ANNA ZASSIMOVA

"Thoroughly exquisite!" - FAZ
“She plays Chopin as if it were dipped in blood… Zassimova’s name will soon be mentioned in the same breath as Cortot, Rosenthal, Friedman, Rubinstein and Arrau” – Fanfare

“Thoroughly exquisite” – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Her technical ability is stupendous” – Wolfgang Rihm

Anna Zassimova is a pianist of a kind rarely still found, the sort you’d imagine in the pages of a 19th century novel. Her playing bleeds with passionate intensity, all softness and fury, coupled with an unparalleled knowledge and sympathetic understanding of the works she plays. There’s nothing showy about it, though it’s riveting, and all the emotion – and my god there is plenty – is of the sort that can only be lived, and cannot be faked.

Zassimova is a product of – perhaps the last generation of – the Great Russian School founded by Heinrich Neuhaus: Bayerische Rundfunk were the first of many to compare her playing to that of Richter and Gilels. The comparison is an apt one.

She trained at the world-renowned Gnessin School in Moscow from age six. While studying her first degree (in piano, at Gnessin Academy, taught by Vladimir Tropp), she experienced the traumas of the collapse of the Soviet Union first hand and full-on, an experience she credits with causing her to “commit” to her art as the only stable point in what was, for her, a time of great instability. Her education, she explains, trained pianists’ hands and minds, almost from birth; it was at this time that piano became her soul. Personal circumstances led her to leave Russia for Germany during this period. She received a DAAD Fellowship to do so, and duly studied at the Karlsruhe Music University (under Michael Uhde und Markus Stange) where she now teaches.

“Bold and romantic, but also clear and precise” – Classical CD reviews, UK.

“The lines of her music have elegance but also clearly defined shape – declamations rather than sentimentality” (Klavier.de).

Over the course of the last decade, she has entranced audiences at a plethora of festivals and major concert halls, both with her solo recitals and her concerti. Her solo CD recordings, featuring Romantic and contemporary works, and released on Antes, have drawn unchecked praise from every quarter. These recordings have focussed on Chopin, her great ‘non-Russian’ love, Brahms and fin-de-siecle Russian composers. Vergessene Weisen (“Forgotten Ways”), her album of disappearing Romantic and modernist Russian music and ways of feeling, featuring Medtner, Catoire, Scriabin and Roslavets is widely considered her greatest recording. It’s sequel, Sonata Reminiscenza, is currently being mixed. She has also featured on chamber recordings of Tanejew and Catoire, released by cpo.

Zassimova is unusual among performers of her calibre for the breadth of her artistic education, and has taken additional degrees in musicology (where her monograph on Georgy Catoire is singularly responsible for renewed interest in the early 20th century composer) and history of art. She has worked with numerous galleries and events to create programmes pairing paintings and piano works, and entrancing audiences with her discourses on the former and performances of the latter. She is also herself an avid painter, with numerous collectors of her miniaturist images of the Russia she remembers,

But it is the piano, truly an extension of Zassimova’s soul, at which all these disparate passions, tempests and deep thoughts come together. And how they do! There are many great piano performers in our time. Zassimova is a true Artist.

Debut performance at Klavierfestival Ruhr, live on Deutschlandfunk

by Anna Zassimova

Zassimova x Karlsruhe Kunsthalle

Zassimova will continue her long-standing relationship with the Karlsruhe Kunsthalle, delivering a brief performance at the opening of the Cezanne / Metamorphosen exhibition on Thursday 27 October. She is also to curate 4 concerts tied to the exhibition, in collaboration with the Music University Karlsruhe, which will be performed at the gallery during the Winter season.

Zassimova special on Deutschland Funk

In a 2 hour special, Zassimova’s debut concert at Klavierfestival Ruhr was broadcast in full on Germany’s largest national radio station, accompanied by an interview.

Listen

Zassimova to debut at Ruhr Piano Music Festival

Zassimova makes her Ruhr Piano Festival debut on 21 May at Martinslift. After performing works by Chopin, Schumann and Medtner (featured on her forthcoming Sonata Reminiscenza), the second half of the programme will see her perform entirely South American compositions, in keeping with the Festival’s theme.

