Ashu and Moutouzkine perform at the Grand County Concert Series opener Jan 8
The Grand County Concert Series (GCCS) opens its 13th season at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8 at the Church of the Eternal Hills. The season includes six concerts from January through March.
“Audiences will hear from a wide variety of world-class artists,” said Judy Baxter, President of the GCCS. “Our concerts are made possible with several sources of revenue. The sponsorships and donations from local businesses are critically important.”
Ashu is presented by Grand County TV17, Melem USA LLC and RE/MAX PEAK TO PEAK. Ashu is a unique duo, featuring Ashu, a concert saxophonist, and Alexandre Moutouzkine, a pianist. These young musicians have won international competitions and performed separately around the world in major concert venues. Their collaboration and completely different stories are as captivating as their music.
For twenty-something Ashu, it all started at age 10, when he first heard the saxophone played on a street corner in San Francisco. “It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard,” said Ashu. He begged his parents for a saxophone and joined his school band. Growing up in a home that didn’t have a music player or albums, Ashu decided to become a classical soloist after hearing his first recording: a CD of Luciano Pavarotti.
“I was completely floored by the beauty and emotional power of it,” he said. “That single moment changed everything.”
While never having performed in public, Ashu entered an international competition two years later. He won the top prize of a recital at Carnegie Hall and it would be his first public performance. He received his Bachelor and Masters of Music degrees from Northwest University and is based in the Chicago area. He maintains a full-time career touring the world as a classical concert soloist.
As he grew up, Ashu was told that a career as a solo classical artist on the saxophone was impossible. Ashu’s advice for young musicians includes his lessons learned. “Always just do it for the love of it. Follow your instincts and follow your heart.” Ashu acknowledges that there will always be people telling you what you can and can’t do. But he believes if you dedicate yourself and believe in yourself, anything is possible.
Moutouzkine is a thirty-something pianist who was born in Russia and grew up in a family of professional musicians. He began piano lessons with his mother and studied at the Nizhniy-Novgorod College of Music. At age 14, he won the St. Petersburg Piano Competition. He continued his studies at the Hochschule fur Musik and Theater in Hanover, Germany. He went on to win top prizes in many prestigious international competitions, including the Jose Iturbi International Piano Competition. (The piano Moutouzkine will play on for the concert was played by Jose Iturbi at the Aspen Music Festival.)
With his performance at age 19 at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Moutouzkine won the Special Award for Artistic Potential and critical acclaim from the Dallas Morning News, launching his career in the United States. He has toured throughout countries in North and South America, Germany, France, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Italy. He has performed with the Tivoli Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, and Valencia Philharmonic among many others. Moutouzkine holds a Masters and post-graduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he joined the faculty in 2013.
All concerts are at the Church of the Eternal Hills in Tabernash. Season tickets are $90 and available online at http://www.grand-countyconcertseries.org.
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