Xenia PESTOVA


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REVIEWS OF "SHADOW PIANO" (read more on the Innova site):

Les interprétations, tout en finesse, démontrent la fantastique maîtrise que possède Xenia Pestova de son instrument, et son indéniable affinité avec les œuvres mixtes. Son grand talent est bien soutenu par ces compositeurs inspirés qui collent à son jeu. Il s’agit sans conteste d’un disque à cataloguer comme nouvelle référence de répertoire pour piano et électronique, et à garder près du lecteur pour le bonheur de le réentendre!
- Cléo Palacio-Quintin, Circuit 24:3
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Xenia Pestova has the sense of adventure, sensitivity to the techniques and stylistic particularities of high modernism and the poetic soul to bring this music to fruition in the best ways, and she does. What's remarkable about the program is how the individualities of each composer and her/his works have common ground so that the entire program flows together as one unified statement. The electronics and attention to the toy piano in addition to a grand piano extend the sonority and color to an almost chamber orchestral mass and distinctness at times... Highly recommended.
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, March 2014
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Pestova plays this music with natural flair and understanding... A wonderful disc, expertly produced and performed.
- Colin Clarke, Fanfare, March / April 2014

...a first-rate contemporary pianist... one wonders if it is her intimate familiarity with the material, or the composers writing for her strengths - or a mixture of both - that give these performances such a convincing mien...
- Art Lange, Fanfare, March / April 2014

Throughout the recording, Pestova impresses as a model of poise and technical control, with a subtle sense of self-contextualization within the electronic media. The disc does not offer a solo piano with electronics accompaniment nor the opposite. Rather, both performing forces are well integrated, constantly taking the listener along the border between familiar and unfamiliar sonorities. Shadow Piano is about illusion, about reinventing the keyboard, about letting go and being taken over by a new world of sounds, but more than anything, it is about saying something new.
- Jorge Variego, Fanfare, March / April 2014
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[A] terrific album of dark, probing music ... [J]agged, glassy toy-piano flurries are awash in nightmarish refractions of synthesized and sampled sonic abstractions. Hold tight.
- Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, January 2014
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Xenia Pestova's a concert pianist with a difference, an uncompromising artist resolutely committed to bringing the music of living composers to life and who enthusiastically embraces the potential new technologies offer to her particular realm of activity... Throughout the recording, Pestova impresses as a model of poise and control in never being derailed by the activity happening around her... a thoroughly credible collection for those whose taste runs to contemporary piano-based composition.
- Textura, January 2014
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[The pieces] enable [Pestova] to hold the piano as unpredictable field of mystery, transformations, confusions, moods, research, secrets and atmospheric twists. … This debut has confirmed that she is indeed one of the leading performers of contemporary nonconformist music.
- Zdenek Slaby, HisVoice 6/2013
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REVIEWS OF JOHN CAGE VOLUME 1:

Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer do a bang-up job, with playing whose rhythmical acuity is very exciting...
- Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare, March / April 2014

The new Naxos edition with works for two keyboards by John Cage starts with a ravishing program, ranging from oriental percussion sounds to the amusing music with toy pianos. The major characteristic is that, beyond fabulous rhythmics, both of the pianists achieve in giving a soul to this very special music.
- Pizzicato, February 2014
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Dynamic energy but also crystalline precision… brilliant playing
- Bernard Clare, RTE Nova, January 2014 (on Xenia's recording of John Cage's Suite for Toy Piano)

This is a valuable contribution to the work of the great maverick, John Cage... The irony of 'A book of music' (1944) for two prepared pianos is brought very much to the fore by these two artists... A very fine performance indeed. The 'Suite for toy piano' (1948) is given the performance it deserves... Roll on volume two!!
- Robert D. Roy, Don't be afraid to try this. It won't bite…, December 2013
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REVIEWS OF JOHN CAGE VOLUME 2:

Xenia Pestova, reigning queen of the toy piano, reunites with Pascal Meyer on this superb second survey of John Cage’s two-keyboard music. In my review I remarked how their performance of Music for Amplified Toy Pianos “is as fascinating as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious, their navigation through Cage’s indeterminate score resulting in a mercurial kind of halting hocket between the toy pianos & an array of bizarre sounds.” The prepared piano music is no less striking (and more gamelan-like than ever), testifying to the continual freshness and unpredictability of Cage’s music.
- Simon Cummings, Best Albums of 2014

