Anya’s Musings

October 31, 2011

From My Favorite Pianists series, Op. 1

I am a big fan of 88.3 KPAC Classical Radio Station. Every time I drive, I turn it on with the anticipation of hearing something spectacular. If I hear piano playing with enormous expressiveness, I know…this is Martha. If the piano music sounds like there are a few good men playing simultaneously on many pianos…this is Martha. The name of Martha Argerich on any label always means fire, as it does here: Record Review / Gramophone Awards Issue (London) / 01 January 1987 Argerich continues to astonish . . . Argerich plays with the blend of immaculate tone, bravura technique […]
October 24, 2011

Drought and Old Picture Albums

We were having a drought and the constant news about fires was quite disturbing. I have lived in San Antonio for over 20 years now and have never seen a drought of this magnitude. Guest portable bed in Kerop’s and Tanya’s apartment…studio/living room/bedroom/guest room The day before, my neighbor Connie had called, and said that her son’s house in Fair Oaks Ranch was in danger. She wondered if Robert and I could take people in, just in case there might be refugees. Yes, we have a big house (and big hearts, I’d like to think) so we would take in […]
October 17, 2011

Silk Road Project

I saw the Silk Road Project for the first time a few years ago in Great Performances on KLRN… and it changed me forever!  Needless to say, I am a big fan.  This project greatly influenced my vision as Artistic Director of Musical Bridges.  The magnificent display of talent from the different cultures encompassed every form of musical expression: various forms of schooling or sometimes no schooling at all; written scores for classically trained musicians and improvisation by raw talent from far away ethnic cultures.  The performances crossed the boundaries of genres, time, languages, history, and I’m sure a lot […]
October 5, 2011

The Magic of Jazz

To me, jazz is an unexplainable mystical phenomenon of humanity, that ultimate art of improvisation. Can you imagine going on stage (if you can imagine it at all!), without really knowing what is going to happen?  Yes, there is a program, something like a list of songs or tunes, as they call it in the jazz world, and a preliminary agreement between players not to step on each other’s time, and a plan as to who plays solo after whom and for how long… but the rest is in God’s hands. Now imagine for a minute that you are a […]
October 5, 2011

Shostakovich and Many Tears

Have you ever cried like a baby, sitting in the second row at the symphony? Did you ever feel like a total idiot, hiding your tears from the normal people to your right and left? I did, I would not lie. I am not proud of it, but some music does it to me. Springtime in Moscow, apple trees in bloom Recently, the San Antonio Symphony performed Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 and to my dismay, I cried like a baby for the entire Symphony. I still am trying to figure out why. Yes, it is beautiful music and the San […]
September 24, 2011

Commedia dell’Arte and Mozart and Salieri

Genius and villainy. Are the two incompatible? Hard work and lifelong dedication versus careless talent, and mediocrity malevolently overpowers brilliance. What a plot! In reality, Salieri was probably a nice guy, who got lucky and got a cushy job working for the Duke … with a handsome salary… benefits… a nice retirement to look forward to. And here you go, young brilliant Mozart effortlessly gives birth to one masterpiece after another, freelancing for his countless female students, countesses, Dukes, courts and god knows who else. If nothing else, Salieri should have felt guilty, even without poisoning Mozart, for taking such […]
September 18, 2011

Great Loss

“Can I stop by now?” was a question on the phone in late June. “Sure, I am home.” Sharon Romer, Vice President of the MBAW Board, walked in with her recently adopted little shih tzu and a beautiful hand made pottery dish.  “This is your early birthday present,” she said.  My birthday is in November, and this was June.  I felt that something was off. “What is going on, Sharon?” And the news was shocking… she had metastatic cancer in her brain, and not much time left. How do you react on the news like that?????????  This is something we […]
September 12, 2011

My Indian Scale

It turns out that India has classical music! I was extremely ashamed that after studying music for almost all of my life, I did not know India has Classical music. The Western European tradition that gave the world Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Copland (and I can go on forever with that list), is not alone in the world! WHAT a revelation! Even back in Russia, then part of the insular Soviet Union, long before I met anyone of Indian descent, I was fascinated with Indian Culture. It started with young Buddha in Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, then the beautiful poetry of […]
August 1, 2011

