It was the call any conductor dreads on the eve of a concert — the solist is too ill to play.
Leslie Olive, the conductor and founder of Suffolk Philharmonic, took the call at his Rattlesden home from the agent of Ukranian pianist Anna Fedorova at 11.30am on Saturday when she was due at The Apex at 4pm on Sunday to play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 ‘The Emperor’.
During the concert interval he said: “She was stuck in Paris with a high fever and couldn’t play.
“There was about two hours of frantic telephoning — I called some very high profile people who would have loved to come but were busy.”
Then Leslie had to go to a 2pm rehearsal for a concert at Eye, so his wife manned the phones, but it was Anna’s agent who found fellow Ukranian pianist Dinara Klinton, who stepped nervously onto the stage to play with only 24 hours notice.
Dinara, 24, said: “I’ve not played it in concert before. I’m playing it in a concert at Milton Keynes on Thursday so when Leslie called and said ‘can you save my life’ I was able to say yes.”
Leslie only told the Apex audience immediately before the concerto, after they had opened with Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll.
“I didn’t want people to be thinking about that instead of enjoying the first piece,” he said
He was in luck because Dinara last year won a scholarship to study for a Master of Performance at the Royal College of Music and she will perform with the Milton Keynes Orchestra as part of that. She studied for her Diploma with honours at the Moscow State conservatory with Eliso Virsaladze.
She is no stranger to the stage, having won numerous piano competitions, and has appeared at the Great hall of Moscow conservatory, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Concert hall, the Gewandhaus zu Lepzig and London’s Southbank Centre,
For the concert review click here