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.

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 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 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

Klavierfestival Ruhr

21. Mai 2017, 18:00 Uhr
Werke von Chopin, Medtner, Schumann, Almeida Prado, Piazzolla u.a.

Tickets (returns only)

Martinsstift
Filderstr. 126

Moers
Deutschland

 

 

Weltkassik-Klassik pur! - Altdorf

14. Juni 2017, 17:00 Uhr
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
Theater (Uri) Schützengasse 11, CH-6460 Altdorf

6460 Altdorf
Schweiz

 

14th Festival of Chablis

11. July 2017, 20.00
14th Festival du Chablisen
Works from Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Catoire and Medtner
Grange de Beavais, Venous (Bourgogne, France)

Festival website

Pasqua Musicale Arcense 45. Festival

April 13 2017, 4:00 pm
Sergej Rachmaninoff, 2. Klavierkonzert c-moll Op. 18
Mit: Heilbronner Sinfonie Orchester. Leitung: Peter Braschkat

Casino di Arco

Pasqua Musicale Arcense 45. Festival

April 15 2017, 10:00 am
Sergej Rachmaninoff, 2. Klavierkonzert c-moll Op. 18
Mit: Heilbronner Sinfonie Orchester. Leitung: Peter Braschkat

Casino di Arco

Weltklassik – Klassik pur! - Alpnachstad Switzerland

April 23 2017, 5:00 pm
(Deutsch) 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
PIANO-Salon Bahnhofplatz, Majorenhaus,
6053 Alpnachstad
Switzerland

 

 

Amsterdam - Chamber concert

April 20 2017, 8:00 pm
Chamber music 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, Viloin, Waldo E. Fenker, Horn
Amstelkerk

Chamber concert - Born

April 21 2017, 8:00 pm
Abraham ten Catestraat 9
Born
Netherlands

Recent concerts

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

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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