Tallahassee Journal

Nina Kotova: Artist on the Move

Nina Kotova: Artist on the Move

Nina Kotova is a busy artist.

With Ms. Kotova’s new album of Russian music set for release this week on Warner Classics, I took some time to listen to the new CD and to speak with the peripatetic and talented cellist about the release,  her career and some of the new and different projects she is working on. 

First of all, upon listening to the CD, one is immediately struck by the balance of beauty and power that Ms. Kotova is able to strike.  Kotova has the ability to do virtually anything from a technical point of view on the cello: the sound she is able to produce is immense and her digital prowess is unassailable. What is fascinating however is how she balances those skills with her ability to bring out the poetic in her native Russian music.  The term is often overused, but if there were ever an interpretation of the classics of the Russian cello repertoire that could serve as a reflection of “the Russian soul”, this onewould definitely be in the running.

The CD is made up of two of the great cello works of the 20th century,  the sonatas of Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev. The Rachmaninoff Sonata for Cello & Piano is one of the greatest masterworks ever written forcello. It is immense in structure and form and requires an almost orchestral approach to the score by the soloist. The piano part is a daunting one and Fabio Bidini delivers with his characteristic technical prowessand collaborative chamber music skills.  One can vividly imagine the vast landscape and plaintive beauty of Russiaof the score in the hands of Kotova.

The Prokofiev Sonata for Cello and Piano is an optimistic work.  It also has many of the hallmark qualities ofProkofiev’s humor, wit and sarcasm.  Being undeniably Russian, Kotova clearly understands the subtleties ofthe score and how to balance Prokofiev’s paradoxical style. Many interpreters today fail to understand thecombination of humor and sarcasm in Prokofiev’s work. Many take it as an exercise in athletic modernism,but it takes an artist like Kotova born in the Soviet Union to understand the complexities of the emotionsand influence involved.  

The CD is rounded out by two classic Tchaikovsky works,  the “Meditation” and “Romance”,  which demonstrate Kotova’s solid schooling in the classic Romanticism of the 19th century.  They are delightful as played by Kotova.

Aside from the release of her new CD, Kotova has been busy with her normal concert schedule.  Next month, she is collaborating again with Helene Grimaud, the eminent French pianist,  in a recital program in Palm Springs.  She will also be touring this year again in Asia and in South America.

Unlike many classical musicians,  Nina Kotova has always pushed the boundaries by exploring new and differentcollaborations. Over the years, she has collaborated with Sting, Jeremy Irons, Bobby McFerrin and many others. This past fall, Kotova collaborated with John Malkovich on a tour combining music and the spoken word in a fascinating collaboration that was hailed by critics and the public alike.  Her collaboration with John Malkovich willextend into 2017 with additional dates and an expanded program. 

Kotova has always been a successful and active composer. 2017 will bring her however into a new genre, composingfor film. She is collaborating with legendary producer Yoram Globus and his new production company Rebel Way towrite two film scores. Kotova is excited to be setting her music to moving images for the first time in her career. 

Always imaginative, curious and forward-thinking, Nina Kotova is the prototype of an artist that respects traditionbut also understands that the creative process must be ever evolving one that challenges the status quo.  It is refreshing today to see an artist that values artistic substance and eschews jumping on the bandwagon of the latest fad.  That is clear from her work on her new Russian album for Warner Classics, which should have a place on anyone’s playlist.


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Company Name: Nina Kotova
Contact Person: Nina Kotova
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Country: Russian Federation
Website: http://www.ninakotova.com/