Anya’s Musings

April 28, 2012

The Torch

“We are approaching San Antonio; it is beautiful evening, clear sky northeast wind twelve miles per hour, eighty degrees… thank you for choosing Southwest airlines, have a pleasant evening”… It all started with me putting myself out for sale on the Musical Bridges auction last spring… guess what? Drs. Michelle and Eric Miller bought me for a solo recital for their Wedding Anniversary Celebration that will take place this weekend. I have not played solo since my postgraduate recital in Moscow in 2000. I got extremely exited to get back to solo piano and picked a very romantic program for […]
April 13, 2012

The Flower

“Anya, we are starting a REAL art lovers book club. We will go deep into the artist’s psyche and study it inside out…you’ve got to join….” Okay, said I without thinking twice. This was my old friend Susan Dunis who shared with me the first years of Musical Bridges, an artist and fun person to be around, spontaneous and light. I did not look at my schedule, I am loyal to my friends, if they want to do something I support it without asking questions… The first artist selected was Edward Hopper. When the book arrived I got a queer […]
April 5, 2012

Test in Logic

When my son was getting ready to attend Law School, he needed to take the LSAT and he shared his exercise book on logic with me.  It went something like this: “An advertising executive must schedule an advertisement during a particular TV show.  Seven different consecutive time slots are available for advertisements during a commercial break, and are numbered one through seven in the order that they will be aired.  Seven different advertisements – B, C, D, F, H, J, and K – must be aired during the show.  Only one advertisement can occupy each time slot.  The assignment of […]
March 23, 2012

Artistic Nightmares

This is my latest… I am sitting in a café with a group of actors and a play director and discussing the character of my heroine that I will play in a few hours in front of a large audience.  I am asking the director, “What is your vision for this production?  What is this play about?  Is it about love and redemption?”  “ Yes, of course,” he is saying.  “What else can it be about ???”  Somewhere in the back of my mind I know that I do not know any lines for my role and I did not […]
March 15, 2012

Lovely Sunday and My Comfort Zone

Last Sunday, Robert and I went to the McNay Art Museum to see the Andy Warhol exhibit.  The weather was beautiful and we were looking forward to being back at the McNay.  What a charming museum we have!  The grounds were well-groomed and modern sculptures completed the idyllic picture of a beautiful garden.  Did you know that every first Sunday of the month the permanent collection is free?  I was very happy to see quite a few young families with kids inside and outside the McNay on this first Sunday afternoon.  The Administration and the Board of Directors have done […]
March 6, 2012

Magic Wand

Imagine… You type San Antonio Symphony into a search window, and…WOW!  An international world of music opens in front of you!  Recordings on world famous labels!  A busy touring schedule under the button of the brilliant Sebastian Lang-Lessing!  Performances with premier soloists like Martha Argerich, Eugene Kissin, Lang Lang, Joshua Bell… all possible concert halls…Vienna Musikverein!  Covent Garden!  Concertgebouw! Carnegie Hall! The reviews rave about the orchestra and conductor and the city of San Antonio!  Ranked #1 of 317 attractions in the United States!  Type: Symphonies, Description: “Often a tough ticket, the San Antonio Symphony features some of the best classical […]
February 16, 2012


My 50th birthday present exceeded my wildest expectations…I got a Giraffe!!!  No, Robert didn’t give me a real one – but an abstract one instead.  He is tall and handsome and borne out of the tree root that was stuck in the way of the sewer line in the artist’s backyard.  When I look at him, my heart fills with joy.  Although his real name is “The Irreversible Dilemma of Lost Opportunities”, to me he is the most handsome Giraffe there is.  And this is the beauty of abstract art; it is what you want it to be at the […]
January 31, 2012

My Brother Mark

“Marik… go practice your violin” ….engraved in my childhood memory. He was born on a calm, summer night with the sounds of Paganini concerto No. 1 on the radio.  His fate was decided – he will be a great violinist!  I was at summer camp and met this new addition to our family when he was already 3 weeks old.  I was twelve and did not know what to make of it at the time. Mark exceeded the expectations of our violinist parents.  He is more than a violinist; he is a visual artist, computer genius and a businessman – […]
January 23, 2012

A High Maintenance Lady with Splendid Rewards

Violin is probably the closest instrument to the human voice.  Violin vibrato makes our inner selves vibrate along with every thought of the musician.  Violin reaches the deepest corners of our beings and makes us cry, makes the hair on the back of our necks stand up and makes us shiver from pure physical pleasure.  The Old Italian violins are surrounded with the mystery of their making; every violin has a soul of its own and plays well only in the hands of a great master.  Sometimes the violin gets compared to a voluptuous woman caressed by a skillful lover. […]
January 12, 2012

