There is a dazzling clip of pianist Marina Lomazov and her husband, Joseph Rackers, performing Igor Stravinsky’s "Petrushka." As they huddle together shoulder to shoulder, Lomazov’s hands deftly leap over her partner’s across the keyboard like fleet-footed gazelles. The natural grace she displays, hard-earned from decades of experience, illustrates the difference between a competent recital and a mesmerizing performance.
The Arts at Messiah is proudly hosting a solo concert by Lomazov on May 11, where she will be performing some of her favorite pieces.
“One of my favorite works for piano, the monumental ‘Pictures at an Exhibition,’ is featured at the Arts at Messiah concert,” says Lomazov. “I love this work for how vivid and current it sounds and how it’s infused with imagination and clarity at the same time.”
The Ukrainian-born Lomazov studied at the Kiev Conservatory — where she was the youngest first-prize winner at the all-Kiev Piano Competition — before immigrating with her parents to the United States in 1990. She holds degrees from the Juilliard School and Eastman School of Music. At Eastman, Lomazov earned a prestigious honor that hadn’t been bestowed upon a pianist in over 20 years.
“The Artist Certificate (called Artist Diploma back then) was a very special award, because my teacher at Eastman, Barry Snyder, was one of the last recipients of it,” explains Lomazov.
Lomazov, who is the Ira McKissick Koger Professor of Piano at the University of South Carolina, has won top prizes at the Cleveland, William Kapell, Gina Bachauer, and Hilton Head international piano competitions. As a member of the Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo, she came in second place at the Sixth Biennial Ellis Competition for Duo Pianists.
Lomazov has performed all over the world, including an extensive tour of China, and in nearly all 50 states. Besides solo concerts, she has performed as a soloist with the Boston Pops, Rochester Philharmonic, Eastman Philharmonic, and Cherginov Philharmonic, as well as countless other orchestras. Lomazov has also been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today.”
Several music critics have given high praise to Lomazov’s music and heap titles upon her like “diva of the piano” and “keyboard sorceress.” Lomazov’s humble response to these accolades is typical of someone so deeply entrenched in her art.
“One wise pianist said if you choose not to believe the accolades, you don’t have to believe the bad reviews, either,” Lomazov says. “I prefer only to think of music, and if certain things come across as magic, so much the better.”
Lomazov has recorded critically acclaimed albums for the Albany, Centaur and Innova labels, including a stunning interpretation of works by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin.
“The music of Rodion Shchedrin always spoke to me, ever since I heard it in concerts as a child in Ukraine,” says Lomazov. “It possesses witticism and deep intelligence that appeals to me. Maestro Shchedrin and I had a treasured conversation about his music, upon him hearing the release of my CD. He spoke favorably about my interpretations, an opinion which I treasure.”
Lomazov’s most recent release is an album on MSR label of Stravinsky transcriptions of "Petrushka" and" Rite of Spring" for four hands, one piano, “arranged by Stravinsky himself,” with her husband and piano duo partner Rackers.
“It’s always great to share the music and the stage with my partner in life,” says Lomazov.