VILNIUS - Comparisons with Mozart are not something a fresh and prodigious talent can always live up to. But 22-year-old Miroslav Kulty-shev puts in a sparkling performance every time he appears on stage.
On March 14, the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall hosts this fast-rising Russian pianist, who will perform Franz Liszt's tremendously challenging "Twelve Tran-scendental Etudes," which are among the most difficult pieces for piano ever written.
Several years after they were written and published in the early 1850s, Liszt's contemporary Robert Schu-mann famously declared that "at the most, ten or twelve pianists in the world" could play them.
Last year, Kultyshev won the 13th International Tchaikovsky Competition, a prestigious event held in Moscow every four or five years. As a consequence he instantly received ecstatic congratulations and insta-ntaneous invitations to perform at many of the world's most prestigious concert venues.
The young pianist is now routinely referred to as a classical music sensation. His performances attract full halls of music lovers and win high critical acclaim.
The Mozart comparisons are now coming from serious critics. Kultyshev took up the piano very early, at the age of six, and made his debut as a soloist at the age of 10 when he performed with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra. The boy's exceptional musicality quickly provoked comparisons with the prolific 18th century Austrian genius.
Kultyshev has a very distinctive way of playing, using a particular energy and sensitivity. Music reviewers note his wide array of intonations and power over the listeners. "He can make your heart rise and fall" is a typically emotional comment heard after a Kultyshev event.
His success at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2007 was an important milestone in the pianist's career. Jury Chairman Nikolai Petrov, who himself began learning the piano at the age of three, announced that "Kultyshev has exceptional talent."
Following a rapturous concert in Vienna, the newspaper Wiener Zeitung, which was founded in 1703 and is renowned for its music criticism in the world capital of classical music, wrote: "When playing Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, he reaches the peak of virtuosity."
Lithuanian music lovers will enjoy the same experience. These demanding solo piano pieces require the highest level of artistic mastery. Listeners in Vilnius will have an exceptional opportunity to hear how these etudes are performed by such a sensational pianist.
Kultyshev has become a highly sought-after performer at some of the world's most prestigious concert venues. In 2007 alone, he played at Vienna's Musikverein, Salzburg's Mozarteum, the Montreux Festival in Switzerland, Moscow's Tchaikovsky Conservatoire and the St Petersburg Philharmonic Hall. Once he plays the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall, the tireless Kultyshev has an extensive tour schedule for the remainder of 2008, performing in South Korea and Japan among other countries.
Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall, March 14 , 7 p.m.