Her performances are distinguished by a beautiful sonority, rich colors, subtle phrasing, brilliant technique, and a bright temperament.
Irina Chukovskaya is a greatly gifted pianist. Her performances charm with their outstanding virtuosity, an exquisite culture of piano sound, and a real artistry. She performs music of different styles.
She played with wild abandon, without abandoning the music. I sense that one of the secrets is a rich personality imbued with fidelity and integrity.
Greenwich News, CT, Music Review.
Her phrasing and nuance control were expressive and extraordinary, even in passages whose technical difficulty might have overwhelmed the attention of lesser artists.
Ridgefield Press, CT, Music Review.
Ms Chukovsaya combines a seamless technique with a passionate and poetic musicality. At home in a large repertoire, her performances are often revelatory.
David Gilbert, Music Faculty, Manhattan School of Music.
Irina Chukovskaya was born in Tashkent, USSR, to a family of musicians. She gave her first performance as a soloist with orchestra at the age of seven, and her first full recital at thirteen.
Ms. Chukovskaya studied in Moscow at the famous Central Music School and at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where her professors were Vera Gornostaeva and Stanislav Neuhaus. Her postgraduate studies were in class of Professor Dmitri Bashkirov. Also she took lessons from professor Theodor Lettvin (1990-1993, USA).
In 1980 Ms. Chukovskaya was a prizewinner in the Frederick Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland.
She has also performed in solo recitals and with chamber ensembles throughout Russia, the United States, Europe, Asia and Canada. She has established a reputation for virtuosity, temperament, and the fine sense of musical forms and styles. From 1989 to 1997 the artistic career of Ms. Chukovskaya was growing rapidly in the USA. The debut of Ms. Chukovskaya in the United States in March 1991 as a soloist with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra was received with critical acclaim.
In USA Irina performed as soloist of Community concerts Inc., the division of Columbia - Artist Management. She performed with conductors Yuri Simonov (Russia), Maxim Shostakovich, Vakhtang Jordania (USA), Kazuhiko Komacu (Japan), Pierre-Dominique Ponnelle (Germany), David Gilbert (USA), Janush Kovach (Hungary), Vladimir Ponkin (Russia), Sergei Skripka (Russia), Beatrice Brown (USA) and others. Irina Chukovskaya gave concerts in the most famous halls of the world and her concerts were a great success and almost always ended with standing ovation. She has in her repertoire more than 40 concertos with orchestra.
At present Ms. Chukovskaya combines her artistic career with the teaching at the Russian Music Academy (Gnesin Academy) .
Mikhail Kollontay (1952, Moscow) graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory of Pyotr Tchaikovsky as a piano player and a composer. After finishing of that education he coordinates activities of a composer, a concert pianist and a pedagogue.
The oeuvre of Mikhail Kollontay comprises very different genres: the opera The Captain's Daughter written on the demand of the Bolshoy Theatre for the jubilee of Pushkin, three symphonies, being one of them the monumental symphony Catecheses, choir works among which there is an eminent creation, the requiem Let This Cup Pass From Me. The instrumental and vocal music accompanied by chamber ensembles presents a great variety. Originally planned trio The Ten Words of Mussorgsky for the Death of Victor Gartman gained success abroad. Kollontay's music sounds in the Great Britain, Austria, Germany, France, the United States of America, many of his works are recorded on CDs. The concerto for the viola with the orchestra was awarded with the premium of Shostakovitch.
Mikhail Kollontay is one of the distinctive composers of his generation. He takes up the old church music. The string quartet The Praise of Holy Virgin is one of the most deep oeuvres in the modern chamber genre.
Mikhail Kollontay is a creator of the colorful concert works for the piano. Among them it is important to call the cycle The Seven Romantic Ballads, outstanding with its great complicatedness and involving the pianist's mastery. It had been written in 2000 on the demand of the pianist E. Kushnerova to whom it was dedicated. Though the composer titled the ballads 'romantic' but in their style they are completely modern. In the letter to the pianists the author gives detailed comments to every ballad telling them how the images of the work were contrived. They were inspired by the letters of Merimee to Turgenev that awoke the fantasy of the composer: “In the Merimee's letters the creations of the Russian literature are sometimes named, and I have used almost all these fragments. So I have read the Russian prose as by the Merimee's eyes, I was interested in what he had seen in these creations being a Frenchman opened to Russia“.
The Aphorisms is an intriguingly mysterious work of Dmitri Shostakovitch, very rarely performed and thus exclusively interesting for true devotees of music. The suite was written by the young composer on February 25 - April 7, 1927. Every miniature had a deliberately pondered title, but the composer didn't manage to invent a name for the whole cycle, and he called in aid to the musicologist Boleslav Yavorskiy who proposed The Aphorisms.
It is common knowledge that an aphorism is a concise sentence, a thoroughly well-turned expression of a thought. In these Shostakovitch's pieces the character of the music, as if it were intended, contradicts the title. The Funeral March begins not with a mournful exequial step but with a joyous fanfare. In Nocturne there is neither traditional “cantabile” melody nor a corresponding texture. In Dance Macabre the medieval chant “Dies Irae” takes the rhythm of a light-headed waltz. And so on.
The overall impression is that of “aphorisms wrong side out”, that is why the “Paradoxes” might seem a more convenient title.
In a comment to this opus written in the same 1927 and little-known now Shostakovitch made the matters even more complicated: “I planned them (The Aphorisms) while getting to bed in Berlin at the beginning of February”, says the author. “Around that time my mind was much preoccupied with a certain law of Nature, and it gave me the impulse for creating The Aphorisms that are dominated by one idea. What the idea is, I don't want to tell now”.
On May 6, 1927, the composer sent the manuscript to Yavorsky with this note: “I have completed my suite and called it (estimating your words) The Aphorisms. I've invented twelve in all, but two of them went to the rubbish bin. I equally well perceive all the pieces, but my heart goes out to The Legend and The Lullaby.
The sharp, burlesque and grotesque miniatures by the young genius contained many colorful previsions of the future ways of music development and, notwithstanding their novelty, gained success and a kind of popularity. The famous Bolshoy Dramatic Theatre actor Vladimir Maximov even staged a performance reading poetry to the accompaniment of this music. Today The Aphorisms return to the listener.