Two accomplished pianists who have both had top-notch training in Russia, will perform music by Russian Masters on one piano at the McMillan Arts Centre this Sunday.
“It’s a very special concert for me and for the Island,” said Vancouver Island Opera’s artistic director Tatiana Vasilieva. “I’m so glad they could make it.”
One of the pianists playing at VIO’s Recital Series this Sunday, April 21 is Vasilieva’s son Nikolai Maloff and the other, Sergei Saratovsky.
Maloff has won a number of major piano competitions around the world and also performed to resounding acclaim as recitalist, chamber musician, and collaborative musician. He holds a doctoral degree in musical arts from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and runs a successful private studio in Vancouver as well as teaches at the School of Music at UBC.
Maloff started playing the piano at age 5 or 6 and said he recalls always liking to practise.
“It was never something my parents needed to even remind me to do,” said Maloff. “I just liked it and found it challenging and satisfying.”
Vasilieva said he won competitions everywhere he went growing up and was always exceptional in music as well as in all his studies in school. Upon graduation he had to choose between a full scholarship in music or mathematics.
He chose to study music in Russia, as he was already fluent in the language from speaking it at home, and studied there for seven years with a very distinguished teacher, completing his Masters degree from the Moscow State Conservatory.
He returned to Toronto following his time in Russia and then made the move to Vancouver to complete his doctorate studies. It was there he met his supervisor Jane Coop and fellow doctorate student Sergei Saratovsky.
Saratovsky is a Russian-Canadian pianist who has had great achievements both abroad and at home. He received an award from Russian President Vladimir Putin, recognizing his achievements in music, and also performed in the presence of previous Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean.
Saratovsky took first place at the Porto International Piano Competition in Portugal in 1999 and in 2008 received the award for Best Canadian Artist at the Montreal International Musical Competition, including many awards in between.
Maloff, Saratovsky and long-time faculty member of UBC Coop, came up with a Russian recital to perform together at The Cellar Jazz club in Vancouver recently. Coop just retired from UBC after teaching there for 32 years. Vasilieva said when she heard about the recital she asked her son if he could recreate it in Parksville.
“I’m always trying to find something special for Vancouver Island,” she said.
The recital starts at 3 p.m. on April 21 and admission is $15 at the door, including refreshments.
For more information visit www.vancouverislandopera.com.