Stolyar has never left education: he has a regular position as an instructor in the academy at Novosibirsk and has recently released a book on piano improvisation. But this has not prevented him from traveling all over the world seeking new contexts for performance. His wanderings have brought him to Ann Arbor, where he has been engaging with area musicians on many levels, including some recent performances with members of the U-M music faculty. He plays the piano with a powerful assurance and a well-developed technique that reveals his embrace of the whole keyboard tradition, from the classics to the most recent contemporary written and improvised music. Stolyar is a versatile composer, but his solo piano work is pianistic to the core, and his modernist sensibility overlays a rhapsodic center. He, too, makes you think of Shostakovich meeting the blues. Stolyar plays the Kerrytown Concert House Steinway on February 15.
[Originally published in February, 2012.]