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Pushkin House Music Salon: In Search of Stravinsky’s Piano Teacher: Leokadiya Kashperova

“In Search of Stravinsky’s Piano Teacher: Leokadiya Kashperova”


Alexander Karpeyev, piano

& Dr Graham Griffiths, City University of London

Image by permission of the Russian National Museum of Music, Moscow.

Image by permission of the Russian National Museum of Music, Moscow.

In keeping with the activist/architect theme of Bloomsbury 2018 this innovative lecture-recital invites the audience to consider Igor Stravinsky as the activist and, surprising as it may seem, to consider his piano teacher Leokadiya Kashperova as the architect behind those famously enigmatic compositions for solo piano composed in the 1920s in Stravinsky’s most challenging, and beguiling, neoclassical style.



Since publishing Stravinsky’s Piano: Genesis of a Musical Language (Cambridge University Press, 2013) Graham Griffiths of City University of London has been searching tirelessly in Russian archives, bringing to light one of the most exciting ‘forgotten composers’ to be uncovered in recent years. Kashperova’s Symphony in B minor (1905) was featured to great acclaim in this year’s BBC Radio 3 / AHRC celebration for International Women’s Day; and Stravinsky himself paid rare tribute to her teaching in his Autobiography (1936). Even in Russia, as Griffiths discovered, her name and her music have been erased from history. In 2018 with the collaboration of Boosey & Hawkes (famously supportive of Russian composers including Rakhmaninov, Prokofiev and Stravinsky) many of Kashperova’s fine Romantic compositions are to be re-published, including two cello sonatas, choral works, her piano suite In the Midst of Nature, and her impressive Symphony. Griffiths’s lecture will include recorded excerpts from all of these works.

In Part 2, Pushkin house's music curator Russian pianist Alexander Karpeyev will present a recital consisting of Kashperova's 'In the midst of Nature' Suite and Stravinsky’s Three movements from Petrouchka.

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Recently featured as ‘One to watch’ in International Piano magazine, Alexander Karpeyev is a Russian pianist resident in the UK, who has performed throughout the UK and Europe and toured in the USA, Canada and Russia as a concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber music collaborator.

Karpeyev trained at the Moscow Conservatory with Vera Gornostayeva and Alexander Mndoyants and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama under Joan Havill. He is the winner of the Dudley International Piano Competition as well as the Norah Sande Award and the holder of a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. In 2014 he completed a performance practice doctoral degree at the City University, based on the Edna Iles Medtner Collection at the British Library. Karpeyev, himself, is often asked to give masterclasses and also lectures on Medtner’s performing practice.

Karpeyev is passionate about communicating his ideas on Romantic 19th  and early 20th-century piano repertoire, and in particular exploring the works of virtuoso pianist-composers. A Medtner specialist, he became deeply immersed in Medtner’s music and approach to music-making while working on his doctoral degree, and his contact with unique performing practice evidence informs his own playing.

As well as performing and speaking about music, Karpeyev is actively engaged in recording projects. The first, entitled ‘Russian Émigré Composers’ (Claudio Records, 2018), commemorates the centenary of the Russian Revolution and, in particular, highlights some of the achievements of the pianist composers who emigrated to Europe and the USA at that time. The second is of Medtner Songs, Opp. 36-7, 45-6, recorded with the Russian soprano Sofia Fomina (2019), offering the first complete version of Opp. 36 and 46, with Russian texts by Pushkin, Tyutchev and Fet, and German texts by Goethe, Eichendorff and Chamisso. His latest project is a recording of ‘Composers at the Savile Club‘ (2019). The recording celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the London club. Among those featured are Elgar, Parry, Stanford, Howells and Walton. In addition to works for solo piano, the recording includes trumpet fanfares by Savile Club recent and current members Sir Malcolm Arnold and Julian Anderson.

Karpeyev remains deeply grateful for the support of the Stiftung Lyra (Zürich), Guildhall School Trust, Martin Musical Scholarship Fund, Hattori Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, Craxton Memorial Trust, English Speaking Union, Fidelio Charitable Trust, Solti Foundation, Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust, Jaques Samuel Pianos, his family and numerous anonymous donors.