Russian American cellist Nina Kotova showed early promise when while studying at the Central Music School Pre-Conservatory she was accepted into an adult class of the Moscow Conservatory at the age of seven, and was just 15 when she won First Prize at the Prague International Competition.
Since her London debut at the Wigmore Hall in 1996, she has performed in venues such as the Barbican Centre, Carnegie Hall, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Concertgebouw, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Osaka Symphony Hall in Japan, and Red Square in Moscow, as well as for the Imperial family of Japan, an appearance on the MTV Music Awards at the MET, at Buckingham Palace, and a special performance with Sting at the Royal Opera House in London.
Currently Nina Kotova’s latest album release is JS Bach: The Cello Suites which can be found on all digital download platforms under exclusive license to Warner Classics. I’m not sure I am absolutely adept at technically judging this amazing body of work. But I can certainly express my personal admiration for these cello suites and Kotova’s majestic interpretations on the recordings.
It is immediately noticeable how Kotova brilliantly interprets the universal quality of Bach’s music – how she so delicately translates Bach’s emphasis on texture and harmony rather than on melody. You’ll notice this on the Prelude to the first suite. The focus is on symmetry, balance and proportion. Add this to the depth of feeling with which Nina Kotova approaches these pieces and the result is really awe-inspiring; her playing is nothing short of spectacular.
In the sapient hands of Nina Kotova, these suites seem to unfold with an unfailing sense of rhythm that underscores the structure of Bach’s writing. Her performance is at once powerful and deeply heartfelt, but never strikes the listener as either overwhelming or overbearing. Not a stubbornly chronic classical music listener, I was surprised at the ability of a single cello to convey such an unlimited range of emotions.
The Bach Cello suites is notably a challenging body of work – a series of technically complex, solo compositions, with only the cello and no other instrument for the performing artist to hide behind. Fortunately, Nina Kotova displays a maturity and tonality that renders her passionate and delicate performance into a technically superior exhibition.
In my humble opinion this is a beautiful, professionally performed album – an important addition to any classical music collection. I do not believe there can be many interpretations of the Bach Cello suites, better than that of Nina Kotova!
More about the artist…
Nina 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.
A champion of contemporary music, Nina Kotova has commissioned and premiered works of leading composers including Christopher Theofanidis, Dmitry Smirnov, Michael Nyman, Pēteris Vasks and Anthony Hopkins. She has recently premiered Johnathan Leshnoff’s Cello Concerto with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dirk Brosse. As a composer she has written numerous works for cello and orchestra. Her first Cello Concerto premiered in San Francisco in 2000.
A versatile collaborator, Nina Kotova has performed the Vivaldi double concerto with Bobby McFerrin, appeared on the MTV Music Awards at the MET with Trent Reznor, appeared in Matthew Barney’s Cremaster, performed with Sting and Trudy Styler in “Twin Spirits” celebrating the life of Robert Schumann, collaborated with Jeremy Irons in “Smoke, Seduction and Music”, with Nina Ananiashvili and Irina Dvorovenko in Saint-Saens’ The Swan, and appeared with John Malkovich in Iglesias’ “A Registered Patent”.
Currently Nina Kotova’s latest album release JS Bach: The Cello Suites can be found on all digital download platforms under exclusive license to Warner Classics.
The JS Bach: The Cello Suites can be found here: