The Boulder Symphony welcomes a virtuoso Chinese pianist for a new concert

The Boulder Symphony tackles Tchaikovsky’s dramatic Fourth Symphony and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini — performed by a very special guest.

Shangru Du is from Wuhan, China, he is the winner of the International Keyboard Odyssiad & Festival 2022 competition, having just graduated from Julliard.

He said he chose this piece for the competition because it is absolutely one of his favorite piano concertos. “It’s actually the last piano concerto written by Rachmaninoff, and I think it’s quite different from the other concertos he wrote,” Shangru Du said. “This one is the texture is so much drier and this great virtuosity.”

It particularly highlights the 18th lyric variation. This is also the piece that Shangru Du will perform with the symphony.

Devin Patrick Hughes, music director and conductor of the Boulder Symphony Orchestra, says he chose Tchaikovsky’s Fourth for the program as an excellent example of the composer’s work.

“Well, Tchaikovsky’s Oven is a great masterpiece with so many emotional, historical and performance-wise layers,” Hughes said. “I think Tchaikovsky knows how to take the listener on an emotional roller coaster because that’s the life Tchaikovsky lived.”

Courtesy of Boulder Symphony
Special guest pianist Shangru Du repeating Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini, with The Boulder Symphony conducted by Devin Patrick Hughes.

Now a doctoral student in music education at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, this concert in Boulder will be Shangru Du’s first with an orchestra.

Hughes noted that the way Shangru Du performed the Rachmaninoff in the competition did not allude to the fact that the rising young concert pianist had never worked with an orchestra before.

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