Ravel and belle epoque

// 20.12.2017


Maurice Ravel and Belle Epoque

Wednesday, December 20th, 7:30 p.m.

Reception and exhibition «Belle Epoque» 7:00 p.m.    

Featuring: Zhanna Alkhazova (vocal), Alejandro Drago (violin), Inesa Sinkevych (piano), Irina Nuzova (piano), Ernst Zorin (actor), Ariel Gurevich (piano), Irina Dratva (fashion designer), Anna Kiper (fashion designer, illustrator, book author).

National Opera Center: 330 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001



Violin Sonata #2 in G major                          Alejandro Drago, violin

Allegretto                                                                       Irina Nuzova, piano

Blues: Moderato

Perpetuum mobile: Alegro


Jeux d’eau (Playing water)                                   Ariel Gurevich


Histoires Naturelles (“Natural Histories”) Zhanna Alkhazova, soprano

Le cygnet ( The swan)                                         Irina Nuzova, piano

Le martin-pecher (The kingfisher)

La pintade (The guinea- fowl)


Rapsodie espagnole(Spanish phapsodie)     Irina Nuzova

Prelude a la nuit                                                    Inesa Synkevich





Histoires Naturelles (“Natural Histories”)

Le cygne (The swan)

  • The swan is distracted by reflections in the water, confusing the image of his own neck for a woman’s arm. Each time he plunges his beak into the water vainly fishing for reflections he brings out a worm, and so grows fat.


           Le martin-pêcheur (The kingfisher)

  • A fisherman is pleased and proud that a beautiful kingfisher has just perched on his fishing rod before eventually flying on.

           La pintade (The guinea fowl)

  • The guinea fowl is ugly and belligerent, attacking the hens and even the turkey in the farmyard. She occasionally gives them some respite when she leaves the yard to lay an egg out of sight, in the countryside.


MAURICE RAVEL was among the most significant and influential composers of the early twentieth century. Although he is frequently linked with Claude Debussy as an exemplar of musical impressionism, and some of their works have a surface resemblance, Ravel possessed an independent voice that grew out of his love of a broad variety of styles, including the French Baroque, Bach, Mozart, Chopin,

Spanish folk traditions, and American jazz and blues. His elegant and lyrically generous body of work was not large in comparison with that of some of his contemporaries, but his compositions are notable for being meticulously and exquisitely crafted. He was especially gifted as an orchestrator, an area in which he remains unsurpassed.

Ravel‘s mother was of Basque heritage, a fact that accounted for his lifelong fascination with Spanish music, and his father was a Swiss inventor and engineer, most likely the source of his commitment to precision and craftsmanship.

A major disappointment of his life was his failure to win the Prix de Rome in spite of numerous attempts. The difficulty was transparently the conflict between the conservative administration of the Conservatory and Ravel‘s independent thinking, meaning his association with the French avant-garde (Debussy), and his interest in non-French traditions (Wagner, the Russian nationalists, Balinese gamelan). Ravel developed a friendship with Igor Stravinsky. The two became familiar with each other’s work during Stravinsky‘s time in Paris and worked collaboratively on arrangements for Sergey Diaghilev.

Between 1909 and 1912, Ravel composed Daphnis et Chloé for Diaghilev and Les Ballets Russes. It was the composer’s largest and most ambitious work and is widely considered his masterpiece. He wrote a second ballet for Diaghilev, La Valse, which the impresario rejected, but which went on to become one of his most popular orchestral works. Following his service in the First World War as an ambulance driver, and the death of his mother in 1917, his output was temporarily diminished. In 1925, the Monte Carlo Opera presented the premiere of another large work, the “lyric fantasy” L’enfant et les sortilèges, a collaboration with writer Colette.

American jazz and blues became increasingly intriguing to the composer. In 1928 he made a hugely successful tour of North America, where he met George Gershwin and had the opportunity to broaden his exposure to jazz. Several of his most important late works, such as the Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 and the Piano Concerto in G show the influence of that interest.

In 1932, an injury he sustained in an automobile accident started a physical decline that resulted in memory loss and an inability to communicate. He died in 1937, following brain surgery.

His work remains strikingly fresh to 21st-century listeners.

His orchestral arrangement of Mussorgsky‘s piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition has been wildly popular with concertgoers (and the royalties from it made Ravel a rich man). Boléro, a 15-minute Spanish dance in which a single theme is repeated in a variety of instrumental guises, has been ridiculed for its insistent repetitiveness, but it is also a popular favorite and one of the most familiar and frequently performed orchestral works of the twentieth century.


