Renowned Russian cellist Alexandre Bouzlov was introduced to classical music at just 6 years old.
“It’s very interesting how it all began,” said the talented Bouzlov, who will perform in the latest UBS Atrium Series free lunchtime concert produced by the Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center Wednesday afternoon in the UBS Financial Center Atrium in Weehawken, beginning at 12:30 p.m.
“My parents bought me a violin and took me to a violin teacher. I didn’t like the violin at all. But the teacher showed me the cello and I fell in love with the sound.”
Child prodigy Bouzlov was already an accomplished musician by the time most youngsters reach first grade. Even though he was the only musician in his family, Bouzlov played the sitar and sang songs by the time he was 5 years old. At age 6, he was ready to tackle the cello – even if the instrument was much larger than he was.
“Oh, the cello comes in different sizes,” Bouzlov said. “I started with a smaller cello. But once I started playing, my teacher noticed that I had the hands for it. I also loved it. I couldn’t stop playing.”
By the age of 10, Bouzlov was performing with the Russian Welfare Foundation, which assisted the careers of budding musicians and artists. At that early age, Bouzlov was already traveling the world, performing all over the globe in places such as London, the Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, Macedonia, Norway, Belgium, Austria, Israel, Scotland, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia.
“It was very important to me, because I learned how to play onstage at an early age,” Bouzlov said.
Bouzlov has been performing ever since, either with concert orchestras or by himself in recitals.
“It doesn’t matter to me, whether I play alone or with an orchestra, I still get a little nervous,” said Bouzlov, still young at 22. “But I love meeting new people wherever I go.”
Bouzlov’s career has especially taken off in the last two years. In September of 2005, Bouzlov earned second place in an international competition in Munich. The New York Times wrote that Bouzlov “makes the instrument sing.”
In 2004, Bouzlov earned a grant from the Guzik Foundation that enabled him to tour the United States as a soloist with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, a tour that included his debut at Carnegie Hall.
Last May, Bouzlov made his Lincoln Center debut, performing Lalo’s Cello Concerto with famed conductor Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
His hectic performing schedule this year will include stops in Mobile, Tulsa, and Florida, as well as recitals in Texas, Ohio, and Connecticut. He just recently returned to New York from his native Moscow, where he stayed for 10 days and played in two recitals.
“It’s fun traveling around,” Bouzlov said. “It’s not difficult. I even find time to visit my girlfriend in Paris.”
But in between, Bouzlov will take the time for the HRPAC’s monthly concert series, with pianist Noreen Cassidy Polera, a New Jersey native, accompanying him.
“It’s going to be a different experience for me,” Bouzlov said. “Playing in front of an audience that is close like that gives me energy and concentration and keeps me under control.”
The Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center will produce its latest UBS Atrium Series concert, namely cellist Alexandre Bouzlov (accompanied by pianist Noreen Cassidy Polera) Wednesday, March 8, at 12:30 p.m. in the atrium of the UBS Financial Services headquarters, located at 1000 Harbor Boulevard in Weehawken. Admission to the concert is free. For more information about the HRPAC and the concert series, log on to www.hrpac.org or call the HRPAC hotline at (201) 716-4540.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.