yevgeny sudbin

Devilish artistry and audience engagement

A pair of visiting pianists impress listeners in different ways

Yevgeny Sudbin performed in Portland Piano International's recital series.

Yevgeny Sudbin performed in Portland Piano International’s recital series.


“A grave young man dressed in black…who had stood in one corner of the room, very quiet and attentive…being asked to sit down at the harpsichord, when he began to play, Rosy said, he thought ten hundred devils had been at the instrument.”

Russian-born pianist Yevgeny Sudbin‘s April 7 debut at Portland Center for the Performing Arts’s Newmark Theatre mirrored that account given by the 18th-century music historian Charles Burney of his friend’s first encounter with Scarlatti himself. Like that great Italian Baroque composer, Sudbin appeared with grave quietness and, as the Portland Piano International concert progressed, revealed devilish artistry. The aching tenderness of the Sonata in F minor, K. 466 transformed the spacious hall into an intimate space where audience and pianist together experienced the vulnerability of each note within Scarlatti’s exposed textures. Sudbin’s Scarlatti interpretations required immense technical control, and Sudbin placed his mastery at complete service to the expression of common human experiences like loss, longing, and celebration.


Scarlatti to Scriabin: Yevgeny Sudbin’s colorful journey

Acclaimed Russian pianist gives a Portland Piano International recital Sunday.

Yevgeny Sudbin performs Sunday at Newmark Theater. Photo Credit: Clive Barda

Yevgeny Sudbin performs Sunday at Newmark Theater.
Photo Credit: Clive Barda



A masquerade, a feminist’s battle, an island of pleasure, a rebellion, a transcendent sunrise, and finally, unconstrained ecstasy: in other words, a recital presented by Yevgeny Sudbin. The London-based pianist will take the stage at downtown Portland’s Newmark Theatre this Sunday at 4 pm as part of Portland Piano International’s recital series.

Born in St. Petersburg in 1980, Sudbin burst onto the classical piano scene in 2005 with the release of his album Sudbin Plays Scarlatti, and will treat Portland to four of these scintillating gems. Scarlatti composed with a shrewd distaste for anything tedious. “Do not expect any profound Learning,” he wrote about his sonatas, “but rather an ingenious Jesting with Art.”

Sudbin completely embodies this Scarlattian individuality. In his liner notes, Sudbin writes, “To me, [the sonatas] seem like an assortment of diverse guests at a masquerade, where the conflict of a disguised character with the real individual behind the mask amplifies the almost schizophrenic duality which seems apparent in virtually all of Scarlatti’s sonatas.” Sudbin will start the program with Scarlatti’s sensuous Sonata in F minor, K. 466, and then quickly change masks with the frolicksome and foxy Sonata in G major, K. 455.


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