I cannot imagine finer performances of Cage’s works for Two Keyboards than these from the Pestova/Meyer Piano Duo on a new release from Naxos... These are masterly performances of this demanding music.
- Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer, May 2014
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Pestova/Meyer do the music perfect justice, creating a magical aura that on repeated listens has a very evocative vibe about it... These are some of the most inspired performances I've heard of Cage for piano. Pestova/Meyer triumph! Do not hesitate. If you don't know Cage well this is an ideal volume to begin explorations. If you are a confirmed Cage adept this is an affirmation. Spellbinding!
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2014
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Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer perform these works with amazing precision and obvious relish... Those pieces (and the Pestova/Meyer Piano Duo’s performance) rock.
- Ralph Graves, May 2014
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...Fascinating... The duo’s playing through this extremely virtuosic material is simply outstanding, particularly so as it becomes both tribalistic & covered in embellishments at the end... marvellously transparent..., enabling one to enter the strange theatre of Cage’s imagining & form our own convoluted narrative. A fantastic disc, revealing anew the timeless kind of modernity that’s so unique to Cage.
- 5:4, 29 April 2014
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REVIEWS OF JOHN CAGE VOLUME 3:

...the duo gives us some very fine, acutely attuned realizations of key works... Highly recommended
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, August 2014
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REVIEWS OF STOCKHAUSEN "MANTRA":

...abstract and warm… Xenia Pestova in great form… a brilliant recording
- Bernard Clarke, RTE Nova, 2013

Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer deliver technically excellent, musically rewarding, and committed performances
- Fanfare, November 2011

This is a highly accomplished presentation of one of the landmark pieces in the second half of the 20th century.
- Andrew Clements, The Guardian, September 2010


MORE:

The Book of Sounds: Interview with Xenia Pestova, Musica Elettronica, March 2016

This was a rare and outstanding performance of Stockhausen’s iconic Mantra (1970) by a brilliant creative team comprising pianists Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer, with live electronics realised digitally for a new, post-analogue age by Stockhausen’s erstwhile colleague and sound-engineer, Jan Panis.
- Stephanie Power, Bangor New Music Festival and INTER/actions Festival and Symposium, 2014, Tempo, July 2014
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Xenia's performance on toy piano & electronics was full of grace and intention. She brought the little plastic keys to life with a range of emotion one might not expect from a 'toy' piano.
- Natanielle Felicitas, Cluster 2014: a Very Late Review, May 2014
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…instrumental virtuosity, intensity of concentration and sheer physical stamina… Pestova and Meyer’s performance radiated excitement, a taut dramatic sense and good humour in equal measure. Their understanding of the score has clearly deepened over years of performing and recording it together, and they held the audience spellbound from start to finish in one of my concert highlights of 2014 so far… stunning…
- Stephanie Power, Stockhausen's Mantra: Bangor New Music Festival - INTER/actions, Wales Arts Review, March 2014
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Interview for Toy Piano World, March 2014:
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Interview / short promotional video with Shawn Mativetsky for Innovations en concert, Montreal, February 2014:
Watch

There is no such thing as a Pestova overload
- Thomas Deneuville, founding director of I Care If You Listen, November 2013

...beautiful, funny, and plays the piano pretty damn good as well
- Ed Bennett, composer, artistic director of Decibel ensemble, October 2013

Janice Kelsh interviews Xenia Pestova for the Miniature Piano Enthusiast Club, April 2013:
Read the abridged interview

One of the best pieces of the afternoon... a deep, resonating sound...
- Chamberfest Day 10: new music and a celebration
The Ottawa Citizen, August 2011
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...a mesmerising trip... remarkably sensuous
- William Dart, Album Reviews: Music to lift the heart of Christmas
The New Zealand Herald, December 2010
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...this is a highly accomplished presentation of one of the landmark pieces in the second half of the 20th century.
- Andrew Clements, Stockhausen: MANTRA CD Review, The Guardian, September 2010
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…an intriguing multimedia performance…
- Notations (Canadian Music Centre, Ontario), Winter 2010

Pestova/Meyer piano duo's performance of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring":
Their two-piano version provided more resonance and weight than the composer’s own arrangement for one-piano-four-hands, edging just a little closer to the power of the orchestra. At times Pestova and Meyer evoked familiar instrumental timbres (the opening bassoon, the dialogues of muted trumpets): at others they created something fresh and new...

Pestova/Meyer piano duo's New Zealand premiere performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "MANTRA":
Pestova and Meyer’s intimate engagement with the piece enabled them to highlight episodes of lush romanticism and snatches of melody... an epic marathon demanding concentration, commitment and stamina... plus exquisite coordination... a tour de force...
- Alan Wells, "Contemporary Rites - Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer," Middle C, July 2009
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Radio New Zealand Upbeat interview with Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer, July 2009:
Listen

Xenia's focussed and sensitive playing, the close and friendly attention she paid to the pieces and their composers, and the supportive atmosphere created with the electronics team, were ideal.
- Composers of Wales Newsletter, April 2009


Peter Shea interviews Xenia Pestova on Digital Musical Instruments, rats in pianos and other matters during the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts in Minneapolis, February 2009:
Listen/watch


Avec une technique impeccable, en parfaite empathie stylistique, les deux pianistes [Xenia Pestova et Pascal Meyer] nous ont submergés de sons tantôt d'un martellato-fortissimo étourdissant, tantôt d'une douceur pleine d'imagination.
- Paul Moes, "Prouesses orchestrales et pianistiques aux Rainy Days," November 2008


