Seventy years ago Sergei Rachmaninoff performed his last concert at UT, and five weeks later he passed away.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Rachmaninoff's last concert, renowned classical pianist Evgeny Brakhman will be performing a solo set completely of Rachmaninoff's works on the exact date of his last concert in 1943.
The event will by held Sunday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Building's Cox Auditorium and is being hosted by The Evelyn Miller Young Pianist Series in partnership with the School of Music and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Jeffrey Pappas, director of the School of Music, said that the event will be a great remembrance to the Russian composer, conductor and pianist.
"His last concert had to be somewhere and I think Knoxville should be honored, not that this was his last concert and that he died after it, but that we get the chance to commemorate such an empowering and towering figure in music," Dr. Pappas said. "It's one of those things that you wish it hadn't happened, but since it did we want to make sure that this wonderful event doesn't go unnoticed when we commemorate him at this event."
Brakhman is an internationally acclaimed concert pianist and a professor at Nizhny Govgorod State Glinka Conservatoire in Russia.
Maxwell Meyer, freshman majoring in English, is not familiar with Rachmaninoff's music but plans on attending the event.
"He played his last show here. That's a historic moment in his life and in the life of Knoxville, it's just important that any one goes to see his remembrance," Meyer said.
The event is being presented by the Evelyn Miller Young Pianist series, which holds concerts for rising pianists in the area, in partnership with the School of Music and the College of Arts and Sciences. The show will also be covered by UT's radio station, "The Rock," The Knoxville News-Sentinel and WUOT.
The event is open to students and the Knoxville public. Pappas said that this connection between partners is helping the Knoxville community's togetherness.
"I think what will be one of the greatest things from just an organizational standpoint is that a group of people came together to make sure this happened so it's a wonderful concert for our school and for our college," Pappas said. "I think it's what those types of partnerships are what make us strong and are going to strength the arts not only in our community but in other communities."
Having a connection with classical music since his childhood, Meyer is excited to attend the event and add more to his piano playlist.
"I started listening to classical music from my father who collects records and he has a few classical albums that he would play for me and I always enjoyed them so I ventured off on my own excursion from what he was listening to and I'm still searching for good classical music today," he said.
Pappas said that he never goes into a concert thinking what his favorite part will be but always leaves having one.
"I'm sure that there will be one time on Sunday night that I will be touched by the music when I either get goosebumps or I hear a phrase once, and I hear it differently now and it evokes an image or an emotion for me which is exciting," he said.
Having seen the Grammy Awards this past weekend, Pappas said that he enjoys seeing the music pervading this culture's day and age and thinks bringing events like Rachmaninoff Remembered will only amplify that for students.
"It's one of the few times in your life that you're really going to have that opportunity to go," Pappas said. "This is a free concert where you get to hear a world-class pianist play where if you were in New York or Chicago or Atlanta, it would cost you a fair amount of money. It's not the free part that is really the most important, it's a matter of that there are so many wonderful experiences on every university campus that I would just hope students would take full advantage of them."
Meyer said he sees no reason why students shouldn't take advantage of the free classical concert.
"A live music event of any genre is probably one of the best things to experience," Meyer said. "If you've never been to a classical music concert before, they're actually really fun and there is good music. It's just something fun to do."
Diverse and cultural opportunities are things students should use to their advantage, Pappas said.
"Make sure you diversify and you go out and hear and take in as much as you can of this campus to develop you as a person in so many ways," Pappas said. "We have done as best as we can to get the word out, and whether people will show up or not I sure hope they will because it will be a splendid concert."