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9. November 2018 Nikita Stěpaněnko

A pianist’s diary: Chapter 4

I just finished performing in two concerts this week in the middle of November. One was with the Chamber choir and the other was with the Lab Choir. Both are ensembles of the Manhattan School of Music. The only two differences between these two ensembles is that a) the Chamber chorus is conducted by Dr.R.Olliver who is a mentor of all the conducting students, while the Lab Chorus is conducted by doctoral degree students who study choral conducting at the MSM, b) the members of Lab Chorus are getting paid, which is quite not bad. Both performances featured a wide repertoire from the Renaissance period up to the 21th century.

Tomorrow, I am going to the Carnegie Hall to hear a piano recital. The performer is Maestro Denis Matsuev, one of the most famous living Russian virtuosos. Last week, I can proudly announce that I played in a piano masterclass to another very famous pianist, Kirill Gerstein, who frequently performs all around the world and I have heard about him long before I applied to study in the USA. Maestro Gerstein frequently performs in Prague and he graduated from the Manhattan School of Music. I played the Prelude and Fugue in E flat major from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 by J.S.Bach to him and it was a fantastic experience because our approaches to music were very different, however I was able to immediately react and to try an alternative way of interpreting the music by Bach.

Earlier, in September, I was courageous enough to organize my own piano recital that I split with my girlfriend, who is also a pianist. In September, almost no student is ready to perform such a concert. We played our solo pieces and we finished our performance with a piece by Claude Debussy, called Le Petite Suite. This piece was written for 4 hands and it was a lovely encore (although it was written in the program; encores are supposed to be surprise pieces after the end of performance).

Generally, I have to admit that right now I am even happier than I was during the previous two academic years, because of a rapid and fruitful progress in my craft which is a classical piano performance. Each day, I am getting closer and closer to becoming a concert pianist. Here, in NYC, I am constantly in a practicing regime and I also focus on planning repertoire on the upcoming competitions in the nearby years around the world.

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