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All-French piano offering from Pharos

The Pharos Arts Foundation, with the kind support of The Keyboard Charitable Trust in London, will be presenting a recital with the talented Russian pianist Galina Chistiakova on Friday.
Christiakova, who is a prizewinner in more than 30 international Competitions – including the Moscow International Chopin Competition for Young Pianists, the International Piano Competition in Memory of Emil Gilels, and the Scriabin International Piano Competition in Moscow – will be performing an all-French programme of works by Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc, Erik Satie and Maurice Ravel.

As a gifted performer as well as a composer, Poulenc questioned his own ability to compose with his mind rather than his hands. “Many of my pieces have failed,” said the composer, “because I know too well how to write for the piano … as soon as I begin writing piano accompaniments for my songs, I begin to be innovative. Similarly, my piano writing with orchestra or chamber ensemble is of a different order. It is the solo piano that somehow escapes me. With it I am a victim of false pretences.” And while he had rather harsh opinions of some of his own works, his set of fifteen Improvisations (which Chistiakova will perform) composed between 1932-1959 still met with his approval as the composer looked back on them later in life.

“When you don’t have any money to go on holiday, you must make do by using your imagination,” Debussy wrote, and the first two pieces in his triptych Estampes to be performed on Friday together with the third piece, constitute an exotic travelog while the third piece is stay-at-home, watching-the-rain music. Estampes means print or engraving, and these three pieces are musical depictions of particular moments at particular locales. They also represent an interior journey of sorts, a newly personal idiom for Debussy, who became seemingly unconcerned with the conventions and expectations of the salon and the concert hall.

Christiakova will also perform the piece entitled Gnossiennes by Satie. The piece has baffled interpreters for years. Some believe it is a reference to a Gnostic doctrine, others see it as a suggestion of the ancient palace of Knossos and the stately Cretan figures endlessly circling the dark pottery there. Whatever purpose the title serves, it is without a doubt that the Rumanian music at the Universal Exposition of Paris of 1889 greatly influenced the life of these works. The Gnossiennes stand out from Satie’s other compositions in three fundamental ways: they are considered to be one of two priceless testimonies from his youth; they are the first compositions in modern musical history written in bar-less notation; and they are the first of his works to contain his famous witty instructions and indications

Chistiakova was born in Moscow into a musical family. She started her piano studies at three years old with her mother Liubov Chistiakova and professor Helena Khoven.

From 1993 to 2005 she studied at The Central Music School of the Moscow Conservatory P. Tchaikovsky with Professors Helena Khoven and Anatoly Ryabov. In 2014, Galina graduated with a postgraduate diploma from the Moscow Conservatory, where she studied under of Professor Mikhail Voskresensky.

Since 2000, Chistiakova has been appearing as a recitalist and as a soloist with important orchestras all over the world, and she has also been adjudicating a number of youth and international piano competitions. She is currently furthering her studies with Professor Boris Petrushansky at the International Piano Academy “Incontri col Maestro” in Imola.

Galina Christiakova
The Pharos Arts Foundation presents a piano recital by the Russian pianist. February 26. The Shoe Factory, Nicosia. 8.30pm. €15/10. Tel: 22-663871


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