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  • Catherin Bye

Brilliant Pianist Anastasiya Evsina on her Freshly Released Music Video of Samuel Feinberg Sonata

Anastasiya Evsina is a pianist who gives concerts worldwide. She has performed in venues such as Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall, National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Paderewski Hall in Lausanne, and Cultural Center in Sao Paulo, among others. Her interpretations impress with their depth, emotional power, and strong ability to keep the audience in suspense.

Thank you so much for joining us on this interview series. Can you share the backstory that led you to this career path?

I started playing piano at the age of four. Quite early, I understood that playing the piano is not just a profession for me; it is like breathing. Striving to improve my piano skills, I completed my Master's degree in solo piano at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and in chamber music at the Gnesin Academy simultaneously, and I used any opportunity to perform around the world. It was very intense and complex at some moments, but it gave me a strong impulse that I feel until now.

Your recent recording of Feinberg Sonata is a profound, brilliant piece that will leave no one indifferent. Could you tell us a bit more about it?

First of all, Feinberg is an unfairly forgotten composer. Even among musicians, he is more known as a great interpreter of J.S.Bach and Scriabin, but he was also an outstanding composer. He wrote 12 piano Sonatas, 3 Piano Concertos, and many transcriptions. The Third Sonata is a mature piece even though Feinberg was only at the age of 26 at that moment. But he underestimated it and fairly played in public. We only have evidence of him performing the Second movement, "The Funeral March ."But the whole piece is an expressive musical embodiment of the profound philosophy. We should be grateful to the composer Anatoly Alexandrov who published this piece posthumously.

Your interpretation of this piece is phenomenal; it grabs the listener's attention from the first note to the last. What sparked the first idea to record this particular work?

Since studying, I often played the rare pieces like Concerto n. 3 and Sonata-Ballada by N.Medtner, Sonata n.1 by S.Rachmaninov; among Sonatas J.Brahms, I chose the Second, which is less performed. I like when the piece doesn't have too much tradition, and I can discover it myself. And if I like a work that is barely known, I want others to hear it. So, this was the case. I've listened to the Third Sonata in a fantastic interpretation by Christoph Sirodeau and fell in love with it.

Anastasiya, please tell us the story behind the recording process of this masterpiece? What influenced you to bring this record to life?

The recording was made during my recital in Paderewski Hall in Lausanne this year. At first, I planned to make a studio recording; as you know, the global pandemic suspended all cultural events. That's how I recorded in a studio The Preludes op.23 by S.Rachmaninov and The Second Clarinet Sonata by J.Brahms with a clarinetist Akmal Kosimov. I thought that's how people could hear me in this not easy situation. But in the process of preparing for Feinberg's Sonata, the last restrictions have been lifted, and I realized that I could actually record it right on the big beautiful stage. And, of course, the live performance gives an entirely different feeling.

As contemporary work, it leaves a lot open to interpretation. What do you think this piece is about? What do you picture when listening to the final version of the recording and why?

It was written in 1916 when the First World War was already in full swing. Besides that the pre-revolutionary mood was in the air in Russia. I can imagine the tension that permeated society, and you can definitely hear this in the music of the Third Sonata. I inspired myself with the art of people who went through the suffering and hardships of wars and repressions: Irene Nemirovsky, Marguerite Duras, a Brazilian artist of German origin Hannah Brandt, and Russian "Silver Age" poets who, under fear of death, wrote poems full of protest and pain. That's what I hear in this music. I am actually a very positive person, but I always felt the importance and need to remind myself and others that peace is the only possible way to build a life. This music is exactly about this; it is heartrending music that shows all the sides of the war: it has the ugly image of the devil for whom nothing is sacred and the sounds of mothers' prayers and sobs. But I also hear in this music a faith in the human mind capable of understanding the destructive nature of any war.

You are a person of enormous influence. What would you advise young musicians regarding a music career today? Any lesson they should keep in mind to succeed?

First of all, we need to like what we are doing and know the instruments to make a living in this profession. We need to be open to collaborations, experiments, and original ways of building careers. It is a risky but exciting path. Professional musical competitions don't necessarily lead you to a great career, they are essential and can help in different ways, but you might be just one of many like you. It is more important to have an interesting and complex personality that allows you to stand out from the crowd and create attractive ways to express yourself. Being different is the secret to success nowadays. I would primarily invest in self-development and not necessarily in the musical area.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote? And can you explain how that was relevant in your life and career?

My main motto for decades has been the latin expression "viam supervadet vadens" which means "the walking one will master the road." For me, it is fair in all aspects. "Just keep going," I tell myself. It took me through the long and thorny way of becoming a pianist, and also it lifted me up in difficult life situations. For the music, I am fond of the expression "music starts with silence" by Heinrich Neuhaus; a few other musicians were saying a similar thing. For me, at some point, it was a key to understanding a good part of performing art, including the notorious problem of many young performers - "how to start the piece."

Anastasiya, what's next for you music-wise? We would love you to share your upcoming performances and career plans.

I moved to Brazil recently with my family and planned to replenish my repertoire with the music by Brazilian composers; there is a lot of wonderful music completely unknown. I am in the process of research now. Some chamber concerts are planned for October-November. I feel very eager to continue the series of recitals under the theme "Great Composers-Pianists". This thread inspires me a lot, and I am preparing something very unusual for myself. Besides that, I am very excited to continue with my video course "Technical Solutions" to help young pianists improve their technique.

Thank you so much for sharing your musical journey with us. It was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Thank you!

To connect with Anastasiya please visit her official website, and follow her on Youtube and Instagram.

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