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Katya Grineva “the romantic pianist”

By April Thibeault

Katya GrinevaWhen the teenage Russian pianist, Katya Grineva, came to New York in 1989, she had two goals: to study in America, and one day, to play in Carnegie Hall. She made her Carnegie Hall debut on May 13, 1998 and has performed there every year since then. Living most of her adult life in New York, she has acquired a reputation as a pianist of exceptional romantic/poetic expression. Commentators agree that Katya achieves her impact through subtlety and values the beauty of tone. The New York Times describes her as “liquid…dreamlike”. WNYC Radio says “…she’s a noted exponent of the Romantic repertoire…” Her interpretation and mastery of the piano can be summed up by one of her fans: “with Katya you sink into the sweet abyss of the music…”

Katya will make her 8th appearance at Carnegie Hall June 1, 2006. With the support of The Tyberg Musical Legacy Fund at The Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, this momentous evening will feature the New York City premiere of romantic Viennese composer and Holocaust victim Marcel Tyberg and his Sonata No.1, in three full-voiced movements: Allegro appassionato, Larghetto, and Rondo. Katya has been given exclusivity to perform and record the world premieres of Tyberg’s piano sonatas which have been lost for the past 60 years.

Katya’s father, a well known cancer research scientist in Russia, introduced his daughter’s talents to a colleague, Dr. Mihich, of Albany, New York. Dr. Mihich so was mesmerized by Katya that he decided to present her with the exclusivity rights to perform Marcel Tyberg’s music. Dr. Mihich had been holding onto Tyberg’s “lost” music for years. So, with Katya’s help and passion, and New York City networking opportunities, she will bring Tyberg’s music to the forefront.

These premiere performances reflect a poignant saga. Since 1944, when Tyberg was seized by the Nazis and deported onto a train en route to Germany, his music has never been heard until now. In March 2006, Katya performed the world premiere of Tyberg’s Sonata No.1and Sonata No. 2 in Buffalo, New York. “Tyberg’s music is a natural fit for me; his sonatas reveal a sensitivity to the Romantic era. It’s an honor to have this opportunity to bring his music to Westerners’ ears,” says Katya. The Tyberg Musical Legacy Fund, a non-profit dedicated to bringing the composer’s legacy into the public arena, applauds Katya’s romantic expression and is thrilled to have selected someone “who above all values the beauty of tone.”

For more information about Katya Grineva or to purchase tickets for her upcoming Carnegie Hall performance, visit www.katyagrineva.com

We recently sat down with Katya to learn more about her success, her life in the states, and her love for the piano.

1. What makes you happy? What makes me happy is the process of creation..creating a new concert, learning a new peace of music, challenging myself to a new level..and then giving a concert and inspiring people.

2. What is your most prized possession? My most prized possession is my talent and love for music.

3. Who is your role model? My role models are people who do extraordinary things with their lives and who have a great gift of giving. As for great pianists my role model is Vladimir Horowitz. I went to his concert in Moscow when I was a kid and then I met him the week I arrived to America.

4. How did the opportunity arise for you to premiere Marcel Tyberg’s music? My father was a cancer research scientist and he worked in Buffalo, NY for a month. The director of the institute, Dr. Mihich, came to Moscow for a visit and came to our home for dinner. I was 15 years old and I played for him. So, many years later, he has gaven me the score of the Sonatas by Marcel Tyberg and asked me to perform and record them.

5. Based on your experience, what role does music play in Russia? How is it different from America? When I was growing up, music and art were very important parts of people's lives in Russia. Most children took piano lessons. In our family it was absolutely essential to go to concerts and art exhibitions. I find that music and art do not play a huge role in American’s lives.

6. I can see that the piano could be a cultural signifier, how do you maintain your Russian upbringing while touring and performing worldwide? Russia is very deep and so my teacher in Russian focused mainly on passion and being expressive. I think the fact that I wear my emotions on my sleeve and play from the heart wherever I’m performing, I’m actually sharing a little piece of Russia with everyone.

7. What made you turn to the piano? My neighbor’s took their kids to a music school, and I just followed them to class and was accepted! It really wasn’t by choice… it just happened.

8. How has living and studying in NYC redefined sound/music/rhythm for you? There are more distractions and opportunities in New York City, that I initially found it hard to find time to practice. I try to stay in a Russian state of mind; I had a Russian teacher here, and I have a few Russian friends which helps.

9. If you can you define what a Katya Grineva musical experience is or might be what does it include? It includes passion and love.

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