Alejandro Drago Hailed by music critics as “a superb musician” with the “classical virtuosity of a Heifetz or Perlman,” Alejandro’s versatile musicianship has allowed him to be successful with many diverse styles and genres. His discography in France, USA and Argentina includes string quartets, concertos, and avant-garde tangos distributed internationally by EMI International label and Naxos Music Library Japan. Born in Argentina, he obtained his Master of Fine Arts in Violin Performance and Pedagogy at the Moscow State Conservatory under Marina Yashvili, with a full scholarship. In 2008 he received a Doctor in Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has toured extensively in Russia, the United States, China, Austria, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Switzerland, Lithuania, Taiwan, Belarus, Italy, France, Brazil, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay, Ecuador and Haiti. He has appeared as a guest conductor with professional and youth orchestras in the USA, Argentina, Brazil and Romania. From 2005 to 2008 he was the Assistant Conductor of the Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor of the Southern Mississippi Chamber Orchestra. Presently he is the Music Director of the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra (GGFSO). Alejandro maintains strong connections with the music of his homeland as a performer, researcher, lecturer, composer and arranger. His symphonic and chamber arrangements of Argentine music have been performed extensively in Europe and Latin America, as well as in the United States by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Alejandro conducts masterclasses, seminars, lectures and lecture-recitals extensively in Asia, Europe and the United States. He teaches and performs regularly in festivals in Latin America, the US and Europe. Also in demand as an adjudicator, he has been a member of the jury of junior and senior international competitions in China, the USA and Russia. In July 2008, Alejandro joined the faculty at the University of North Dakota (UND) Department of Music as the Professor of Violin and Viola and Director of the UND Chamber Orchestra. Alejandro’s many awards include a special prize in the Rodolfo Lipizer International Competition (Italy, 1992), third prize in the Petar Konjovich International Young Musicians Competition (Yugoslavia, 1993) and the first prize in the “New Talents in Classical Music” Competition (Buenos Aires, 1997). Highlights of recent  seasons include the performance of the complete solo violin cycles of L’Ecole Moderne op. 10 by Wieniawski and the Six Polyphonic Etudes by Ernst in one concert, and multiple performances of his own Violin Concerto in the USA, Brazil, Belarus and the Republic of Moldova.


Inesa Sinkevych

A laureate of the 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, Ukrainian-born pianist Inesa Sinkevych has also won first prizes in the Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona and at the Concurso Internacional de Piano Premio “Jaén” in Spain, as well as awards in the Minnesota International Yamaha Piano-e-Competition, the Vianna da Motta and the Porto international competitions in Portugal, the Casagrande International Competition in Italy, the Panama International Competition and the the Cidade del Ferrol and the Spanish Composers competitions in Spain. Inesa Sinkevych has been praised for her “intense, thrilling and sophisticated playing” (General-Anzeiger, Germany), “grand passion and elegant lyricism” (Audiophile Audition), her “rich cantabile” (Ritmo, Spain), “maturity that belies her age”, and called a “Schubertian of real distinction” (Music Web International). As soloist she has appeared with the Israel Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon, the Gran Canaria Philharmonic of Spain, the Porto Symphony of Portugal and the Tenerife Symphony of the Canary Islands. She has performed as recitalist, chamber player and orchestral soloist at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the Purcell Room in London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Minnesota’s Orchestra Hall, the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, the Hong Kong City Hall and the Great Hall of the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon. She has also performed at international summer festivals in France, Spain, Italy, and Cuba. Recent performances include appearances at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York, Bar Harbor Music Festival, Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago, a tour of China that included performances in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenyang and Guangzhou, and soloist with the Orquesta Nacional del Cuba. Inesa Sinkevych began her piano studies at the Kharkov Special Music School in her native Ukraine with Victor Makarov and later studied with Alexander Volkov at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. A scholarship from the America–Israel Cultural Foundation enabled her to further her studies with Solomon Mikowsky in the United States, where she received her Master of Music degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Manhattan School of Music.  Ms. Sinkevych has been a member of the Manhattan School of Music Piano Faculties of the College Division since 2014 and the the Precollege Division since 2008.

Irina Nuzova

“Pianist Irina Nuzova turned in an utterly beguiling performance…” (The Washington Post), “intensity of feeling” (La Nazione, Italy) and “profound interpretation” (Il Resto del Carlino, Bologna).

Irina Nuzova has appeared in recital as a soloist and as a chamber musician in the United States, Europe, and South America. In Europe, she has performed in the Amici della Musica concert series in Florence, at the Teatro Massima in Catania, Italy; the Hermitage State Museum in St. Petersburg; the Moscow Conservatory, and in the Netherlands. In the United States, she appeared among others at the Phillips Collection and the National Gallery in Washington D.C., Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York, the Brooklyn Public Library; and in chamber music recitals at the Rhode Island Chamber Music Concert Series and at the Shandelee Music Festival. With cellist Wendy Warner, Nuzova formed the WarnerNuzova duo which performs nationwide, among others at the St. Paul’s Music in the Park Series and the Gardner Museum in Boston. Ms. Nuzova has also appeared in live radio interviews and performances in Boston, Chicago (WFMT), Philadelphia, and Washington DC; and an interview with Fred Child in Performance Today — a program that was syndicated nationwide.

