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  • Sound that Appears from Nothing and Disappears Again (De Volkskrant, Nov 2000) • April 2007

Last year the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra appointed a twenty-year-old Russian as principal oboe. In doing so, they resembled a football club that quickly contracts its just scouted talent before he can make a transfer free exit. However, those who heard Alexei Ogrintchouk's recital on Wednesday in the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw, could not blame the orchestra: this boy is a phenomenon. 

In the series «Rising Stars», young musicians, who are nominated by important concert halls in Europe and New York, go on a tour to those halls. The benefits for the chosen musicians are obvious, but the audience profits by it as well: except for Pauline Oostenrijk, Ogrintchouk is the only oboist who will give a recital in the Concertgebouw this year. He was nominated a Rising Star by the Cité de la Musique in Paris: the neighbour of the conservatory where he and his excellent pianist graduated.
 

Ogrintchouk has many qualities: he has a fantastic fingering technique that seems to make the most difficult passages run effortlessly, while with his breath control he survives even the criminally continuous phrases in Schumann's Romances without great problems. For the composer, taking a breath was obviously a matter of minor importance. Besides that, the strong views he holds on the repertoire are unmistakable. 

Most impressive, however, is his ability to make the sound appear from absolutely nothing, like a sudden natural presence without any material obstruction, and on the other hand to let it dissolve in wondrous diminuendos. Last Wednesday these diminuendos occasionally ended so quietly that they were drowned out by the rustle of the moisture underneath the keys. In his urge to communicate, Ogrintchouk lifted his instrument at times so high into the air, that the bell was higher than the reed. While playing in a symphony orchestra, these movements in all directions - which without a doubt will be audible on the radio as spatial sound - will at times have to be checked.
 
De Volkskrant, 10 November 2000

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