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Beyond Frontiers by DarthFar Beyond Frontiers by DarthFar
Virtuoso pianist. Conductor. Arranger. Vladimir Davidovich Ashkenazy burst onto the world stage when he won second prize in the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1955 at age 18, followed by first prize in the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels in 1956. Since then, he has not only made a name for himself as one of the most renowned pianists of this age, with a staggering discography ranging from the works of Bach to Ravel to Scriabin (and even multiple recordings of Rach III, Rachmaninov's notoriously fiendish 3rd piano concerto), but has also branched out into the realm of conducting, where he gathered praise for his recordings of various Russian masters including Stravinsky and Shostakovitch, and even orchestrated his own version of Mussorgsky's Pictures of an Exhibition. He was also recently involved in several TV projects, including Ashkenazy in Moscow, which documented his return to Russia after over 20 years. A citizen of Iceland since 1972, he is currently the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

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I love this man. (Let's not misinterpret that statement). [And not just because he's the only living hero whom I've ever had the privilege of meeting.] As a piano student, I used to play along with his recording of Robert Schumann's Fantasiestücke Op. 12 on my discman, working on my diploma. As a collegiate, I collected his recordings and swore at the unavailability of his concert tickets (which were sold out months before the performance) until, finally, I planned a year ahead and managed to procure seats for his performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12 in A (K414) and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major (Op. 15). And I tell you: Here is a man, full of life, who turns his nose up at classical tradition and bounds up onto the stage with a huge grin on his face. Here is a renowned musician who defies the formal dress code with his turtlenecks and dark suits. And here is a virtuoso who not only plays like a dream, but also directs the orchestra from behind the piano, in the fashion of classical masters. If the wild cartoon conductors you see on TV were ever modelled upon a real person, it was probably Ashkenazy.

It was quite unnerving to walk up to him to shake his hand and discover that he was a tiny fellow (whom I fairly loomed over) with fat, stubby fingers that defy one's preconceptions of piano virtuosi and their quick, slender digits. But I suppose one doesn't have to be large to be a giant. :nod:

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I was initially undecided about whether to do a realistic montage of Ashkenazy as pianist/conductor/arranger (which I was confident doing), or if I should attempt a looser style, without strictly basing it on any one existing photo (which I wasn't). (Which all look like bloody posterity shots anyway, except for this one which I liked but was from the wrong angle. I wound up posing for this instead). :iconwraithten:, upon hearing my description of him, said firmly, "Keep it loose. Make it abstract." My thanks to her; this was the first painting I'd done in ages that I actually had fun doing. :D

Title stolen from Vladimir Ashkenazy's autobiography, published in 1985.
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:iconoliversadie:
OliverSadie Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011
Hi. This is beautiful, I have used it for my music group "Piano Orchestral" on SoundCloud, fully accrediting you. I hope you don't mind. Message me on SoundCloud if you have any objections. [link]
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011
Thanks very much! :D And no objections! I'm pleased you like my art enough to use it for the group.
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:iconmansonslostrib4sale:
MansonsLostRib4Sale Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
oh wow, this is something of a marvel mate thank you for making this wonderful painting :iconbowplz: id really love to get into playing piano after seeing this picture i immediately ran to you tube and starting listening to ashkenazy play and hes incredible! whenever i go into choir and hear the piano play and i sing, i use my fingers and pretend im playing the piano on my thigh hehe its addicting to not do that
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010
Thanks very much! :D Ashkenazy is awesome, isn't he? He's even more fun to watch in real life because that man just goes like the Energiser Bunny.

