PIANO SYMPOSIUM: LEONIDAS LIPOVETSKY
We thought Leonidas Lipovetsky had a remarkable story when the retired Land O'Lakes music professor was continuing a busy career as a concert pianist at age 69.
It was nine years ago that he was profiled in the Tampa Bay Times. At 78, he's still going strong.
Lipovetsky, a former child prodigy who was influenced by Arthur Rubinstein, whom he had seen perform many times, is kicking off the weekend piano program at the University of South Florida. The pianist will play four Beethoven sonatas Thursday night to lead off the Second Piano Pedagogy, a series of workshops, lessons, lectures and performances through Saturday at the University of South Florida School of Music.
At least eight other distinguished pianists will present or perform. USF music professor Sang-Hie Lee will deliver a keynote address Friday on "Pianists' Hand, Touch, Tone, Heritage and Science." Immediately following Lee's lecture, she and concert pianist Kevin Orr will help John Chong and Dustin Hardwick demonstrate finger technique, balancing weight and pectoral coordination.
Lipovetsky is positioned as the main draw, introducing the symposium with selections from Beethoven sonatas numbers 8, 21, 23 and 32 (the composer's last piano sonata).
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, he played his first movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major at age 4. At 22, he had almost finished his education as an architect when he won a scholarship to the Juilliard School. His style emphasizes interpretation over technical perfection.
"I never heard Rubinstein play a recital that was perfect," Lipovetsky told the Times in 2006. "Then you hear some pianists who play note-perfect, every little dot is there, but you fall asleep. Which would you prefer?"
Lipovetsky continued to perform all over the world during the 35 years he also taught music at Florida State University. He moved to Land O'Lakes to be near his daughter and son.
I asked him recently about continuing to play at 78.
"Physically I can do this, all of this," he said. "So why should I stop?"
See Leonidas Lipovetsky play Beethoven at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, University of South Florida Music Concert Hall, FAH 110, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $15. (813) 974-2323. arts.usf.edu.
AN ALL-TIME FAVORITE: CARMEN
Carmen remains more popular than ever, 140 years after it debuted in Paris. The St. Petersburg Opera Company launches its 10th season this weekend with the Georges Bizet opera, which contains the Toreador Song and other famous arias. Award-winning soprano Amanda Opuszynski plays Micaela, the peasant girl in love with Don Jose (Michael Morrow), who must fight for her love against the bullfighter Escamillo (Christopher Holloway). 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave N, St. Petersburg. $22-$67. (727) 823-2040. stpeteopera.org.
HAT TRICK SERVES UP SUSPENSE: DEATHTRAP
Fame is like a narcotic for some, including Sidney Bruhl, a once-heralded playwright whose desire to get back in the limelight guides Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts, which runs Thursday night through Oct. 25 at the newly renovated Murray Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Deathtrap is the second show Hat Trick has put on since becoming the resident theater company at Ruth Eckerd. 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $20. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
CLASSIC ROCK MEETS CLASSICAL: LED ZEPPELIN
Continuing a populist flavor in some of its concerts, the Florida Orchestra rolls out a tribute to one of rock music's most emblematic names on Friday. Composer and arranger Brent Havens, who scored the music, will also conduct the orchestra through versions of Stairway to Heaven, Kashmir, All My Love, Black Dog and other favorites. The Music of Led Zeppelin starts at 8 p.m. Friday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $35-$65.(727) 892-5798. themahaffey.com.
NIGHT ON THE TOWN: BROADWAY BALL
On Saturday the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts hosts the 2015 Broadway Ball, sponsored by the MacKinnon Family Foundation. The black-tie event starts with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and entertainment. $500. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.