Two years ago, a little-known Ukrainian-American pianist named Inesa Sinkevych made her area debut at a Saugerties Pro Musica concert. A local critic wrote of the recital, “It was one of the greatest piano recitals I’ve heard in a lifetime of concertgoing.” I was that critic, so I’m particularly excited to report that Sinkevych (pictured above) is returning to Saugerties Pro Musica on Sunday, September 19, this time in the company of cellist Rebecca Hartka.
Saugerties Pro Musica, improbably beginning its 21st season, was founded two decades ago by the late Dr. Herman R. Ash as a modest attempt to bring classical music to Saugerties. Originally presenting mostly local performers to small audiences, the series has grown over the decades and now imports much of its talent from New York and Albany, although it still features annual appearances by musicians from Bard and West Point and the popular Poughkeepsie ensemble the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers. Most of the concerts are classical, but this season the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers will offer their usual folk-music arrangements on January 22, and the jazz duo of Terry Blaine and Mark Shane will perform on April 30.
Hartka, who has a doctorate in Music from Boston University, has toured widely around the US, Italy, Vietnam and Thailand. Among the exotic venues where she has played in the US is the Hampshire County Jail; she also plays in coffeehouses as well as concert halls. She has recorded two CDs: one of sonatas by Rachmaninov and Poulenc, the other a collection of folk-influenced concert music. Sinkevych now teaches at the Manhattan School of Music. Her only recording issued so far is a Schubert recital, but a DVD of her performing in Havana is also in the works. The two have performed together several times over the past season and are playing as an experienced duo.
You can expect to see a big smile on Sinkevych’s face. When she last played at Saugerties Pro Musica, she heroically overcame the handicap of an unresponsive piano. Last season, the church that hosts the series had the piano extensively repaired, and it sounds vastly better now than when Sinkevych last played it. This should be one of those concerts that we remember for a long time. And you can’t beat Saugerties Pro Musica’s modest admission price!
Rebecca Hartka/Inesa Sinkevych recital, Sunday, September 18, 3 p.m., $12/$10, Saugerties United Methodist Church, Washington Avenue/Post Street, Saugerties; (845) 679-6733, www.saugertiespromusica.org.