After the Solidarity Concert Evening “With Ukraine” on March 14 this year, Mawten invites you once again to a concert in favor of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. And this is with a very special musical evening: pianist Vadim Nesilovsky, coming from Odessa, lived in Dortmund for many years and studied at the then Academy of Music. He was also very present in jazz circles on the local scene in the 1990s. Now based in the US and a professor at the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, he now plays “The Odessa Suite: A Walk Through a Legendary City”, which of course has special meaning – albeit unintentionally – against the background of learning about Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.
Rehearsed in the dorm during the pandemic
The idea for the suite appeared in 2019. During the Corona period in 2020 and 2021, pianist Vadim Nesilovsky spent a lot of time at home composing and rehearsing on the Odessa Suite in preparation for the release of the upcoming album.
In Odessa (a German spelling), at that time still part of the Soviet Union, Vadim Nesilovsky began studies of classical piano. At the same time, he became enthusiastic about jazz, inspired by the recordings of such American stars as Keith Jarrett, Chick Correa and Thelonious Monk. He moved to Dortmund with his family in the 1990s, where he quickly became an active member of the jazz scene and has not been cut off from Westphalian despite his relocation to the USA.
He got the chance to go to the famous Berklee School of Music in Boston/USA and became a member of the band of world-famous vibraphone Gary Burton and eventually became a jazz piano teacher there. Pianist Fred Hirsch produced his first album with his own band. It was composed by Antonio Sanchez and Julian Lage. The versatile Ukrainian, who now cycles between the USA and Germany, was also in the studio of composer John Zorn. At the end of April, two separate performances of the musical career were presented as part of the festival program at the Jazzahead trade fair in Bremen.
“I was born and raised in Odessa, Ukraine – a beautiful coastal city on the Black Sea. I know almost everyone has heard of Odessa, however not really much about it. Some know about this city through the Eisenstein movie “Panzerkreuzer Potemkin” belongs to others as a hometown Head violinist David Oestrach.Many know that Odessa was a very important center of Jewish life at the beginning of the twentieth century.In my new project I want to tell my personal story about this city.The new play will take the listener on an imaginative journey through my hometown, full of memories, historical references, And the memories of the past, the dreams … “ (Vadim Nesilovsky)
Mussorgsky is an inspiration
For the Odessa project, the pianist was inspired by Modest Mussorgsky Pictures at an exhibition. He decided to guide listeners through Odessa, starting with the history he learned, personal memories, observations and dreams.
The program begins with an exciting arrival at the Odessa railway station, whose boisterous rhythm emphasizes Nesilovsky’s lyrical melody with strong elements of the bittersweet irony for which Odessa is famous, and slows down to a moving opening action, the meaning of which is the derailment of the train (a). symbolic disruption of the trip) and finally an attempt to get back on track and continue driving. Winter In Odesa captures the delicate, sparkling beauty of an ice-covered city, while Potemkin Stairs capture Odessa’s most iconic impression, the stairway to the turbulent Black Sea, featured in the Eisenstein classic Battleship Potemkin. The serene, lyrical piece Acacia Trees breathes the tenderness of a May Day in Odessa, peppered with the scent of the sea and the scent of flowers.
Waltz’s volatile Odesa Conservatory is a melancholy autobiographical tonal poem that traces the very young Neselovsky’s beginning to his studies at the Odesa Conservatory and the winding path he embarked on during those years. The next three pieces are wing within a wing and are for the Jewish residents who made Odessa what it was. October 1941 is a sad, horrific drama expressing anger at the murder of the Jewish population of Odessa by Romanian forces under Hitler’s high command. The theme of Jewish dance partially quotes a lullaby remembered by Nesilovsky’s mother and sung to her by her father, although Nesilovsky was unable to determine its source. Nesilovsky accelerates the melody to create a lively dance.
Another autobiographical piece, My First Rock Concert, mentions Nesilovsky’s growing interest in popular music during the collapse of the Soviet Union. He attended a party for legendary Russian rock star Viktor Tsoi, who was a voice and symbol of change in the late 1980s. You hear hints of blood type applaud Tsui at the climax of the piece’s motion. The recording ends with the Odessa Renaissance, a mournful prayer that Odessa can be rebuilt after the past eighty years of turmoil and overcome the present threat.
Generations of residents of Odessa and Ukraine experienced turmoil and deprivation. Vadim Nesilovsky prefers to remember the beauty of the place where he was born more than darkness and difficulties. Odessa: A musical walk through a mythical city is a wonderful and unique homage to the pearl of the Black Sea.
In view of the condemnation of the Russian war of aggression and its consequences for the civilian population, 100% of the proceeds from the concert will go to a humanitarian aid organization in Ukraine.
Information/tickets (20€ for presale/account):