And hey, it's never too late to pick up a new instrument - I only started the trombone when I went to university, and the French horn 6 weeks ago. :nod:
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:iconmansonslostrib4sale:
MansonsLostRib4Sale Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh yes he is very awesome hehe. That is very funny i just imagine him going all energizer bunny XD awesome image. I will try as hard as i can to try and get some sort of lessens going. money is very tight right now.everyday i go into choir class(like today) i start to mess around on the piano before class starts haha. i love it
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:iconsilpholion:
silpholion Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
This is fantastic; the way you painted him is as if he's performing magic with every flick of his conductor stick and it becomes a musical wonder for all to enjoy.
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2010
Thank you very much! :D He's such a wonderful conductor to watch: he has so much energy.
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:iconocelott:
ocelott Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2010
Even without reading the artist's comments, it's clear a lot of love and respect went into this piece. The controlled chaos at his command is a brilliant take on things.
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2010
Thank you very much, Occy. :D

[And sorry for the late reply!]
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:iconsplashnsmile:
splashnsmile Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2010
BEAUTIFUL! With your brushstrokes you've captured the madness and rush of music!!
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2010
Thank you very much. :D
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:iconleeannekortus:
LeeAnneKortus Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
brilliant! :clap:
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:iconclassically-depunk:
Classically-DePunk Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
That's amazing! I love the backgound, and it really ties in and speaks to me :)
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2010
Thank you very much. :aww:
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:iconclassically-depunk:
Classically-DePunk Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
You are welcome! :nod:
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:iconn0wm3:
n0wM3 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Fantastic! Never thought someone would draw a musician here :) you're so lucky to be able to watch him live... I probably never will since my country has very little classical music enthusiasts :(

Anyway, kudos to this! :)
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:iconhubby-n-dad:
Hubby-N-Dad Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2009
OK, Far... this is one of your best... is it rough, yes, is it uber detailed, no. However, that is 100% irrelevant as you said the following "you had fun".

The piece works. And it works well. The notes coming off the paper is an awesome effect.

Awesome.
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:iconfallenyangel:
FallenYangeL Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2009
It's brilliant, the movement and colours of this makes mego silent.
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
Thanks, I'm glad you like it. :aww:
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:iconsteffel:
Steffel Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Wonderful! I love the dynamic of his pose and the upswet notesheets that realease the notes to do his bidding. Simply great!
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
Thank you very much! :aww:
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:iconzedderzulu:
ZedderZulu Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, needless to say I adore it - I really like how you've used the effect of different brush strokes to make it look very stylistic, and all the while it looks pixel perfect! :D
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
Thanks very much, Doug! And I used, I think, only three different brushes: a standard round one, one that looks like a slash of the artistic knife, and a speckly one, both of which I made yonks back.
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:iconpenelopesalt:
PenelopeSalt Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
It's always a profound pleasure to witness one artist honoring another. And when the results are so visceral, yet so ethereal at the same time... This piece brings tears to my eyes, because it summons the awe that I felt attending the symphonies that meant most to me.
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
Thank you. :) If I only had the time, I'd be honouring *all* of my heroes - but who would want to see two hundred pictures of classical and swing musicians? ROFL!

I take it you like classical music as well. :D
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:iconpenelopesalt:
PenelopeSalt Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
I'd want to see two hundred pictures of classical and swing musicians. I shall consider it my privilege to supply you with a time machine so you can fulfill that dream.

And yes. I'm not as hardcore as I once was (not since my formative station, WGMS, succumbed to mediocrity and eventual death), but classical music - and its respective virtuosi - remains peerless.
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:iconthe-blonde-vortex:
The-Blonde-Vortex Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2009
I do say, this man aged rather well. :lol:
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2009
Yes, he certainly did, didn't he? :D And he's still awesome.
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:iconthe-blonde-vortex:
The-Blonde-Vortex Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2009
I think it's what makes him awesome
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2009
:D

Check him out!
youtube.com/watch?v=xP2LktDZR4g
and
youtube.com/watch?v= PtU8dm08XCE
(add h t t p:// www, and remove the space between the = and the P in the second link ;)).
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:iconthe-blonde-vortex:
The-Blonde-Vortex Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009
. . . OK uhm... he's sooo good its almost unreal, he's like mentally unsound...??? :psychotic: ...???:confused: Wowa :wow:

