Keyboard wonders Aaron Kurz and Victor Stanislavsky will hit the high notes at a recital to honor composer Frederic Chopin’s 200th birthday. The two piano prodigies will showcase their talents for an evening of musical inspiration.
Kurz, a 14-year-old high school student, and 27-year-old Israeli Stanislavsky, will play pieces from the 19th century. Both have performed and competed in venues around the world, and hope to dazzle the Dallas community with their musical flair.
Aaron Kurz, son of Terry and Jeffrey Kurz, became interested in the piano at age 3 after watching Baby Mozart videos and began taking lessons soon afterward. He has worked with Dr. Carol Leone, chair of piano at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, for five years.
A freshman at Greenhill School, Kurz said he sometimes finds it difficult to balance school and piano practice, but wouldn’t have it any other way. He practices for two hours, six days a week.
“I’m getting better at juggling school and piano. Eight hours at school and two hours of piano doesn’t leave me with a lot of free time,” he said. “I have a strict schedule, and there aren’t a lot of open blocks of time in my day. It can be hard at times, but I like it. I wouldn’t give it up. I’d rather have a hard schedule with piano, than an easy one without it.”
Kurz added that one of the perks of playing the piano is that he has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Salle Cortot in Paris and in Vienna, Austria.
Other accomplishments include winning first place in the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition; first place in both the MTNA and TMTA Texas State competitions; and second places in the Junior Division of the Viardo and Virginia Waring International Piano Competitions. He has played for the Van Cliburn Foundation in Fort Worth and works with its Musical Awakenings Program; he will perform with the Lewisville Symphony in a few weeks.
Kurz is anticipating his first concert at the ICC and hopes to inspire the audience with his music.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Victor because I’ve never played with anyone of that stature before,” he said. “There are a lot of great things going into this show that will make it really fun. It’s really exciting to play in front of an audience and get that adrenaline rush.”
He enjoys playing music from the 1700s and 1800s, and the works of Beethoven and Mozart.
Kurz admitted that he does get nervous before competitions and recitals, but knows that his hard work always pays off. He feels the most accomplished after winning a competition, and is grateful to have achieved so much at his age.
“It’s cool to know that not many people my age have done some of the things I’ve done,” he added. “I live two lives, my piano life and other life. When I’m not practicing, my brain flips a switch when I’m at school and I don’t think about it. I try not to think about the future, and just enjoy what I’m doing right now.”