Born in Russia, Nina Kotova belongs to the third generation of a family of musicians—most notably her father, the renowned virtuoso double-bass player Ivan Ivanovich Kotov. At the age of seven, she was accepted into an adult cello class at the Moscow Conservatory. At fifteen, she won First Prize at the Prague International Competition. And at nineteen, having graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, she left her homeland to continue her studies in Germany and the United States, where she now resides. Kotova has been the subject of numerous features in Time, Newsweek, Vogue, Elle, the Wall Street Journal, and The Sunday Telegraph Magazine. She has appeared on television on A&E’s “Breakfast with the Arts”, “Hard Talk” and the “Charlie Rose Show” as well as being on the covers of Classic FM, Classical Music Magazine Hong Kong, Gramophone China, Caravan and VIP Russia, Il Venerdi Italia and Reader’s Digest.
Furthermore she has commissioned and premiered works of leading contemporary composers including Christopher Theofanidis, Dmitry Smirnov, Michael Nyman, Pēteris Vasks and Anthony Hopkins. Currently Nina Kotova’s latest album release is, “TCHAIKOVSKY”, featuring Kotova on the cello and Vladimir Fedoseyev, conducting the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra for which he has been the chief conductor since 1974.
Fedoseyev has received numerous international awards and honors, including the Silver Cross of Merit of the Republic of Austria, the Trebbia European Award for creative activities, and the Gold Medal of the International Gustav Mahler Society. In 2016, he was given the title of Honored Artist of the Russian Federation and the State Prize of the Russian Federation.
The album contains the compositions “Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62”, a musical piece that has been in Nina Kotova’s recital and concerto repertoire since she was fifteen. “Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33”, which is considered a major component of the literature for solo cello and orchestra, and “Serenade for Strings, Op. 48”.
About the music on this album, Nina Kotova writes “From the first phrases of the recording session with conductor Vladimir Ivanovich Fedoseyev, his clear vision and powerful interpretive insight into honoring Tchaikovsky’s intentions were reassuring of my own beliefs. For me, the journey of recording Tchaikovsky in his homeland with a great conductor reaffirmed the true purpose of making music.”
I’m admittedly no expert on classical music of any sort, but Nina Kotova seems to really make Tchaikovsky come alive in this fantastic rendering. As I listened to the music, I couldn’t help but reflect on the outstanding technical detail–that so much of what us laymen consider as background music – just something to be crassly bought and consumed – was at one point actually listened to and appreciated.
I definitely not only highly recommend this album but also cultivating a habit of slowing down and appreciating every single note in a work like this. And maybe listening to various interpretations of these pieces, to better appreciate the amount of pure authentic detail Nina Kotova imbues into her work.
Kotova has the ability to cut through everything and get down to the obvious truth of a composition that lesser players might over-analyze half to death. I think her interpretation of Tchaikovsky is just that. She doesn’t over do anything. She just plays beautiful, well-phrased music with flawless technique.
I think that’s quite an accomplishment. Her rendition of “Variations on a Rococo Theme” is sumptuously glorious. Tchaikovsky often gets a bum rap from those who think he writes syrupy music for swans, his music is actually complex and passionate, and this album is a great example. This is music played with the heart and mind.
The music of Tchaikovsky deserves the very best sonic fidelity and this album really delivers that too. The album can be found on the Delos Music platform.