Pianist returns for Bartok tribute

To the editor:

Two years ago, internationally renowned pianist and conductor Eugene Sirotkine visited the cabin in Saranac Lake where in 1945 composer Bela Bartok spent the last summer of his life, writing two pieces, his “Third Piano Concerto” and his “Viola Concerto.”

Sirotkine told me his “soul wept at the sight of (Bartok’s) cabin,” imagining him creating immortal music in the tiny room while hatred and paranoia raged all around the world. He described the cabin as a testament to the greatest of human spirits, as well as to Bartok’s music.

On Aug. 6, Sirotkine will return here for a benefit performance at Cobble Spring Farm to support the work of Historic Saranac Lake to preserve the Bartok Cabin and the story of Bartok in Saranac Lake. His solo piano concert will feature pieces by Schumann, Beethoven, Handel and, of course, Bartok, who was and remains inspirational to Eugene.

Eugene immigrated to the United States and attended Oberlin College, learning English by listening to videos of Leonard Bernstein, and earning an advanced degree in organ performance. He is known for his passion in both playing and conducting, and is sure to elicit an emotional response from all who hear him play.

As a friend and colleague, it is an honor to have Eugene join us for what surely will be a memorable evening. Please come to enjoy the music and to help preserve this historic music site in our community. Make a reservation by calling Historic Saranac Lake at 518-891-4606.

Holly Wolff

Saranac Lake