Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 might be one of the most overplayed works in the repertoire, but a veteran pianist and young substitute conductor managed to infuse new life into this venerable warhorse during the New World Symphony’s performance Friday night.
Garrick Ohlsson is an old hand at the works of Rachmaninoff as well as one of the most consistent piano soloists on the contemporary concert scene, continually refreshing his readings of the most familiar scores. New World conducting fellow Joshua Gersen replaced the ailing Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos on the podium. Gersen has often led opening pieces on the orchestra’s major series and has conducted the ensemble’s family programs and mini-concerts. Friday night at New World Center he proved more than ready for this high- profile opportunity.
From the opening bars of the Rachmaninoff concerto, Ohlsson exuded clear authority. He can play with tremendous power