Natasha Paremski wowed concertgoers in her debut with the Minnesota Orchestra at Sommerfest last year, playing Rachmaninoff’s famously difficult Piano Concerto No. 3 under the direction of Andrew Litton. When she rejoins the orchestra and Litton Nov. 13-14, Paremski will tackle another challenging piece — Tchaikovsky’s first concerto.
One of the most enduringly popular classical works, the concerto has been notably performed by pianists ranging from Horowitz to Liberace. It is also associated with many movies and prominent pop-culture names, including Orson Welles, David Letterman and even the Monty Python comedy troupe.
Paremski, 28, is considered one of the most exciting rising young stars among solo pianists performing with top orchestras of the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A critic who reviewed her performance of the Tchaikovsky with the Princeton Symphony in November wrote that the “riveted” audience “gave one of the longest rounds of applause I’ve ever witnessed.”
Born in Russia and raised primarily in California, Paremski has been playing the Tchaikovsky, one of her favorites, since she was 15. Her approach to the concerto has changed, she said in a 2012 interview before performing it with the Royal Philharmonic.
“The music is so thrilling that often we can get selfish about the way we play it, and not actually connect with the audience,” she said. “So I find it rewarding to go back to the score and see what this piece is all about.”
Greg Milliren, associate principal flute for the Minnesota Orchestra, is a member of the musicians’ artistic-advisory committee. He performed with Paremski at the Sommerfest concerts when she played the Rachmaninoff.
“She’s a real musical sorceress who makes inspired choices,” Milliren said. “For me, what stood out was the almost feral intensity she brought to her performance. Even if you had never heard the piece before, you would have been transfixed.”