Sunday night the Israel Philharmonic and its music director Zubin Mehta opened the “Stars of the Baikal” Music Festival in Irkutsk, Siberia. The orchestra was guest of the festival’s director; pianist Denis Matsuyev, a frequent visitor to Tel Aviv.

The concert opened with Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” Symphony in b minor and in the second half, Denis Matsuyev joined the orchestra in a fantastic performance of the First Piano Concerto of Tchaikovsky in b flat minor.

The soloist, born and raised in Irkutsk, strongly identifies with the city and even took Zubin for a dip in Lake Baikal. He is the initiator of the Festival and invited Mehta the IPO. After Tchaikovsky he played 3 encores; finishing the concert with Grieg’s “Hall of the Mountain King”.

After the concert, Mr. and Mrs. Mehta, members of the orchestra, Mr. Matsuyev and the Festival staff were guests of the Israeli Foreign Ministry for a champagne reception.

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