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Thursday, November 13, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Awesome Anastasia -- Just 14, Russian Pianist Anastasia Solomatina Creates Keyboard Magic With The Touch Of A Rising Star

Seattle Times Music Critic

----------------------------------------------------------------- CONCERT PREVIEW

Northwest Chamber Orchestra: Russian Masterworks Featuring 14-year-old pianist Anastasia Solomatina and trumpeter Richard Pressley, 8 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday; Kane Hall, University of Washington, Seattle; $15-$21 (206-343-0445). -----------------------------------------------------------------

When the phone rang that day, two years ago, it was a surprise to hear the Russian accent of Seattle Symphony pianist Victoria Bogdashevskaya on the line.

"I have never called you about a young artist before now," said Bogdashevskaya, who hadn't, "but there is someone you must hear."

That someone turned out to be Anastasia Solomatina, then 12, a shy, soft-eyed young Russian-born girl who seemed much younger than her American MTV'd preteen counterparts. Younger, that is, until she turned to the keyboard and began to play Schumann with astonishing mastery and maturity.

Now 14, Solomatina has already won competitions and played with the Seattle Symphony, and this weekend she'll be featured in two Northwest Chamber Orchestra concerts with Adam Stern conducting. Concert times are 8 p.m. tomorrow (not the usual Saturday) and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, in Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus.

Appropriately, it's an all-Russian program; Solomatina solos in the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 (also featuring Seattle Symphony trumpeter Richard Pressley).

This is your chance to be able to say, "I heard her when . . ." Here is one Anastasia who is the real thing: not Romanov, but 100 percent keyboard aristocracy.

AROUND TOWN

-- The Seattle Symphony has a winner in Saturday's 11 a.m. "Discover Music" concert for kids: "Hallelujah Handel," a semi-staged story based on Handel's life and featuring some of his best-known music (including the "Hallelujah" chorus and excerpts from "Water Music"). This is part of the same creative Classical Kids series (of musical stories) that presented "Beethoven Lives Upstairs" and "Tchaikovsky Discovers America." Michael G. Morgan conducts; the performance features members of the Northwest Boychoir and Seattle Girls' Choir along with the symphony ($8, $11; 206-215-4747).

-- An unusual jazz-meets-classical event is set for tomorrow at 8 p.m., when ArtsWest presents "Improvisation" - featuring composer/brass player Daniel Barry and his group, red fish blue fish, and classical pianist Jane Harty, performing music that blends both traditions (including Barry's extended jazz improvisation on Bach's Prelude in C Major). The program, one of the most innovative in a series that brings quality music to West Seattle, takes place in West Seattle High School Auditorium, 4075 S.W. Stevens St. For tickets, call 206-938-0963.

-- Soprano alert: The Carmen Pelton recital scheduled for Monday at Meany Theater has been canceled, because the soprano has accepted an engagement with the Atlanta Symphony. Pelton will reschedule her recital for a later date.

Meanwhile, we're on full diva alert for the arrival of Kathleen Battle (7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Opera House at the Seattle Center), where Battle fans will hear a recital beginning with songs of Dowland and Purcell, then Handel and Haydn, and finally Faure (plus some "traditional selections" to be announced). Her pianist is J.J. Penna, and Battle is presented in recital by the Seattle Symphony ($22-$55; 206-215-4747).

-- The Seattle Symphony also has the phenomenal percussionist Evelyn Glennie in two concerts, Monday and Tuesday, with Gerard Schwarz conducting (206-215-4747). In Sunday's Arts Alive section, we'll have an interview with Glennie, who discusses how it's possible to be a famous percussionist - who also happens to be deaf.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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