Concert pianist Niccolo Ronchi and award-winning concert violinist Anastasiia Mazurok are set to take the stage at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center this Sunday, October 9th at 7:00 p.m.
Niccolo and Anastasiia have distinguished themselves as national and international talents, and this will be their first live performance together. They can’t wait to take the stage in Westhampton for this long-anticipated collaboration. The two spoke more about their backgrounds with music, what performing means to them, and what attendees of the show can expect.
Niccolo, the Italian pianist, is highly appreciated by critics and audiences for his communicative power. He began playing at a young age, perfected his skills early on, and has been playing and performing for as long as he can remember. He says, “I started playing piano at the age of six, thanks to my parents. I gave my first performance when I was thirteen. I participated in many international piano competitions. Having won most of them, I started receiving my first professional engagements by the time I turned fourteen. Since then, I have not stopped playing on stage, with the exception of the pandemic.”
Anastasiia is a native of Saint Petersburg, Russia. She has been described as “spellbinding” by Northwest Music Scene, and she is a multiple award-winning violinist, as well as a Juilliard School alumnus. She spoke about some of her early influences, saying, “My father is a violinist, he was my first glimpse into the world of music, as I often watched him practice in our living room. When I was about five years old, I picked up two hairbrushes and started imitating my dad playing the violin. Surely, there and then, my parents immediately decided on my next extracurricular activity, which ended up being my biggest passion and my career. When I was a teenager, I looked up to Maxim Vengerov. He is still amongst my favorite players.”
Anastasiia mentioned that she was classically trained for most of her life and performed strictly as a classical violinist, but she recently began developing new styles. She says, “In 2019, my second year of Juilliard school, I met Chris Botti and got to join his phenomenal group on tour. That is when I started diverting from the classical route and expanding my style and my audience by playing in jazz, pop, and rock setting. My heart will forever belong to classical music, but I equally enjoy playing in other styles, as long as the standard of playing is high, and the audience is attentive.”
Niccolo also spoke about how he has created his own unique sound over the years, noting that in his younger years his playing was inspired by who he considers the greatest musicians of the 20th century like Richter, Horowitz, and Gilels. He says this was the case until the moment he felt that he needed to listen to his own breath. “I realized that different touches of the finger on the keyboard could draw out thousands of emotions. It helped me understand that my sound must be directly related to my body movement and the body movement to my musical ideas.”
Niccolo is always inspired by the beauty of the world when it comes to his art. He says, “I believe that, as human beings, we should try to inspire each other to look for beauty in the world we live in. With my playing, I strive to awaken raw emotions in the listeners, reveal to them the essence of life through music, and ultimately, inspire them. I am constantly inspired by others, and I always try to pay it forward.”
Niccolo and Anastasiia’s performance at WHBPAC has been a long time coming. This will be their first performance together after their plans to concertize in the summer of 2020 were put on hold due to the pandemic. They collaborated virtually in the fall of 2020 and recorded “Dragonfly Suite” for violin, piano, and orchestra written by a prominent British composer Alan Hackshaw. Anastasiia says, “We were supposed to premiere it live, but sadly, Alan passed in October of 2021. We still hope to make it happen with the help of Alan’s family. When Niccolo visited the USA in April of 2022, he and I met in New York and decided to put together a performance.”
Niccolo has been frequenting the Hamptons since 2016 when he was invited to participate in the Hamptons’ Pianofest. He has returned to perform here more than twenty times since then. He says, “I have made everlasting memories with so many friends that I consider the Hamptons my home away from home. I cannot wait to perform here again on Sunday evening, because it will feel like playing for my family.”
Anastasiia is returning to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center for the second time this year. In August, she was a special guest with Chris Botti at the PAC. She says, “I am thrilled to be back with a show of my own and I am hoping to see familiar faces in the audience. Niccolo and I put together a program that is special to both of us, hence we called it ‘Music that Made Us.’ There are no random choices, each piece holds a place in our hearts and was a steppingstone to us becoming the musicians and artists we are today. We will not only play great music, but also tell stories, laugh, and pay tribute to both our cultures and our upbringing.”
Niccolo will be back to the Hamptons again at the end of October to perform a solo recital at the Southampton Cultural Arts Center for the Rising Star piano series. After that, he will be touring across Southeast Asia, playing concerts, and collaborating with universities and conservatories, giving masterclasses, and teaching seminars.
Anastasiia also wanted to note that she has a very special instrument to perform on Sunday at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. She says, “It is an incredible violin made by two of the best Italian masters, Lorenzo and Tomaso Carcassi, in 1745. It is a big honor and I look forward to playing on it for the Westhampton Beach audiences.”
These two renowned musicians are sure to put on an unforgettable show this Sunday at WHBPAC, full of emotion, expression, and virtuosity as they come together for their first live performance with one another. For more information and to purchase tickets visit https://whbpac.org.