Booking is open and tickets are selling fast.
Event page and tickets

Zassimova premieres Rachmaninoff 2nd Concerto

Zassimova returns to the Heilbronn Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Peter Braschkat to perform Rachmaninoff’s Second Concerto. Following the premiere at the Russian Soul event in Heilbronn on 26 March, Zassimova and the orchestra have subsequent concerts at the Pasqua Musicale Arcense 45. Festival in Arco in Italy

Zassimova in studio, announces new title, “Sonata Reminiscenza”

The album is being recorded in the Franz Liszt concert hall at the Lisztzentrum in Raiding on a Steinway D-piano with Grammy nominated producer Robert Harder, and will be mixed by Toomas Vana (who also worked with Zassimova on Vergessene Weisen and Chopin). Entitled Sonata Reminiscenza, the album explores the works of Russian fin-de-siecle composers on the cusp between Romanticism and Modernism. The album features previously unrecorded works from George Catoire’s op. 6, as well as pieces by Nikolai Medtner (whose eponymous sonata provides the album title), Alexander Scriabin and others.

Full release news and track listing to follow.

Profile of Zassimova on SWR

Zassimova talks with journalist Georg Waßmuth about her background in Russia and experiences of living and performing in Germany. She discusses the influence of her studies in History of Art on her musical thinking and performance.

She performs works from Chopin, Catoire and Scriabin.
Listen

Forthcoming concerts

27 October 2017, 7pm

Karlsruhe, Germany

Exhibition opening: Cézanne / Metamorphosen

Claude Debussy: „Estampes“: Pagodes, La Soirée dans Grenade,  Jardins sous la pluie, Soir

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe.

http://www.cezanne-in-karlsruhe.de

7 November 2017, 7pm

Karlsruhe, Germany

Exhibition opening: “Rheinheimisch – Selected places of remembrance on the Upper Rhine”

Works of Robert Schumann and others

Badisches Landesbibliothek Karlsruhe

https://www.blb-karlsruhe.de/aktuelles/ausstellungen/naechste-ausstellungen/

8 November 2017

Karlsruhe, Germany

Musik, Emotionen und Cognitive Neuroscience

Discussion and concert with works from Grieg and Brahms

with Stefan Kölsch (Violin)
In Rahmen: KARLSRUHER MEISTERKLASSEN

Schloss Gottesaue, Velte-Saal

http://www.hfm-karlsruhe.de/hfm/01-veranstaltungen/konzerte/2017-18_ws/11.html

11 November 2017, 2:00pm
Villethierry, France
Studio Paulello

à l’occasion de l’ouverture du Studio Stephen Paulello

Works of Nikolaj Medtner and Georges Catoire

Contact and reservation contact@stephenpaulello.com

 

3 December 2017, 7:00pm Chamber music concert

Works of Ludwig van Beethoven, Arvo Pärt and others

With Frederike Pasquay (cello)

16 December 2017, 7:00pm

Baden-Baden, Germany

 

Palais Biron, Baden-Baden

Salon of the German-Russian Society, Baden-Baden

„Eine Winterreise“

Chamber music with art projections.

6 January 2018, 11am

Holzgerlingen, Germany

Holzgerlingen, Stadthalle

Frederic Chopin Piano concerto in E minor, Op. 11

with Camerata Europeana, Conductor: Radoslaw Szulc

14 January 2018, 11am

Warstein, Germany

Raum für Kultur Stadt Warstein

New Year’s Concert

Frederic Chopin Piano concerto in E minor, Op. 11

with Camerata Europeana, Conductor: Radoslaw Szulc
http://www.warstein.de/kontakt.html 

 

9 June 2018, 18.00

Katowice, Poland

THE COLOURS OF RUSSIA

musical series of Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice

Sergey Taneyev. Piano Quintet G-minor op. 30

http://www.nospr.org.pl/pl/koncerty/1068/kwartet-slaski-anna-zassimowa-kolory-rosji

5 August 2018

Gourdon, France

Festival de musique romantique de Salviac.

Salviac Church

Songs of Mussourgski, Schubert und Chopin.

With Mario Hacquard, Bariton

http://www.tourisme-lot.com/voir-faire/agenda-des-manifestations/festival-de-musique-romantique-858720

Recent concerts

July 11 2017, 8:00pm
Bourgogne, France
14th Festival of Chablis

Works from Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Catoire and Medtner

Grange de Beavais, Venous

June 14 2017, 5:00pm

Altdorf, Switzerland

Weltkassik-Klassik pur! – Altdorf

Konzertreihe “Weltklassik am Klavier ” WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Sonate Nr. 16 C-Dur K 545 Fantasie d-Moll K 397 Sonate Nr. 13 B-Dur K 333 JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Partita Nr. 6 e-Moll BWV 830

Theater Altdorf

May 21 2017, 6:00 pm
Moers, Germany
Klavierfestival Ruhr

Works from Chopin, Medtner, Schumann, Almeida Prado, Piazzolla and others.

Martinsstift

April 23 2017, 5:00 pm
Alpnachstad, Switzerland
Weltklassik

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Sonate Nr. 16 C-Dur K 545 Fantasie d-Moll K 397 Sonate Nr. 13 B-Dur K 333 JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Partita Nr. 6 e-Moll BWV 830

PIANO-Salon Bahnhofplatz

April 21 2017, 8:00 pm

Borne, Netherlands

Chamber concert

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonate for Violin and piano KV13, Johannes Brahms, Trio for Horn, Violin and piano Op. 40, Georges Catoire, Sonate-Poem for Violin and piano Op. 20.

With Boris Tsoukkerman, Violin, Waldo E. Fenker, Horn

Amstelkerk

 

April 20 2017, 8:00 pm

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Chamber concert

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonate for Violin and piano KV13, Johannes Brahms, Trio for Horn, Violin and piano Op. 40, Georges Catoire, Sonate-Poem for Violin and piano Op. 20.

With Boris Tsoukkerman, Violin, Waldo E. Fenker, Horn

Amstelkerk

 

April 15 2017, 4:00 pm

Arco, Italy

Pasqua Musicale Arcense 45. Festival
Sergej Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto no. 2, in C-minor, Op. 18with Heilbronner Sinfonie Orchester. Conductor: Peter Braschkat
April 13 2017, 4:00 pm

Arco, Italy

Pasqua Musicale Arcense 45. Festival
Sergej Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto no. 2, in C-minor, Op. 18with Heilbronner Sinfonie Orchester. Conductor: Peter Braschkat
April 1 2017, 8:00 pm

Le Waasmunster

Recital

Works of Frederic Chopin, Clause Debussy, Georges Catoire.

le Waasmunster

March 26 2017, 7:30 pm

Heilbronn

The Russian Soul

Alexander Glasunow – Konzertwalzer Nr. 1 D-Dur, op. 47

Sergei Rachmaninoff – Konzert fur Klavier und Orchester Nr. 2 c-Moll, op. 18

Peter Tschaikowski – Sinfonie Nr. 6 h-Moll, op. 74, “Pathetique”

Mit: Heilbronner Sinfonie Orchester. Leitung: Peter Braschkat

Heilbronner Harmonie

December 2 2016, 12:00 am

Berlin

Chamber Music

Works of Nikolai Roslawez, Johann Sebastian Bach, George CAtoire, Maurice Ravel, Nikolai Medtner. With Daniel Austrich, Violin.

Piano Salon Christophori

November 19 2016, 12:00 am

Singen

Masterpieces and Rarities

Works of PETER ILJITSCH TSCHAIKOWSKI (1840–1893), NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1879–1951), GEORGI CATOIRE (1861–1926) und MAURICE RAVEL (1875–1937) With DANIEL AUSTRICH, Violin

Walburgissaal Singen

November 5 2016, 7:00 pm

Baden-Baden

Music Salon of German-Russian culture society: MIR ISKUSSTWA – The World of Arts. Chamber music with images projection

Music of Nikolai Medtner, Georges Catoire, Alexander Skrjabin. Pictures of Konstantin Korovin, Isaak Levitan, Michail Nesterov, Nikolas Rörich, Victor Borisov-Musatov, Alexaner Benois, Michael Vrubel.With Daniel Austrich, Violine, Wilja Mosuraitis, Mezzosoprano. Idee, Konzeption, Klavier und Moderation: Anna ZassimovaIdea, Conception, presentation, Piano: Anna Zassimova

Palais Biron

October 28 2016, 7:30 pm

Couarde sur mer

Lieder Recital

Songs of Frederic Chopin, Franz Schubert und Modest Mussorgski. mit MARIO HACQUARD, Bariton

La Maline

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Catoire - Works for Voice and Piano

“Anna Zassimova has dedicated herself with passion and perseverance to this composer as a musicologist as well as a pianist. Her knowledge, art and love are audible. Yana Ivanilova, who has already recorded with Boris Berezovsky a beautiful record with songs by Nikolai Medtner, once again appears as master of the genre. Once again, this fine recording demonstrates the level of reflection and creative power Russian music reached just before the Communist revolution – at a rapid pace and extreme compression – and how closely it touches Western Europe.” – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Chopin - The Erard Recordings

