Xenia PESTOVA


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Interview in Sounds Like Now, May 2017 (subscription required)

Interview in Meet the Artist, March 2017

Interview on the ROLI blog, March 2017

The Book of Sounds: Interview with Xenia Pestova, Musica Elettronica, March 2016

This was a rare and outstanding performance of Stockhausen’s iconic Mantra (1970) by a brilliant creative team comprising pianists Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer, with live electronics realised digitally for a new, post-analogue age by Stockhausen’s erstwhile colleague and sound-engineer, Jan Panis.
- Stephanie Power, Bangor New Music Festival and INTER/actions Festival and Symposium, 2014, Tempo, July 2014
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Xenia's performance on toy piano & electronics was full of grace and intention. She brought the little plastic keys to life with a range of emotion one might not expect from a 'toy' piano.
- Natanielle Felicitas, Cluster 2014: a Very Late Review, May 2014
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…instrumental virtuosity, intensity of concentration and sheer physical stamina… Pestova and Meyer’s performance radiated excitement, a taut dramatic sense and good humour in equal measure. Their understanding of the score has clearly deepened over years of performing and recording it together, and they held the audience spellbound from start to finish in one of my concert highlights of 2014 so far… stunning…
- Stephanie Power, Stockhausen's Mantra: Bangor New Music Festival - INTER/actions, Wales Arts Review, March 2014
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Interview for Toy Piano World, March 2014

There is no such thing as a Pestova overload
- Thomas Deneuville, founding director of I Care If You Listen, November 2013

...beautiful, funny, and plays the piano pretty damn good as well
- Ed Bennett, composer, artistic director of Decibel ensemble, October 2013

Janice Kelsh interviews Xenia Pestova for the Miniature Piano Enthusiast Club, April 2013

One of the best pieces of the afternoon... a deep, resonating sound...
- Chamberfest Day 10: new music and a celebration
The Ottawa Citizen, August 2011
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...a mesmerising trip... remarkably sensuous
- William Dart, Album Reviews: Music to lift the heart of Christmas
The New Zealand Herald, December 2010
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...this is a highly accomplished presentation of one of the landmark pieces in the second half of the 20th century.
- Andrew Clements, Stockhausen: MANTRA CD Review, The Guardian, September 2010
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...Xenia Pestova est une jeune pianiste de talent, tres ÉRUDITE en musique contemporaine...
- Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, pianist, Paris 2003
Read a personal inscription from Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, dated July 2002


REVIEWS OF "SHADOW PIANO" (read more on the Innova site):

Les interprétations, tout en finesse, démontrent la fantastique maîtrise que possède Xenia Pestova de son instrument, et son indéniable affinité avec les œuvres mixtes. Son grand talent est bien soutenu par ces compositeurs inspirés qui collent à son jeu. Il s’agit sans conteste d’un disque à cataloguer comme nouvelle référence de répertoire pour piano et électronique, et à garder près du lecteur pour le bonheur de le réentendre!
- Cléo Palacio-Quintin, Circuit 24:3
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Xenia Pestova has the sense of adventure, sensitivity to the techniques and stylistic particularities of high modernism and the poetic soul to bring this music to fruition in the best ways, and she does. What's remarkable about the program is how the individualities of each composer and her/his works have common ground so that the entire program flows together as one unified statement. The electronics and attention to the toy piano in addition to a grand piano extend the sonority and color to an almost chamber orchestral mass and distinctness at times... Highly recommended.
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, March 2014
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Pestova plays this music with natural flair and understanding... A wonderful disc, expertly produced and performed.
- Colin Clarke, Fanfare, March / April 2014

...a first-rate contemporary pianist... one wonders if it is her intimate familiarity with the material, or the composers writing for her strengths - or a mixture of both - that give these performances such a convincing mien...
- Art Lange, Fanfare, March / April 2014

