Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski finds himself on the road in America lately. This season, his schedule in the United States alone has already taken him to three of the nation’s most important orchestras, with stops in in New York, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. And on Feb. 14 and 16-17, he will return to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Sergei Rachmaninov’s ever-popular Piano Concerto No. 3. “This season, I’m playing a lot in the States,” he said. “I call my season the American season, basically.”
In 2010-11, Trpčeski recorded all four of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos and the composer’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Orchestra. The resulting two discs on the Avie label won several honors, including an “editor’s choice” designation in Gramophone magazine. He plays Rachmaninov regularly on tour, including a recent performance of the Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Atlanta Symphony. “People love it, and I try to fulfill the wishes of the promoter,” he said.
Appearing with an orchestra of the caliber of the Chicago Symphony, he said, is a both a “big responsibility” and “great inspiration.” He pointed out that the first of their three concerts will fall on Valentine’s Day, providing further reason to pour even more emotion into the Third Concerto, which he calls a “beast of a piece.” “When you have such a partner in an orchestra that is able to do whatever you would like as soloist, then you just grab the moment, grab the chance and just fulfill yourself with pure enjoyment.”
These concerts will mark the pianist’s first collaboration with Spanish maestro Pablo Heras-Casado, principal guest conductor at the Teatro Real in Madrid and director of the Granada Festival. “I’m really looking forward to working with him,” Trpčeski said. “Everyone praises him, and I do believe that that Hispanic sort of mentality will be very similar to the Macedonian mentality, so it will be very suitable for the depth of emotion, particularly in this concerto.”