“Chopin played on his favourite piano by a pianist who provides an empathy that is both convincing for the music of the composer and for the quality of the historical instrument.” – Bayerische Rundfunk

“The recording stands out from the multitude of comparable recordings due mainly to the nuanced contrasts of the pianist Anna Zassimova, who once again proves her excellence.” – Klavier.de

Vergessene Weisen (Forgotten Ways)

“Anna Zassimova is deeply enmeshed in the complex expressive worlds of these Russian piano works. The highly virtuosic, and at the same time expressive, performance of the native Moscovite is unmistakably from the Russian Piano School.” – Bayerische Rundfunk

“Anna Zassimova masterfully unfolds these miniatures in their brittle intimacy, with great understanding.” – FonoForum

Chopin - Late Works

“Every pianist plays Chopin at one time or the other as a rite of passage, but few have illuminated his sensibility as well as Richter, Lipatti, Rubinstein, Horowitz, Ashkenazy (especially in his earliest recordings) and most recently, Perahia and Kissin… Anna Zassimova is all about flow… a new force to be reckoned with. You’ll hear her gift instantly. She plays with a velvety, cushioned sound punctuated by crisp attacks in the main line, creating a dreamlike ambiance. ” – American Record Guide

 

Catoire - Works for Violin and Piano

“They do not just touch Catoire’s music with their fingertips, but also solve the works’ many expressive demands. It is a great posthumous fortune for the composer that he has found such a convincing advocate as Zassimova. Her comprehensive playing elicits the full range of fragile, delicate, stormy and pressing moods from the piano.” – Klassik.com

Tanejew - Piano Chamber Music

“Zassimova and her colleagues give as good a performance as you could wish, bold and Romantic, but also clear and precise. By a whisker then, this recording gets the top recommendation, even if Pletnev is relegated to second place with much reluctance. If you don’t countenance even the suspicion of Romantic excess, buy the Pletnev in preference to this. But whatever you do, buy at least one of them.” – Classical CD (UK)

Zassimova continues her project of repopularising lesser known Russian romantics with this superbly textured recording of Tanejew’s Quintet.

Brahms - Declaration of Love

“A deeply intelligent interpretation vacillating between vicious passions and intimate contemplation.” – Das Ensemble magazine

“Zassimova’s seamless phrasing and delicate, yet substantive touch to the “golden” tone of the period Beckstein piano, is distinctive.” – The Clarinet

Chopin - Mélodies polonaises op. 74

“Irresistable!” – L’Education Musicale

“Anna Zassimova, a passionate pianist of Chopin, has a touch that is capable of elucidating all the pleasure to be found in these melodies, and shows a flexibility of play indispensable to their interpretation… played with virtuoso content, the piano Érard, an instrument pampered by the composer himself, takes the place of a true confidant, to reveal the happiest feelings as to deliver the darkest emotions.” – Res Musica

Anna Zassimova’s academic work, beginning in 2000, and growing to her Doctorate, has been focussed on the popularisation and study of the Franco-Russian fin-de-siecle composer Georgy Catoire (Moscow 27 April 1861 – 21 May 1926).

Working with archives and libraries in Moscow and Berlin, and with the assistance of Catoire’s heirs in Germany, Russia and France, she wrote the first comprehensive, systematised analysis of the composer and his life. This book Georges Catoire – seine Musik, sein Leben, seine Ausstrahlung (Studia slavica musicologica, 49. Ernst Kuhn, Berlin, 2011) has been referenced extensively in journals including SEER at Oxford University, Music & Letters UK, Die Tonkunst, das Orchester, Neue Musik Zeitung and many others.  She has also published texts on Catoire in German Tchaikovsky Society (2006) and editorials for Moscow State Pedagogical University (2001 and 2002). 

Zassimova has worked with Catoire’s heirs to create recordings of all of the composer’s piano works (including many hitherto unperformed). Notably, she initiated and performed in the only existing recording of Catoire’s vocal works, “Poems for Voice and Piano” (with soprano Yana Ivanilova). Zassimova also recorded all Catoire’s works for Violine and piano with Laurent Breuninger (cpo/SWR).

Catoire works appear on three of her album recordings (among them the first existing record of the piano poem op 34 C-Dur), and it has been observed that, “it is a great posthumous fortune for the composer that he has found such a convincing advocate as Zassimova.” (Klassik.com)

Further solo piano works of Catoire will appear on her forthcoming album Sonata Reminiscenza.

 

 

Contact

 

For bookings, interview requests or general queries, please use the contact form or email info@annazassimova.com

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