Packed house at noon concert

The Pierce College afternoon concert series continued Thursday afternoon with an exquisite performance by Russian cellist Biryukov, accompanied by pianist Maksim Velichkin, in room 3400 of the Music Building.

The concert began at 1 p.m. and lasted for more than an hour.

Biryukov started playing music at the age of seven.  When he turned 11, he started performing internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, playing as many as 150 concerts a year.

Velichkin, on the other hand, is a collaborative pianist, a harpsichordist, and a cellist. He is the director of the “MiMoDa” concert series in Los Angeles and plays popular music with well-known artists such as Stevie Wonder.

The concert was upbeat, with Biryukov playing brilliantly and his jovial manner showing through with his interaction with the audience during a question-and-answer at the end of the performance.

The duo performed Camille Saint-Saens: Cello Concerto No.1 in a minor, Opera 33 and Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky’s: “Variations on a Rocco Theme”, Opera 33.

Biryukov’s explained how the appreciation for this music is still with him after many years.

“The music was written with passion about the feelings and emotions of everyday life,” said Biryukov. “The beauty is in you, the beast is in you. Our job is to make life a little better, a little happier for you.”

James Bergman, adjunct instructor of music, organized the afternoon concert series.

“The purpose of these concerts is to expose the students to high-quality music that they probably haven’t been exposed to before,” Bergman said.

Bergman said that a lot of students think they don’t like classical music.

“I am reading hundreds of students opinions of what they heard and many of them are not afraid to tell me they didn’t like this and didn’t like that,” Bergman said.

Samantha Martinez, 20, is majoring in Child Development; she is taking her first music class this semester and this was her first recital.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Martinez said.  “This is the first time I came to a concert here and next week I will be glad to come back.”

The concert series continues next Tuesday with violinist Ji Young An.