If he were my secret admirer, I'd be one happy gal. :rofl:
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
:rofl: Yeah, Ash is so exuberant it's both delightful and somewhat unsettling.
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:iconthe-blonde-vortex:
The-Blonde-Vortex Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
Perfect way to describe it Sir.
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:iconweida34:
weida34 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2009  Hobbyist
plenty of energy and passion in here! great work :)
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2009
Thanks very much! :D
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:iconweida34:
weida34 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2009  Hobbyist
:thumbsup: :)
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:icondragonfly22:
Dragonfly22 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, Far, I can TOTALLY relate! I'm so excited about this experience you had! I haven't had the chance to sign in in ages (I'm currently on the school's library :hmm:) because I don't have internet, so it was a surprise to come to your page and find this! Well, besides being a diehard piano/music in general lover, I know the feeling of meeting someone so amazing! Last year came here Elizabeth Pitcairn, the owner of the red Stradivarious violin that inspired the movie "The Red violin" and later that year came Gabriela Montero from Venezuela to play Rachmaninov's 3rd piano concerto... I was sooo thrilled!
And yes, you're right if you're guessing that by sneaking backstage I had the privilege of shaking the conductor's hand. There's just no equal to meeting someone whom you so feverishly admire. :nod:

On Saturday I'm probably assisting to Brahms's piano concerto no.2, with Kirill Gernstein as soloist. :D

Oh and regarding the painting on itself, I do totally love the colours and the rage with which Ashkenazy is conducting (not to mention the flying papers, ingenious!) Oh and I'm glad you ventured into that style of painting, similar to that of Leonid Afremov (oil painter here on dA), turned out very energetic!
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
Thanks, Romy! (and I'm really sorry about the late reply). Sorry to hear of your internet deprivation - college has a tendency to do that to you - but it's good to see you're not completely cut off either.

Ah yes, The Red Violin... I love that movie, in spite of its shortcomings. :D You heard Pitcairn play, you say? Awesome! I've never heard of Montero, but I've seen Boris Berezovsky perform Rach III live, and he made it look so easy it was almost obscene.

I'm trying to achieve a more "painty" style with digital media, which, unfortunately, is going against my OCDness. Still experimenting, though, so there's the chance I may get cured someday! And thank you; Afremov is one of my top favourite painters here on dA. :D
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:icondragonfly22:
Dragonfly22 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Far, it's been so long! I'm glad to hear from you, though late or whatever. ^^

And lol, yes, very good pianists and musicians in general have a tendency to make one feel as if one could fly and touch the sky, though later when you try the pieces you burn like Icarus :D
You know, I actually prefer to be away from internet for a while, I mean, I'm learning so much in return that I can't complain.

Say, by the way, didn't you have your birthday on September 23 or am I delusive? Mine was on Sept. 22! :dance:
Oh and don't ask how I knew that. :sherlock:
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009
Well, acquisition of mucho knowledge is a good trade for the internet. ;) [Seriously, I don't think I'd have done half as well in college if I'd had regular access to the net!] Hope you've had time to draw, at least.

Happy (very) belated birthday! LOL, my best female mate has her birthday on 22 September too. :laughing: Mine is on the same day as Douglas Adams'; I don't know what hat you pulled out "23 September" out of...
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:icondragonfly22:
Dragonfly22 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes, you're definitely right. And about drawing, well, I'm not having time as often as before, but I do try!

And the date I got it from your shout box, I think Dragonwinter congratulated you on Sept.23 *shrugs* But now I know the real one, which is nice. :D
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:iconcallista1981:
Callista1981 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2009  Professional General Artist
Brilliant!!! :clap:
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2009
Thanks!
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:iconeliatra:
eliatra Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
AAHHHH I love it!!! And you played piano, too?? How did I miss that before? (I'm a piano performance major and tend to get overexcited when I discover fellow pianists in my midst)

We get neat people out here for masterclasses and such once in a while, but no HUGE names like that (at least not in recent history). Closest we've had is Frederic Rzewski (who I never even knew about, but apparently he is the next Beethoven as far as modern composers go, if you believe my professor) and also Margo Garrett who is head of the piano dept. at Juilliard.