Throughout the recording, Pestova impresses as a model of poise and technical control, with a subtle sense of self-contextualization within the electronic media. The disc does not offer a solo piano with electronics accompaniment nor the opposite. Rather, both performing forces are well integrated, constantly taking the listener along the border between familiar and unfamiliar sonorities. Shadow Piano is about illusion, about reinventing the keyboard, about letting go and being taken over by a new world of sounds, but more than anything, it is about saying something new.
- Jorge Variego, Fanfare, March / April 2014
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[A] terrific album of dark, probing music ... [J]agged, glassy toy-piano flurries are awash in nightmarish refractions of synthesized and sampled sonic abstractions. Hold tight.
- Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, January 2014
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Xenia Pestova's a concert pianist with a difference, an uncompromising artist resolutely committed to bringing the music of living composers to life and who enthusiastically embraces the potential new technologies offer to her particular realm of activity... Throughout the recording, Pestova impresses as a model of poise and control in never being derailed by the activity happening around her... a thoroughly credible collection for those whose taste runs to contemporary piano-based composition.
- Textura, January 2014
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[The pieces] enable [Pestova] to hold the piano as unpredictable field of mystery, transformations, confusions, moods, research, secrets and atmospheric twists. … This debut has confirmed that she is indeed one of the leading performers of contemporary nonconformist music.
- Zdenek Slaby, HisVoice 6/2013
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REVIEWS OF JOHN CAGE VOLUME 1:

Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer do a bang-up job, with playing whose rhythmical acuity is very exciting...
- Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare, March / April 2014

The new Naxos edition with works for two keyboards by John Cage starts with a ravishing program, ranging from oriental percussion sounds to the amusing music with toy pianos. The major characteristic is that, beyond fabulous rhythmics, both of the pianists achieve in giving a soul to this very special music.
- Pizzicato, February 2014
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Dynamic energy but also crystalline precision… brilliant playing
- Bernard Clare, RTE Nova, January 2014 (on Xenia's recording of John Cage's Suite for Toy Piano)

This is a valuable contribution to the work of the great maverick, John Cage... The irony of 'A book of music' (1944) for two prepared pianos is brought very much to the fore by these two artists... A very fine performance indeed. The 'Suite for toy piano' (1948) is given the performance it deserves... Roll on volume two!!
- Robert D. Roy, Don't be afraid to try this. It won't bite…, December 2013
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REVIEWS OF JOHN CAGE VOLUME 2:

Xenia Pestova, reigning queen of the toy piano, reunites with Pascal Meyer on this superb second survey of John Cage’s two-keyboard music. In my review I remarked how their performance of Music for Amplified Toy Pianos “is as fascinating as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious, their navigation through Cage’s indeterminate score resulting in a mercurial kind of halting hocket between the toy pianos & an array of bizarre sounds.” The prepared piano music is no less striking (and more gamelan-like than ever), testifying to the continual freshness and unpredictability of Cage’s music.
- Simon Cummings, Best Albums of 2014

I cannot imagine finer performances of Cage’s works for Two Keyboards than these from the Pestova/Meyer Piano Duo on a new release from Naxos... These are masterly performances of this demanding music.
- Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer, May 2014
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Pestova/Meyer do the music perfect justice, creating a magical aura that on repeated listens has a very evocative vibe about it... These are some of the most inspired performances I've heard of Cage for piano. Pestova/Meyer triumph! Do not hesitate. If you don't know Cage well this is an ideal volume to begin explorations. If you are a confirmed Cage adept this is an affirmation. Spellbinding!
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2014
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Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer perform these works with amazing precision and obvious relish... Those pieces (and the Pestova/Meyer Piano Duo’s performance) rock.
- Ralph Graves, May 2014
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...Fascinating... The duo’s playing through this extremely virtuosic material is simply outstanding, particularly so as it becomes both tribalistic & covered in embellishments at the end... marvellously transparent..., enabling one to enter the strange theatre of Cage’s imagining & form our own convoluted narrative. A fantastic disc, revealing anew the timeless kind of modernity that’s so unique to Cage.
- 5:4, 29 April 2014
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REVIEWS OF JOHN CAGE VOLUME 3:

...the duo gives us some very fine, acutely attuned realizations of key works... Highly recommended
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, August 2014
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REVIEWS OF STOCKHAUSEN "MANTRA":

...abstract and warm… Xenia Pestova in great form… a brilliant recording
- Bernard Clarke, RTE Nova, 2013

Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer deliver technically excellent, musically rewarding, and committed performances
- Fanfare, November 2011

This is a highly accomplished presentation of one of the landmark pieces in the second half of the 20th century.
- Andrew Clements, The Guardian, September 2010



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