18. April 2012 · Comments Off on Chicago to Russia · Categories: Read Online

During the first break in Wednesday morning’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra rehearsal, Eugene Izotov took a long look around the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and felt the past colliding with the present.

Not only did the orchestra’s 38-year-old principal oboist grow up in Moscow and attend school just a few blocks from the Conservatory, but “my father played on this stage,” he said.

Now Izotov was preparing to perform Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in that very same hall where he learned the piece— the composer’s triumphant, complex response to Stalinism — from hearing his father, violist Alexander Izotov, play it with the Russia State Symphony Orchestra. Izotov also remembers sneaking into a rehearsal being conducted in 1989 by Riccardo Muti, now the CSO’s music director, then leading La Scala in Milan, Italy.

“I heard him right from those seats,” Izotov said, pointing toward the back of the elegant shoebox of an auditorium.


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