We cannot count the countless interpreters of Brahms, yet, we can count the great ones because there are few. Violinist Marina Manukian and pianist Bryan Pezzone have just recorded a beautiful rendition of J. Brahms' Sonatas for violin and piano and the Sonatensatz from the F.A.E. Sonata.
Marina Manukian was born in Yerevan, Armenia where she attended the prestigious Tchaikovsky School of Music. At the age of 11 she became the youngest professional musician in the Republic. She received her musical training from Georgi Ajemian, Yehudi Menuhin, Sandor Vegh and Sidney Weiss. Since childhood, Marina has performed solo and chamber music concerts throughout Europe, former U.S.S.R. and United States. Currently, in addition to her solo appearances she is also working as part of Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, performing with such artist as Placido Domingo, Mstislav Rostropovich, Kent Nagano and others. Marina has recorded numerous film and television soundtracks composed by such prominent composers as John Williams, Alan Silvestri, James Newton-Howard and Jerry Goldsmith. She is the winner of numerous music awards and prizes including the 1st prize from Bank of America for 1994 Young Artist Competition and Herb Alpert Music Award from A& M Records. The Los Angeles Times identifies Marina Manukian as "a violinist extraordinaire...whose virtuosity is exceeded only by her calmness and confidence, working through the intricacies with masterful grace and strength".
Bryan Pezzone has been a freelance performing and recording artist in the Los Angeles area since 1987. He is known as a versatile performer who is comfortable in classical, contemporary and improvisational styles. He performs with composers and musicians as diverse as Pierre Boulez, John Williams and John Adams and records on countless film and television soundtracks. He is the pianist in the group Free Flight; a crossover classical/jazz quartet. These concerts feature many of his own compositions. In addition, Bryan has initiated a performing series that he calls "Freedom Series" which involves improvisations and verbal musings on life.
He's been the principal pianist in the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra from it's inception in 1993-1999 as well as the former chair and founder of the multi-focused keyboard department at the California Institute of the Arts from 1987-2000. He abandoned both of those positions in order to discover new paths. He is passionate about continuously redefining himself and his role as an artist/musician/person in today's complex and eclectic culture.
Manukian/Pezzone's faithful interpretation of Brahms Sonatas for violin and piano is full of strength and grace, with analytical introspection adding now and then a grain of magic that by no means distracts from its ambition: a faithful rendition of Brahms' autumnal thoughts, perhaps his most sincere, subliminal, his most complex ones. These artists have truly captured at their finger tips and in their souls the very mind of Brahms himself.
Donald Manildi the curator of the International Piano Archives who also wrote for Rubinstein/Schering famous recording of Brahms Sonatas has contributed his program notes for this recording. Sevada productions who beautifully designed the cover for this CD used Brahms photo courtesy of Osterreichische Nationalbibliotek Bildarchiv.
Hopefully, this recording will remain for a long time respected and cherished in the circle