She has collaborated with musicians such as Sophie Shao, Wendy Warner, Julie Albers, Calefax Reed Quintet, Aviv and Attacca string quartets. In the spring of 2015 Ms. Nuzova performed a concert at the National Gallery of Art dedicated to Women’s History Month.

Ms. Nuzova is a native of Moscow, Russia. She made her debut with the Omsk Philharmonic at the age of 14. She studied at the Gnessin Academy of Music under the guidance of Alexander Satz before moving to the United States. Nuzova continued her musical education at the Manhattan School of Music with Lev Natochenny, and at Juilliard where her teachers were Oxana Yablonskaya and Jerome Lowenthal.  To further herself as a musician she worked in the cello studio of Harvey Shapiro at Juilliard and pursued private studies with pianists Jean-Bernard Pommier, Eteri Andjaparidze, and Vladimir Feltsman. Nuzova earned her Doctorate of

Musical Arts degree from the Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford, Connecticut).

Nuzova is the recipient of the Bruce Hungerford Award at the Young Concert Artist Auditions in New York, and has won top prizes in competitions such as the Vincenzo Bellini and Citta di Senigallia International Competitions in Italy; and the Beethoven Piano Sonata International Competition in Memphis, Tennessee. As a chamber musician, she has won top prizes at the Vittorio Gui and the Premio Trio di Trieste International Chamber Music Competitions in Italy.

Ms. Nuzova regularly gives lecture recitals and Master Classes at schools and other public institutions. Together with Wendy Warner Ms. Nuzova served as a Duo-in-Residence at the Music Institute of Chicago. Ms. Nuzova recently was appointed to the piano faculty at the Special Music School in New York.

For the past two summers Nuzova has taught and performed at the Interharmony International Music Festival. She also serves regularly as a jury panelist.

Mrs. Nuzova is a member of the Camerata Phillips – an ensemble in residence at the Phillips Collection Gallery in Washington DC.

Zhanna Alkhazova

Zhanna Alkhazova is an award winning, critically acclaimed soprano. This season, Ms. Alkhazova is engaged to make her Geneva Opera debut in the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and a Roman Borgman Opera debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore. Earlier this season Ms. Alkhazova made her NJ Verismo Opera debut, where she covered the title role of Aida and debuted as Tamara in Rubinstein’s The Demon with Commonwealth Lyric Opera. In 2018 Ms. Alkhazova will make her Sarasota Opera debut, where she will cover the title role of Manon Lescaut.

Establishing her career with performances of some of the greatest roles in the lyric and dramatic repertoire, in 2015-2016 season Ms. Alkhazova made her debut in the title role of Manon Lescaut with Regina Opera. Of this performance, James Jorden of the NY Observer wrote:

“ the Manon, Zhanna Alkhazova, flaunted a cool, silvery soprano with a high C whose poise Anna Netrebko might envy. What’s more, she made the unlikely “love at first sight” plot point in the first act utterly believable with the sort of beguiling flashing glances one reads about but seldom sees outside of an Ava Gardner film.”

Other highlights of the last season included her role debut as Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo. She made her Lincoln Center debut as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration Recital Series. Her Chamber Art Society performance in Washington, DC where she sang in a joint recital of Russian chamber music earned high praise from Leslie Weisman of dcmetrotheaterarts.

Her operatic credits include Title Role in Manon Lescaut, Title Role in Tosca, Elisabetta in Don Carlo, Title Role in Aida, Title Role in Turandot, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Micaela in Carmen, Nedda in Pagliacci among others. Ms. Alkhazova has sung with Des Moines Opera, New Rochelle Opera, Opera, New Jersey, Opera Boston, Long Island Opera, Regina Opera, NY Opera Exchange, Commonwealth Lyric Opera and many others.

She is an active performer on concert stages in the United States, where she made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2014. Internationally Ms. Alkhazova has sung in Canada, Italy and Ireland. She is a featured soloist with the Refugee Orchestra Project and has been featured on the cover of a Russian-American magazine. Originally from Moscow, Russia she has worked extensively on the Russian repertoire and in the fall of 2015 was invited to Russia to headline a recital tour which included performances in Moscow’s Glinka Museum of Musical Culture, Dzerzhinsk’s Scriabin Hall and Ivan the Terrible’s Kremlin in Alexandrov.

Ms. Alkhazova was recently named top winner of the 2017 NJ Verismo Opera Competition. She was awarded top prizes in the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition, the Arkadi Foundation Competition and the Rhode Island NATS Competition. She was named finalist in the Career Bridges Competition, Kaliningrad International “Nightingale” Competition and a semi-finalist in The Montserrat Caballé International Singing Competition and the Elizabeth Connell International Competition for Dramatic Sopranos. Ms. Alkhazova was the recipient of the Anna Sosenko Trust Grant, the Robert P. Manero Award

Ernst Zorin

Honored artist of Russia, Ernst Petroich Zorin graduated from the Theatre School named after B.V Shchukin. He worked in the theater of Eugine Vakhtangov from 1959 to 1980. In 1980 he emigrated from the country. He worked as an actor in theaters in New York. staged plays, the voice of Russian films,on the radio “Freeedom” in Munich, Germany, plays in the theater “Chaverim”. From roles in theater: Prince (Cinderella, 1966 ), Rodik (Irkutsk Sor, 1959 ), Truffaldino (Princess Turandot, 1963), Manager (Millionairess, 1964 ),Sir William Ketsbi (Richard III, 1976), Kudashev (Thirteenth Chairman, 1979), Henry (Puss in Boots, 1979).Among the works in the movies: Return to Life (1971), The very last day( 1972), 12 Kilometers( 2016), Are we not Cats (2016).

Ariel Gurevich  has been studying piano with Irina Nuzova at the Lucy Moses School since he was 5. He has performed at Weill Hall (Carnegie Hall) and Merkin Hall, among other venues. In 2015, Ariel won 1st place at the Rondo Vanguard Competition (Piano division), 2nd place at the Concerto Competition, Young Pianist Competition of New Jersey, and an honorable mention at the Lucy Moses School Concerto Competition. This year, Ariel won 3rd place at the VII Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, CT. Over the past several summers, Ariel has participated in the Interharmony festival in Arcidoso, Tuscany (Italy), where he performed both solo and in chamber ensembles and participated in master classes.

Irina Dratva is a hat designer whose clients over the years included Coach, DKNY, Marc Jacobs and others. Reed Kracoff’s pilot collection in 2010 showcased hand-draped headbands and hats made by Irina.

Originally from Odessa, Ukraine, educated as a theater costume designer, Irina acquired passion for hats more than twenty years ago. She achieved prominence in her native Ukraine for her easy-to-wear original accessories and for her well-cut prêt-à-porter. She has often worked with vintage and recycled materials, creating wearable art rather than apparel. Her fashion shows were in high demand in both Ukraine and Russia.

All that experience made Irina perfect for her work at Eugenia Kim Hats, where, starting at 2003, she was responsible for woven hats and hair accessories development. There Irina created unique pieces for celebrity clients and runway shows, as well as many bestselling hat styles for high-end retailers like Barney’s and Bergdorf Goodman.

Since 2010, Irina’s has been successfully making custom-made hats dreams come true for a grateful international clientele via IDHatShop on Etsy.  As a freelance hat patternmaker, Irina has many ongoing collaborations with other American designers. Classic men’s caps designed and made by Irina are popular at the Kai D store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

This summer, Irina’s work from the 1990’s was prominently featured in the exhibition “In Progress”, an impressive retrospective of Ukrainian Fashion in Kiev that occupied 36,000 square feet at Mystetskyi Arsenal. Four installations in the main hall of the exhibition showcased an array of Irina’s creative legacy in Ukraine, ranging from wearable art objects to flamboyant club wear.

For our event today Irina created new, historically inspired collection Belle Époque Hats, employing traditional millinery techniques of that era. 


Anna Kiper professor of Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and Parson’s School of Design, teaching fashion design and illustration classes since 2001. Taught fashion courses in Paris, France and consulted in China.

Design and illustration experience at Calvin Klein, Maggie Norris Couture, and Mondi Germany

Consulted on NBC as fashion expert

Extensive fashion forecasting experience in major forecasting services

Recent Artwork Published/Exhibitions

  • IMPACT: 50 years of the CFDA, by Patrcia Mears, Abrams Books, 2012
  • Fashion Design: The Complete Guide, by John Hopkins, Ava Publishing, 2012
  • Plaza Retail Collection “Tableaux Exhibition” at Plaza Hotel, Fall 2008
  • Fashion and Textiles: The Essential Careers Guide, by Carol Brown, Laurence King Publishing, London, 2010
  • Fashion Drawing, by Michele Wesen Bryant, Laurence King Publishing, London, Fall 2010
  • Portfolio Presentation for Fashion Designers, Third Edition, by Linda Tain, Fairchild Publications, Summer 2010
  • Big Book of Fashion Illustration: A World Sourcebook of Contemporary Illustration, BATSFORD 2007 England
  • The Black Dress by Valerie Steele, Collins Design Publishers 2007
  • Illustrated invitation for Victoria & Albert Museum, London, “New York Fashion Now” exhibit 2007
  • Wedding Style Magazine, Spring/Summer 2007
  • Gotham Magazine, January 2007
  • WWD, December 28, 2006
  • Wall Street Journal (Style Section), February 2006