Isaac Stern Chair
Isaac Stern Chair
Member since: 2009
Hometown: Saint Petersburg, Russia
I remember my parents playing from infancy. My father, who has been my core teacher, is the treble violin soloist and violinist with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. Formerly with the Kirov Opera, he often admits that his heart still belongs to opera, and he exposed me to beautiful rare recordings. My mother, who was a choirmaster and now is a piano teacher, started me on theory at age three. I begged for a little violin and then received one as a present a year later. Being four years old, I didn’t realize my present came along with a life and career plan!
Playing in an orchestra:
To be in an orchestra, a musician must learn the enormous flexibility to work with another hundred people to create a convincing musical image: one that balances the conductor’s vision and the performers’ individual interpretations.
On being in the SFS:
I find it inspiring that no matter where in the Orchestra I sit and play, I always feel powerful waves of energy coming towards me. Every member of the SFS is putting in their best, and it’s very contagious.
Favorite composers and works:
My favorite composers are Stravinsky, Beethoven, and Bartók. Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra is one of my favorites—it unleashes indescribably wild emotions. Stravinsky’s music immerses me in the mysterious world of Russian fairy-tales that I read as a child. And Shostakovich, who was my favorite composer in my teenage years, still stirs my feelings.
I am mesmerized by Gagaku, a classical Japanese music. I also love two movie scores; Vertigo, by Bernard Herrmann, and Jerry Goldsmith’s The Omen, devilish and frightful music that gives me goose bumps. I would love the Orchestra to play it for one of the movie nights!