Russian concert pianist Sofia Vasheruk (b. 14th of May in 1988) plays Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23. Young Pianist Festival in Amsterdam, 24 November 2013. Noord Nederlands Orkest (NNO; English, North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra) conducted by Stefan Asbury.
The concerto is composed between November 1874 and February 1875. It was revised in the summer of 1879 and again in December 1888. The first version received heavy criticism from Nikolai Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky’s desired pianist, who considered the concerto was unplayable. Rubinstein later repudiated his previous accusations and became a fervent champion of the work. It is one of the most popular of Tchaikovsky’s compositions and among the best known of all piano concertos.
The work is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in B-flat, two bassoons, four horns in F, two trumpets in F, three trombones (two tenor, one bass), timpani, solo piano, and strings.
The concerto follows the traditional form of three movements:
- Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso – Allegro con spirito (B flat minor → B flat major)
- Andantino semplice – Allegro vivace assai/Prestissimo (D flat major)
- Allegro con fuoco (B flat minor → B flat major)
The title cut from Pink Martini’s 2009 album Splendor in the Grass employs the famous theme from the first movement.
Sofia Vasheruk was born in Moscow 14th of May in 1988. She began playing piano at the age of 4. After half a year she was accepted to study piano in Moscow Gnesin`s College with prof. A. Traub. Already at the age of 6 she was giving performances in Germany as a solo pianist and as an accompanist for a choir.
In 2000 Sofia got the Special Prize at the N. Rubinstein Piano Competition in Moscow. In 2003 she finished Moscow Gnesin`s Music College and continued her studying in Chopin Music College in Moscow with prof. K. Knorre. During that period Sofia took part at the International Piano Competition for Young Musicians in Enschede (The Netherlands) and got there the 3rd Prize. The next year she was invited to give there several recitals. Also she became a laureate at the National Competition/Festival of the Romantic Music for Young Musicians in Moscow (March 2007).
Completing her studies ‘cum laude’ in 2007 she was invited to continue her education in the Netherlands with prof. Michail Markov (ArtEZ Conservatory, Enschede)
In May 2008 she won the 3rd prize and the Special Prize of The Youngest Finalist at the Sigismund Thalberg International Piano Competition (Naples, Italia).
In 2008 she started playing in a Duo with Daniel Herman Mostert (baritone) and in 2009 they won the Special Prize “Frienden van het Lied” at the 1st International Lied Duo Competition in the Netherlands.
The interest for tango music from childhood brought her to start playing this music herself and in 2008 she became a part of Siestango Quartet where she found herself in promoting and developing various ranges of this music style.
In 2009 she played in Amsterdam as one of the winners of National Dutch Festival “Grachtenfestival”.
The same year she got the 1st Prize in Rhodes International Music Festival Competition.
In May 2010 she was accepted to participate in Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and had reached the semifinal.
The same month she won the 2ND prize and a press prize at National Dutch Competition “Coffee bij de Piano” in Den Bosch. Later on she took the 1st Prize at the 4th André Dumortier International Piano Competition in Belgium and the Special Prize for the contemporary piece “Espaces oniriques II” of Jean-Pierre Deleuze, written specially for this competition
In 2012 Sofia successfully completed her bachelor degree in the Netherlands with the best possible mark (10 of 10).
Now she regularly gives concerts as a solo pianist and as a part of various chamber ensembles, such are “Extra Piano” Duo with A. Nesterenko (piano), duo with Daniel Herman Mostert (baritone), Siestango Quartet, and many other musicians.