Local Youth is Rising Star as Piano Prodigy

As an unassuming student at Branch Crossing Junior High School, 13 year-old Woodlands resident, Aleksei Federov, is fond of history, art, and tennis. But there is much more to this extraordinarily talented young man. You see Aleksei is a very gifted concert pianist. If you don’t believe me, just ask the more than 100 guests who listened in amazement to his recent recital performance as part of the ongoing Symphony Society Salon Series. The event, graciously hosted by Scott Cutler in the music room of his lovely Woodlands lakefront home, featured great technical skill and dazzling musicianship from Federov as he astounded the assembled with his performance of works by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, and Liszt, all performed from memory in a weighty program approaching two hours in length. Clearly, the young star had earned the right to sit at the Cutler’s exquisite nine-foot Steinway performance grand piano, arguably the finest piano made.

Aleksei was born in Russia in 1990 and immigrated to the United States in 1994 with his parents. When he was six years old he began studying piano with his mother, Elena Bakina. (He now studies with Shi-Mei Shao and Vladimir Viardo) By the age of nine Aleksei had given his first solo recital. He has studied at the Central School for Gifted Children of Moscow Conservatory, the Gnessin School in Russia, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, where he was the first student to receive a Preparatory School Scholarship.

In 2001, at the age of ten, Aleksei won First Prize and Outstanding Musician Award in his age group at Virginia’s Bartok-Prokofiev-Kabalevsky International Piano Competition. That same year he was a children’s category winner on Debra Duncan’s ABC channel “Star Search,” while his talent was recognized in contests as far away as Spain, and even right here in Houston where he gained recognition at the Young Artists Competition and then won the Gold Medal and “Best Performance of Polonaise” in the Second Chopin Youth Competition. By age eleven he was granted a scholarship to the prestigious Aspen Summer Music Festival. His recitals at Rice University are captured on the CD Live from Duncan Recital Hall.

In 2002 young Federov performed on Public Radio International (PRI) with a concert from Waco. It was also in 2002 that he made his professional debut as a soloist with The Woodlands Symphony. Symphony Musical Director, Dagang Chen, conducted the performance of Beethoven’s “Concerto No.1 in C Major.” Then, in 2003 Aleksei was invited to perform in Florida’s Sixth Miami International Piano Festival. The recital was titled, “Prodigies and Masters of Tomorrow.” What a perfect reference to this hard working young artist and his immense potential.

(The Villager    4.8.04)

About The People's Critic

David Dow Bentley III, writes columns about the performing arts which are featured in newspapers from the East Coast to the Gulf Coast. A member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), The International Theatre Critics Association, and America's oldest theatrical club, The Lambs, he also had long service as the editor of The Lambs' Script magazine. Mr. Bentley may be contacted via e-mail at ThePeoplesCritic3@gmail.com.
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