Scriabin Centenary:
{Re}Hearing Scriabin in the 21st Century

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
October 22–25, 2015

One hundred years after his death, the music of Scriabin continues to puzzle and thrill audiences with its alluring mix of mystery and rapturous beauty. References to Chopin, Liszt, and Wagner abound, but Scriabin’s idiosyncratic musical language combines familiar and unfamiliar sounds, and his wide-ranging nonmusical interests include mysticism, the occult, Symbolist poetry, and Nietzsche. To explore the many enigmas of the Russian composer and his music, the Westfield Center, with support from the Departments of Music, German Studies, and Comparative Literature at Cornell University, celebrates Scriabin’s centenary year with a series of concerts and talks, and by “hearing" his piano music through various lenses.

Cornell pianists Xak Bjerken, Becky Lu, Ryan MacEvoy McCullough, Miri Yampolsky, Andrew Zhou, and Ithaca College’s Dmitri Novgorodsky and Scriabin specialist Matthew Bengtson will trace the composer’s stylistic evolution through performances of the complete piano sonatas over two concerts. Speakers with wide-ranging expertise, such as Simon Morrison of Princeton University (Musicology, Slavic Languages and Literature), and Nancy Pollak (Comparative Literature) and Geoffrey Waite (German Studies, Comparative Literature, Visual Studies) of Cornell, will offer interdisciplinary perspectives on Scriabin’s piano music, fin-de-siècle Russian artistic developments, and assess the landscape of Scriabin studies. To address issues of performance practice, the pianists and speakers will assemble for a panel discussion that includes demonstrations on Cornell’s newly refurbished 1876 eight-foot Blüthner grand with Aliquot resonating strings and performances by Scriabin himself—via recordings of his 1910 Welte Mignon piano rolls.

Stanislav Ioudenitch, Gold Medalist at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, will draw the weekend’s festivities to a close with a program of works by Chopin and Rachmaninoff, Scriabin's greatest influence and his most famous contemporary.

All events are free and open to the public.
Please check this website regularly for updates to the following schedule and information.

4:30 pm, Lincoln Hall 124
Colloquium: Simon Morrison (Princeton University), "'About that Chord', Scriabin's 'Mystic' Chord, and Interpretations in His Piano Music.

8:00 pm, Barnes Hall Auditorium
Sonatas I, with additional works. Guest pianist Matthew Bengtson and Ryan McCullough.

All events take place at Barnes Hall Auditorium.

12:30-2:30 pm
Master class by Stanislav Ioudenitch.

3:00-4:00 pm
Panel discussion on the performance practice of Scriabin's piano music.

4:00-6:00 pm
Geoff Waite (Cornell University), "Scriabin: 'Mad Hellene'?"
Nancy Pollak (Cornell University), "Annenskii and Scriabin?"

8:00 pm
Sonatas II. Guest pianists Read Gainsford and Dmitri Novgorodsky, with Xak Bjerken, Becky Lu, Ryan McCullough, and Andrew Zhou.

3:00 pm, Barnes Hall Auditorium
Stanislav Ioudenitch and Miri Yampolsky, pianos. Works by Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

For Barnes Hall concerts, free evening and weekend parking is available at the Schoellkopf Field garage.

Additional details about the Cornell University Department of Music events and venues may be found at and campus maps at

Speaker and Performer Bios