But uhh, back to the picture, I love the energy and especially the concept--the music being drawn from the pages... it's a perfect visual of the magic of ink on paper turning into that emotional experience we call music. I'm going to have to remember this when I go back to Music History on Monday and am tempted to think music can be boring. :P
Reply
:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2009
Thanks very much! :aww: If Ashkenazy ever gets around to your town, I'd recommend that you go see him. (Aside from being awesome, he's also very entertaining). And haha, no, I was formally educated in science. I studied the piano for a good many years, though - completed my Associate Diploma, did (but never completed) my Licentiate, because I was in college by then, and didn't have an acoustic piano to practice on (although I served as choir pianist for several years). These days I play the trombone in my state orchestra.

Rzewski sounds familiar, but I'm not sure if it's just déjà vu, or if his composition was one I heard at a modern classical music concert I attended a couple of years back. :laughing: Have never been for a masterclass with an actual virtuoso; what do you do at one?
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:iconeliatra:
eliatra Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Rzewski is pretty well known for his "The People United Will Never Be Defeated" Variations, some North American Ballads for piano (check out the Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues on Youtube, very cool) and other stuff.

Most masterclasses we have involve a few select students each playing a piece they have been working on and being critiqued by the virtuoso in question, hopefully resulting in a better performance by the end of the class. The goal is not so much to iron out wrinkles (usually the students' pieces are very well prepared), but rather to give them a different way to look at particular passages, a new interpretation to change things up a little.

Of course, Rzewski was a little cantankerous and eccentric (I guess he's entitled, being a genius and all), so he walked into our highly-anticipated masterclass and asked if *we* would comment on the students' performances first. This was cool except that this is what we do every week in our regular piano class, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a renowned musician in there.

It's really cool that you're still involved with music. I have a friend who started out as a piano/voice performance double major; he's currently studying physics in Germany. He's insanely talented, so I'm hoping that he comes back to the program one way or another. Do you have a piano/play one much anymore?
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
Cantankerous! :rofl: I suppose all geniuses have a right to be crabby and eccentric. Those masterclasses sound dead awesome; I expect you all had fun.

Yes, I still have the old Kawai giraffe that I started out with. It's still working very nicely (although, like all Kawais, the keys are a little loose, so you have to exert more control on them), and I get it tuned every year, and play stuff like Mozart and Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu on it every now and then.
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:iconeliatra:
eliatra Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'll be honest, I had to go look up the Fantasie-Impromptu and listen to it. NICE. Gotta love that virtuosic Chopin stuff.

I'm attempting the Polonaise-Fantasie this year, which apparently no one ever performs. I'm learning the whole 17-page monster mostly on the basis of the gorgeous arpeggiated chords on the first page, which basically grabbed me and said "by the way, you can't graduate without learning this piece, because it's the most beautiful thing you've ever experienced that is also within your ability to play, unlike the Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto."

I have a feeling it will become one of those pieces I will always be able to play, but never have an occasion except rainy days when I will be home alone with my cat.
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:icondarthfar:
DarthFar Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2009
I think Fantasie-Impromptu is one of those pieces that should be in the repertoire of every pianist, no? :D Along with, say, Beethoven's Waldstein and Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.

Are you a fan of Liszt? One of his contemporaries - I can't remember who - described his one of his arrangements as having "garlands of arpeggios"... and really, that's what I like about them. :nod: That's not to say that I can play his stuff *well*, but let it not be said I never tried!

Have you ever tackled Rach III?
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:iconsvera:
Svera Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2009
Wonderful work with passion :aww:
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