In Search of Golden Toes

I heard about Elena Kunikova many years before we met. Her work is admired in Monaco, Paris, London, Tokyo, and her native Saint Petersburg. The talented missionary of elegant traditions of Russian classical ballet, critics all over the world are raving about her work. Robert Gottlieb of The New York Observer called her “one of our leading authorities on the Russian classical style.” We met in New York City in January 2009, in a corner cafe on 28th and 3rd. She walked in wrapped in a white fur coat, carrying an antique lamp she had just bought for her upper […]
July 13, 2011

My hot summer so far…

An Alaskan cruise in early June was wonderful! Blankets, layers of clothes, and only 50 degrees. All of my weather complaints on Facebook were met with jealous responses from my San Antonio friends, where at the time, 90 degrees was a relief! It was a beautiful trip. Next, a trip to Dallas to meet Duo Petrof, pianists Anatoly Zatin and Vlada Vassilieva from Mexico, to figure out the details of Liszt’s Hexameron, for the December concert. A piece for 6 pianists… not easy! Hexameron has been in my plans for the last 5 years. What a fun adventure to finally […]
March 18, 2011

Glimpse Into the Next Season

Hello friends! Can you believe it is very nearly Spring already??? As Summer approaches, Musical Bridges Around the World’s 13th Season is nearing an end, and we are excitedly preparing for number 14! We are still finalizing all acts, but the overview for next season is as follows: 2011-2012, 14th Season October 2, 2011: Mozart and Salieri and Indian Fest We present the one-act opera in two scenes, Mozart and Salieri, by Rimsky-Korsakov, performed by world-famous Russian Baritone Bass, Nikita Storojev (Salieri), and Chicago tenor, Michael Burgess (Mozart). The opera will be staged with period furniture and costumes, and presented […]
December 1, 2010

Arabian Nights and a Babysitter

I stepped into the room and was immediately mesmerized by the seductive sway of Middle Eastern rhythms, exotic percussion instruments capable of imitating the sound of birds wings flying away, and warm earthy tones of goblet drums. It was then that I decided to produce Arabian Nights. This was at a presentation by duoJalal at the New York Chamber Music Conference last January.  duoJalal’s name is inspired by the poet Jalal Rumi, whose writings teach people of all religions and backgrounds to live in peace and harmony.  This duo is a husband and wife team of truly international nature.  Yousif […]
June 18, 2010

Copenhagen Story or  “The Northern Goddesses”

Have you ever seen Northern Goddesses up close and personal? Tall, blonde, beautiful, and if that wasn’t enough … very talented sopranos? About one month ago, through a mutual friend, I was approached by Jens Hansen owner of Copenhagen Furniture in San Antonio. “HELP” he said, “The Nordic Singers are on a tour in the United States and I want to present them in San Antonio.” WOW! Singers from the Denmark Opera House are falling into my lap … so I decided to present them. Gabriella Franco of the Mexican Cultural Institute, as always, kindly opened the doors to their hospitable auditorium. […]
June 8, 2010

My friend Lilya

“… An’  I am in Texas until the 13th, call me…what’s up?” It was a message from Lilya Zilberstein, who is currently teaching and performing at Texas Christian University International Piano Academy and Festival in Fort Worth. In 1984, I became a student of piano performance and pedagogy at the prestigious Gnessin’s State Musical College in Moscow, It was an exciting time to be there because we were among the best pianists in the country. All of us were trying to break into the larger performing arts world. We practiced 4-6 hours a day and, of course, partied like you would expect kids in our early twenties to do. A […]
May 25, 2010

The Puerto Rican Story

Developing a relationship with Latin America was a wish and one of the goals of the Musical Bridges Strategic Plan.  For many years I have been a great admirer of Latin music with its sophisticated rhythms and irresistible melodies. This music makes you dance no matter what your state of mind at the moment. Coming from Russia with a classical music academic background, I wasn’t familiar with the Puerto Rican culture, but in order to secure the highest quality of the performance, I needed to learn the culture and its historical and musical roots. Dr. Awilda Ramos–MBAW Board President and originally from Puerto Rico–flew with me to her […]
May 21, 2010

“Tales of the World” — Our 13th Season

I am extremely excited to introduce Tales of the World, our 13th season. This one will sweep San Antonio audiences away with both the variety of musical genres and their world-class artistic quality. As an Artistic Director I feel like a little girl in a candy store while creating a special treat for audiences. I traveled to artist showcases in New York and all the way to Puerto Rico in a quest to find the best musicians. We will be presenting a unique blend of cultures, literally from all parts of the globe, in a most unconventional and fun way. We […]