1Please provide us with a brief bio of yourself and your background.
I currently hold the coveted title of a Steinway Artist since 2008.
I began playing piano at the age of five in St. Petersburg where I grew up in. When my family relocated to the United States, I continued my studies in New York at the High School for the Performing Arts and The Juilliard School. I then graduated from Juilliard Pre-College Division, College, and Graduate school.
As a student, I performed weekly for many years on the “Science of Mind” programs in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, made an appearance on ABC TV’s “People, Places, and Things” program, often performed on WNYC radio, and made my orchestral debut at Lincoln Center with the National Music Week Orchestra. I was also named “Promising Young Artist” by the National Foundation For Advancement In The Arts!
I then had my professional orchestral debut at the age of 21 with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra in the same program with Itzhak Perlman in front of 15,000 people. Since then, my solo recitals, orchestral appearances, and chamber music and duo piano performances have taken me throughout the United States to Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia. In her native country, I have performed with the leading orchestras, including Moscow State Symphony, St. Petersburg Camerata, Ural Philharmonic Orchestra and Russian Federal Orchestra. I was also the first foreigner to open the annual “Moscow Stars” Festival in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
Despite undergoing eleven hand and shoulder surgeries after an accident, I persevered and built a vast repertoire which includes music of Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Schubert and Liszt as well as Scriabine, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff and my favorite American composer, Vincent Persichetti. Composers from several countries have written music for me to perform.
I have played numerous concerts in support of different charities including Elizabeth Taylor’s Concert For AIDS, Isaac Stern’s birthday celebration for the Ben Gurion University, Operation Exodus for the United Jewish Appeal and a great deal more!
I recently had the honor of performing a 2-hour concert at the White House as part of the “National Treasures” events.
2What led you to become a talent/artist/influencer/performer/current profession?
I began playing the piano like any other child - my mother thought it was a good idea. I was very lucky to be surrounded by inspirational people and by the age of ten, I had to make a very grown-up decision, we were emigrating to the United States and my parents told me to let them know whether I am ready to dedicate my life to music or not. If yes, we will take our upright piano with us. It did not take me long to decide that I loved music too much to quit.
3Tell us more about your studio/company/academy.
I am a concert pianist and perform solo recitals as well as a soloist with orchestras. I love to learn new music and bring it to my audience!
4What skills have you learned that will help you in your result and/or performance?
I studied in the best music conservatory in the world - The Juilliard School. I entered The Juilliard at the age of ten and continued my studies there until I earned my Bachelor's and Masters degrees.
This great institution teaches absolutely every aspect of music and prepares you for the professional life ahead. From learning all about your instrument and your instrument's repertoire, to stage presence, concentration and musicality.
5What is your own definition of an impressive performance/show/masterpiece?
An impressive and successful performance for me means that I learned the music well and was able to express it in such a way that it touched people's hearts. My ideal performance would take my listeners out of their everyday lives and make them feel something unique.
6What is your creative or ideation process like?
I start any piece of music by learning the notes, reading about the composer and what they were going through at the time they composed this piece, then trying to find similar feelings within me, and finally try to express the feelings in such a strong and convincing way that my listener experiences the same feelings.
7What has been the best performance of your career so far?
The best and most memorable performance in my life was a two-hour concert at the White House. Being an immigrant brought such feelings of pride as well as a determination to do the best job I can possibly do. At times, as I looked away from the piano to my surroundings, I felt tears running down my cheeks. I put so much into that performance and I believe the audience felt it.
8Describe the worst performance you have seen. What would you change about it?
As I got older and had more performances, I learned what I should or should not do before concerts. Every person is different so certain things I had to learn on my own. I learned through experience how I should spend the day before my performance or the hours before. I learned what foods I can eat before I perform and how much time I need to spend alone to focus. I learned all these things only by trial and error so many early performances had lack of focus or memory lapses.
9Congratulations! As the winner of LIT Awards, what does it mean to you, or your team, to receive this honor?
For me, this award at this time in my life means the world to me.
After so many years of performing, I had an accident in 2016 that resulted in 13 surgeries on my hands, arms and shoulders. I had to re-learn how to play the piano and this experience left me insecure and lost. My CD, FORMAS DEL TIEMPO, which was recorded after these numerous surgeries won the LIT Music Awards in 3 categories!
I feel like this award gave me the inner strength to never give up. I am sure that this recognition will also help bolster my career and open many new doors for performances.
10How has winning an international awards help promote you and/or your masterpiece?
So far receiving recognition from the LIT Awards really impressed many people. I hope this will lead to new opportunities and performances. I now have a tangible recognition to show to people and it truly speaks volumes. I am very grateful to LIT Music Awards!
11What are the challenges, for your winning entry, that you faced?
My numerous injuries prevented me from recording this new CD, FORMAS DEL TIEMPO, in one take. I had to work very hard to record in-between surgeries and learning this new music through much physical pain. I also faced challenges with contemporary music because not many people and ensembles can perform it. People are used to performing the standard repertoire and new music is often frowned upon.
12What advise you will give to those who are in the same industry and/or are interested with your craft?
Young aspiring musicians should understand that they have to be prepared to sacrifice almost everything in their lives in order to have a performing career. Only dedication and hard work can succeed.
13Who inspired you in your life, and why?
The biggest inspiration in my life is my father. He was an artist and because his art studio was part of our home, I watched him work, focus and give up so many things. I watched him paint all day long without knowing whether someone would appreciate or buy his art. This strength and determination was inspiring and taught me great discipline and work ethic.
14Who do you admire and what did he/she do that motivated you?
The artist I admired most was my Father. I was also lucky to have fantastic teachers and mentors. I was lucky to have people around me who believed in me and supported me in every way.
15Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with the great conductors of our time. There is so much great music out there and I hope to record it with them.
16What is the key that made you succeed? Any parting words of wisdom?
The key to success is really hard work. Everything else is a bonus. Everything else can be learned. Work ethic and respect for what you do come first.
17What is your upcoming masterpiece, that you’re currently preparing, about?
I dream of recording two concerti - one by Rachmaninoff (a Russian composer) and Vincent Persichetti (an American composer). I am a product of two great cultures and I embrace them both.
18If you could change anything about the entire industry, what would it be?
I hope that in the near future the music industry would open up to young people who otherwise cannot afford it. I strongly believe that music can change a child's life and teach many valuable lessons. More young children should be exposed to classical music.
19Do you have anything else you would like to add for the interview?
I am very lucky to have the support system around me that has nurtured my talent and given me the opportunity to explore my full potential.