipient of a Special Recognition Award in the first National Rachmaninoff Piano Competition in 1983. In 1985 she placed second in the All-Russia Piano Competition and in 1990 was a prize winner at the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy. After her performance in Italy, L’Arena di Verona commented that Ms. Blank is “a pianist with an exceptional talent”.
Currently Ms. Blank resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where she maintains a private studio and performs as a soloist and a duo-pianist. She collaborated and appeared as a soloist in concerts with the orchestra of the San Francisco Opera and Ballet Company, Pro-Art Symphony Orchestra and the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Blank’s solo performances include many benefit recitals for various music organizations including the Berkeley Piano Club, the Chora Nova and Bella Musica choirs, the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church, and others. Over the past several years she has been actively collaborating with Dale Tsang as a duo pianist and has played numerous piano-duo performances in various venues.