My Bucket List

Since I just turned 50, I decided that it is a good time to start my bucket list.  I’m looking at things realistically and ideas like becoming a tall blond, having a few more kids and getting a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris do not seem to be relevant anymore so… out the window they go.  I have always dreamed of learning many languages, but my mind could only do so if my very survival depended on it.  I have studied Italian, French and Spanish, but unless I was parachuted into those countries and left there without […]
January 3, 2012

Bumblebee in My Living Room

Anya, there is a wrong note on the left hand… play it again… It all started with the simple question to my husband – what shall I learn for a HAPPY NEW YEAR video?  It has to be something short, flashy and very, very happy.  “Bumblebee”, Robert said, without thinking twice. “What a fresh idea!” I thought, and engaged on a YouTube journey.  After listening to about 25 different Bumblebees, some in killer arrangements, I found one by Rachmaninov.  And it was love at first site. “Flight of the Bumblebee” is an orchestral interlude written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his […]
December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Every year before New Year’s Eve I like to reflect on my life. I decided to dedicate this blog to Musical Bridges Around the World. We will celebrate our 15th Anniversary in 2012. Vladimir Bochkarev, Anya’s former piano professor In 1998, I was working at UTSA as a staff accompanist not really liking the job and looking for something fun to do. I invited Vladimir, one of my former piano professors from Moscow, to visit San Antonio. In order to help pay his airfare I asked the Mexican Cultural Institute to organize a concert for him. To make a long […]
December 19, 2011

Little Woman With A Big Heart

To me, the Holiday Season is all about giving.  It feels good to give and we give in any way we can.  We volunteer; we put countless working hours in; we give money to charities and presents to family and friends.  Overall, we are satisfied with our share of giving and we feel warm and fuzzy during this festive and welcoming shopping season.  But, there are some of us who take it a step further, beyond the warm and fuzzy part and into the vast and unjust world.  I feel the Holiday Season is a perfect time to celebrate those […]
December 5, 2011

My Somewhat Typical Weekend

It is Saturday and I am dividing my day between piano practicing and finalizing the itinerary for upcoming concerts. I have taken care of the airfare and hotel reservations for Musical Bridges guest artists; scheduled rehearsal times; arranged meals; coordinated the delivery and pick up of dancing floors; scheduled the moving and tuning of pianos; finalized the program book and made sure that everyone will be happy. At some point I asked myself… “Is this the way to spend a Saturday evening?” Most of my friends are out Salsa dancing or attending galas, or traveling to new places. The San […]
November 29, 2011

Nobuyuki Tsujii – 8th Wonder of the World!

I heard about Nobuyuki at the same time I heard the shocking news that NO Russian pianists took prizes during the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition.  Really?  Sad me… what about our unbeatable Russian piano schools?  How was it possible?  If not Russians, then WHO WERE THEY? And THEY were three fantastic Asians.  Thanks to Arts San Antonio, who presented all three winners in concerts in San Antonio, I was given the opportunity to hear them live and I can confirm there was no anti-Russian conspiracy involved in selecting the winners.  I was very much impressed with the silver medalist Yeol […]
November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving – “à la russe” – Russian Style

I still vividly remember landing at JFK airport on December 29, 1989. My son, Arseni, was 6 years old and this was his first flight. His ears bothered him during the descent and he was extremely cranky. We were armed with two suitcases, my Russian-style fur coat, three English words and an attitude that we were the best. Little did we know… Anya and Arseni in 1989 My ex-husband, Valery, who had arrived three months earlier on a cultural exchange program at Illinois State University met us at the airport in a newly purchased Chevy station wagon, which ate all […]
November 14, 2011

A Rare Case of Less is More

Does the word MINIMALISM scare the heck out of you?  I will save you time and go to Wikipedia: The term “minimalist” is often applied colloquially to designate anything, which is spare or stripped to its essentials. Well, let me tell you how it makes me feel… A few weeks ago, the three girls from my family, my mom, my sister-in-law and I went to the symphony.  The program was delightful with the fabulous Sebastian Lang-Lessing conducting.  The opening piece of the program was by Estonian composer Arvo Part: “Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten”.  It sounded so fresh and beautiful! […]
November 7, 2011

Perfect Date and Peter Tchaikovsky

I met my husband, Robert, on  On our first date, we brought each other a musical present.  He brought me a CD of Russian jazz pianists and I brought him a brochure from the Cactus Pear Music Festival.  We both knew right away that this was a match made in heaven… We use to go to a lot of musical events together at the beginning of our relationship.  At that time, Robert had no idea what he was getting into by dating me – the artistic director and pianist.  Music was still a lot of fun for him before […]