Download a review of Dialoge (concerto for two pianos and large orchestra) by Bernd Alois Zimmermann with Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer (piano), Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Arturo Tamayo during the Rainy Days Festival, Luxemburger Wort, November 2008


Read an interview with Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer by Rémy Franck in the Pizzicato magazine, November 2008
Download: page 1, page 2


Magnifiques de clarté et d'intelligence, Pascal Meyer et Xenia Pestova entremêlent leurs touchers et leurs tempéraments avec une rare cohésion. Surtout, pendant ces septante minutes de transe, ils impressionnent d'endurance, avec une concentration intacte tout au long de ce "Mantra".
- Jonas Pulver, Le Temps, Geneva, April 2008
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Brillant hommage à Stockhausen: Les pianistes Pascal Meyer et Xenia Pestova créent un MANTRA dynamique... les brillants pianistes...
- Isabelle Trub, Luxemburger Wort, 26 January 2008
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Äußerst sensibel und dennoch deutlich... Das perfekt aufeinander eingespielte Klavierduo... Pascal Meyer und Xenia Pestova an zwei Klavieren und der Toningenieur Jan Panis blieben dem Großwerk Mantra von 1970 nichts an Sensibilität, Klarheit, musikalischer Intelligenz, Einfühlungsvermögen, Deutlichkeit und auch Dezenz schuldig. Das Genie des Komponisten und die Kompetenz der Interpreten griffen ineinander und hoben diesen Abend im voll besetzten Experimentalstudio der Luxemburger Philharmonie in den Rang einer einzigartigen Begegnung mit einer einzigartigen Musik.
- Martin Moller, Triersche Volksfreund, 28 January 2008
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...Indem Xenia Pestova und Pascal Meyer der Seriellen Musik lyrische Momente und Schönheit zugestanden, wurde nicht nur der meditative Charakter hervorragend herausgeschält, auch der Geist Bachs und sogar Beethovens schwang in dieser Musik mit...
- Alain Steffen, Tageblatt, 28 January 2008
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Xenia's performances with the United Instruments of Lucilin:
Read a review of "Portrait Magnus Lindberg" in Festival Arena Riga, Luxemburger Wort 25 October 2007
Read a review of "Carte Blanche Ichiro Nodaira" in Salzburg, Pizzicato September 2007


Aérienne et dotée d'un toucher d'une exceptionnelle finesse, Xénia Pestova a régalé le public de la salle de l'Institut d'un récital mémorable... une liberté d'expression exceptionnelle... fluide et naturelle... sensibilité personnelle et son toucher d'une très grande finesse.
- La Republique, France, 7 March 2006
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...a new star in the heavens... colour, depth of tone and every nuance of every delicate shade evident in her playing of music by French masters Messiaen and Ravel... More stunning effects still appeared in Ravel's Mirrors... With stunning left hand arpeggios matched against intensely rhythmic right hand patterns, Pestova coaxed piano sounds and colours never dreamed of by dear old Mozart and Beethoven. It was wonderous playing that had me, and others, wanting to applaud each movement... If you didn't enjoy this playing, go and see your doctor.
- Harry Brown: "Xenia's performance a gift of virtuoso piano-playing" Taranaki Daily News, 5 August 2005
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...a flair for emotive playing underscored by technical virtuosity...
- Music Matters, June-July 2005


This young musician has an exceptional talent. Her aptitude, her pianistic qualities and her musicality are outstanding...
- Louise Bessette, pianist, Montreal 2004


...Xenia Pestova est une jeune pianiste de talent, tres ÉRUDITE en musique contemporaine...
- Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, pianist, Paris 2003
Read a personal inscription from Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, dated July 2002


...de panterachtige pianiste... prachtige timing (the panther-like pianist... superb timing)
- NHD, Amsterdam, 20 January 2003


...high pianistic level, great musical insight and a pronounced interest for uncommon repertoire
- Hakon Austbo, pianist, Amsterdam 2003

With her rare combination of gifts Xenia is a musician for whom I have the greatest respect... A fine balance of intellect and emotion in her playing... Technical command and commitment.
- Philip Mead, pianist, London 2001


One of New Zealand's most promising young pianists
- Capital Times, 20-26 September 2000, Wellington


Xenia Pestova charted an engrossing odyssey through Beethoven's opus 111...
- Alan Wells, The New Zealand Listener "Best of 2000" list


...scintillating piano playing...
- John Rimmer, composer, Auckland, August 2000


Xenia has a very strong character and a musical quality of deep perception and understanding. She has a strong affinity for contemporary music and has given some electrifying first performances of many challenging works. Her ability to learn exceptionally quickly difficult solo work for piano, chamber music and accompanying was outstanding and received much deserved praise.
- Judith Clark, pianist and pedagogue, Wellington 2000


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