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Celebrated pianist returning to stage in Pleasanton with new partner tonight

Unique pairing in two-piano concert will benefit Arts in the Schools

Renowned concert pianist Tamriko Siprashvili will return to the Amador Theater for an 8 p.m. performance Saturday, playing a two-piano benefit concert with her new partner Temirzhan Yerzhanov.

The celebrated pianists will be playing "A Night to Remember," with their performance to include etudes by Schumann and Debussy as well as works by Ravel, Rachmaninov, Saint-Saens and the Bay Area premiere of a piece by Martinu, a Czech composer.

"It will be a privilege and unique experience for Pleasanton to be part of this one-of-a-kind concert," said Charlotte Severin, founding president of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council. "It is exciting to see something of this caliber coming to us in a local venue."

"It will be a sellout," Severin added, "so people should get their tickets right away."

Renowned concert pianist Siprashvili played her way into the hearts of music lovers in Pleasanton as she performed concerts in the Amador Theater for many years to benefit the schools through the PCAC. Her last performance for the organization was in 2008.

Those who have missed her magic on the keyboard were thrilled to learn she'll be coming back, now paired with pianist Yerzhanov, a fellow Schumann aficionado.

Tamriko was born and raised in the Republic of Georgia while Temirzhan hails from Kazakhstan, but their lives' journeys have landed them in Pleasanton and Hayward, respectively.

Once they discovered their proximity, the idea was born -- a concert to unite their training, their talent and their passion.

"Though our cultures differ dramatically, the music of Robert Schumann drew both of us in," Tamriko said. "Musically and artistically, we are like-minded. We have a similar passion and energy that will synchronize to create something beautiful."

There are other similarities, too.

Both were recognized at an early age as musically gifted, and both moved to Moscow to be educated at the prestigious Moscow Conservatory.

Both studied under the renowned Mikhail Voskresensky, and both won the gold medal at the Robert Schumann International Piano Competition in Swickau, Germany -- Tamriko in 1985, and Temirzhan in 1993.

Although many musicians have won the celebrated Schumann competition, Tamriko and Temirzhan are two of only five who are honored to have their photographs hanging in the Schumann House. Now they enjoy playing Schumann on two pianos as well as exploring a wide range of music, and Pleasanton fans will enjoy their first concert as a duo.

"I don't know of any other gold medal winners of the Schumann competition that have performed in a concert together," Tamriko said.

Tamriko Siprashvili has performed concerts throughout Europe, Russia, Georgia, Chile, Argentina and Canada, and in the United States as a soloist and chamber music performer. She's played with venerable orchestras such as Leipzig Gewandhaus, Zwickau Philharmonishes, Budapest Symphony Orchestra and Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra, and in concert halls in Berlin, Moscow, Budapest and St. Petersburg.

Temirzhan Yerzhanov has toured 12 countries in solo, chamber music and with Moscow Radio Tchaikovsky Symphony, Zwickau Philharmonishes, Sacramento Philharmonic, San Luis Obispo Symphony, Vogtland Philharmonie and the Symphony Orchestra of India.

Tamriko and her husband, pianist Mark Anderson, moved to Pleasanton in 1997, settling down to raise their daughter Nina after a peripatetic life performing in countries around the world.

Tamriko played in her first concert to benefit PCAC in 1994, and music enthusiasts quickly embraced her -- she recalled how the community showed up for performances they gave to raise money to travel to Moscow to record a CD, which was released in 2004. She is now director and owner of Inspire Academy of Music and Arts in Pleasanton.

PCAC members are thrilled to have her perform again to benefit its Arts in the Schools program, and are looking forward to hearing and seeing her play with her new piano partner.

Celebrated pianists performing

What: "A Night to Remember," two-piano benefit concert

Who: Tamriko Siprashvili and Temirzhan Yerzhanov

When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24

Where: Amador Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Road

Tickets: $35 adult; $30 senior; $20 student; call 931-4848, visit www.firehousearts.org, or go to the Firehouse Arts Center box office, 4444 Railroad Ave.

Benefits: Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council's Arts in the Schools program

Arts in the Schools

Recognizing the value of arts in the school curriculum, in 1974 the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council (PCAC) created its Arts in the Schools program, which focuses on drama, music and visual arts. School faculty, supported by local artists, actors and musicians, work with students as they learn the basics of acting, voice control, staging, costumes, musical instruments and the basics of drawing, watercolor and different art styles.

After the strings program had been eliminated from the schools for more than 20 years, PCAC advocated for a full-time teacher of strings for the fourth and fifth grades and purchased instruments to get a strings program re-launched. The program now serves more than 1,000 students, and both Amador Valley High and Foothill High have full orchestras.

As the curriculum grew, PCAC developed a grants program to provide a wide variety of cultural arts experiences for teachers and students. Wide community support was, until recently, augmented by grants from the city, county and private foundations, but the recent recession has seriously impacted funding for arts programs in the schools while the needs continue to grow.

In 2012, PCAC donated $7,000 to arts education; in 2013, it gave $5,000 for fine arts programs and for art supplies in the elementary schools. A goal of PCAC is to fund all nine Pleasanton elementary schools to improve the quality of art experiences and art supplies.

Tax deductible contributions can be sent to PCAC at P.O. Box 1298, Pleasanton, CA 94566.

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