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  • karinegaribova

Summer? Away from violin, to my first love, the piano

Updated: Jul 23, 2022

One of my student’s parents recently shared that her favorite pianist is Evgeny Kissin. I agreed right away; he has such a sensitive, intuitive, and genuine way of interpreting anything he plays. Kissin is one of the pianists you would recognize in a blind test, because there is so much personality and distinct style! Check out this Waltz by Chopin recorded in 1997, or any of his other videos on his Facebook page @ or on YouTube; you will fall in love with the guy! Besides being a pianistic genius, Evgeny is a poet in love with Yiddish, reciting and writing in that age-old language.

I was fortunate to go to the same school with him and watched in awe with so many others how his talent flourished from a very tender age. We couldn’t comprehend how this gentle, delicate being was making these godly sounds! Our school nurtured many amazing talents, but he was (and is) special. Our generation still calls him Zhenechka, usually referring to a younger kid or someone one loves, so it’s an endearing nickname for Evgeny.

With Anna Pavlovna Kantor, his beloved teacher of many years

A favorite memory from those days: Zhenechka was scheduled to perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto with the school orchestra, he was probably 9 or 10 years old at the time. In one of the rehearsals, we orchestra kids decided to play a practical joke transposing the concerto exposition from F Minor to F sharp Minor betting that the conductor will not notice. Guess what! He did not notice!

Zhenechka “polished his chair” for 5 minutes, waiting and looking super nervous, but the conductor only realized what happened when Zhenechka came in. We all laughed so hard! The conductor just shook his head. BTW, that was one sharp group of highschoolers, not bad skill for us teenagers!

One more link here for you, crossing over, back to the violin, Paganini’s La Campanella arranged by Liszt

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