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ODESSA CLASSICS TALLINN 2024
With dedication to Valentyn Silvestrov

June 10, 2024 at 19.00

Estonia Concert Hall

PROGRAM

Valentyn Silvestrov (*1937)

„Pastorals“ (Hommage á Beethoven, 2020)

Moderato – Allegro assai – Vivace – Larghetto – Moderato – Moderato – Andantino – 

Allegretto – Moderato

 

Myroslava Kotorovych (violin)

Alexey Botvinov (piano)


 

„3 Waltzes with Postludium“ op. 3 (2005–2006)

 I Allegretto

II Moderato

III Vivace

IV Postludium 

 

Alexey Botvinov (piano)


 

„Hommage à J.S.B.“ (2009)

I Andantino

II Andantino

III Allegro

 

 „Melodies of the Moments“, Cycle III (2005)

I Lullaby

II Barcarole

III Lullaby

Hans Christian Aavik (violin)

Karolina Aavik (piano)
 

Intermission
 

„Melodies of the Moments“, Cycle VI („25.10.1893  … in memoriam P.I.Tsch.“, 2004)

I Prelude (Birth of the Melody)

II Lullaby

III Serenade

 

Myroslava Kotorovych (violin)

Alexey Botvinov (piano)


 

„Postludium III“ (1981/82)

 

Marcel Johannes Kits (cello)

Alexey Botvinov (piano) 

 

„Pastorals“ (2023)

Animato – Andantino – Moderato – Andante – Moderato – Moderato – Allegro

 

Hans Christian Aavik (violin)

Marcel Johannes Kits (cello)

Alexey Botvinov (piano)

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Valentyn Silvestrov (born 1937) is one of Ukraine's most renowned and esteemed composers. His immediate and nostalgia-infused music has touched the hearts of many listeners across borders. Silvestrov began seriously engaging with music only at the age of 15, studying for years through private lessons. He later studied piano at the Kyiv Music School (1955–1958), followed by the Kyiv Conservatory (1958–1964), where he was mentored in composition by Borys Lyatoshynsky.

In the 1960s, Silvestrov became a member of the creative group Kyiv Avant-Garde, whose mindset and active engagement helped open a new chapter in Ukrainian music history, focusing on fresher stylistic trends and composition techniques (dodecaphony, aleatoric music, and sonorism, among others). Silvestrov's interest in innovations waned from the 1970s onwards, evolving into a musical thinking that approached postmodernism and became increasingly simplified. The composer himself describes his style as “metamusic”, an essential and significant part of which involves a return to the musical styles of previous eras.

Silvestrov's extensive body of work includes nine symphonies, works for piano and orchestra, chamber orchestra, three string quartets, a piano quintet, piano sonatas, chamber music, and vocal music. However, his 5th Symphony (1982), for which he received the Ukrainian State Prize, is often considered his most notable work. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Silvestrov also began composing sacred works, deeply influenced by the sound world of Orthodox liturgical music.

Today's program focuses on Silvestrov's chamber works created in this century. The piece Pastorales (2020), consisting of nine interconnected pieces, hints at the idea of a terrestrial paradise that needs to be restored and is dedicated to Beethoven and his 6th Symphony. With Hommage à J.S.B. (2009), Silvestrov pays tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach, reinterpreting seemingly familiar elements and sensitively listening to melodic fragments and harmonies.

The extensive musical reflection Melodies of Moments consists of 22 pieces in seven cycles for violin and piano. The third cycle is dedicated to the memory of Helle Mustonen and comprises three tender lullaby-like parts. The sixth cycle, 25.10.1893 ... in memoriam P.I.Tch., reflects on Tchaikovsky's melodic talent and the mystery of the birth of melody. Silvestrov has been deeply intrigued by the significance of musical codas, the strong impact of a coda or epilogue. This reflection is explored in the cycle Three Postludes, the third part of which is an elegiac contemplative miniature for cello and piano. The newest piece in the program, Pastorales (2023), lasting nearly 20 minutes, features extreme simplicity in sharp contrast to the increasingly complex nature of surrounding reality.

 

Silvestrov worked as a freelance composer in Kyiv until the spring of 2022, when he emigrated to Germany to escape the Russian invasion.

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Myroslava Kotorovych is a distinguished violinist and educator whose active engagement as both a soloist and chamber musician stands out in Ukraine and internationally. Born in Kyiv to a family of renowned musicians — violinist Bohodar Kotorovych and harpist Natalia Kmet — she was inspired by their strong example to study at the Mykola Lysenko Kyiv Special Music School and later at the National Music Academy of Ukraine.

 

Kotorovych's professional journey took a significant leap through her collaboration with the chamber orchestra Kremerata Baltica, led by the legendary conductor and violinist Gidon Kremer. She often refers to this period as her “practical European conservatory,” emphasizing the invaluable experiences gained on numerous European stages. In parallel with Kremerata Baltica, Myroslava Kotorovych also dedicated twelve years to the Ukrainian national ensemble Kyiv Soloists. Wishing to share her rich performance experience and support young talented musicians in their studies, Kotorovych founded the creative workshop-chamber ensemble ARTEHATTA in 2013.

 

Kotorovych has further honed her skills in masterclasses with renowned interpreters Marina Yashvili, Ruggiero Ricci, and Thomas Zehetmair. A notable competition achievement was winning the Grand Prix at the International Competition “Autumn Golden” (Khmelnytskyi, 1993). In recognition of her significant musical contributions, Myroslava Kotorovych was awarded the title of Honored Artist of Ukraine (2019).

 

Since 2001, she has been teaching in the violin department at the Ukrainian National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music and is also highly valued as a jury member for both international and national competitions.

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Alexey Botvinov is a versatile pianist, musical innovator, and organiser. Known as one of Ukraine's most distinguished pianists, Botvinov is also a celebrated interpreter of Rachmaninoff's piano music. Additionally, he holds the unofficial record for performing Johann Sebastian Bach's “Goldberg Variations”, a cornerstone of piano repertoire over 300 times. Botvinov is the founder and artistic director of “Odessa Classics”, one of Eastern Europe's leading music festivals.

 

Alexey Botvinov was born into a family of musicians in Odessa. He studied piano at the Odessa Conservatory and later at the Moscow Conservatory under the guidance of Professor Gornostayeva. Botvinov has won numerous awards at various competitions, including the Rachmaninoff Competition in Moscow (1983), the Bach Competition in Leipzig (1988), and the Clara Schumann Competition in Düsseldorf (1994). His solo concerts at major events such as the Chopin Festival in Poland and the Zurich Festival in Switzerland have garnered significant audience acclaim and praise from the international press. From 2009 to 2010, Botvinov served as the artistic director of the Odessa National Opera Theatre, during which time two exceptional productions were staged: Puccini's Turandot, directed by Christian von Goetz, and the ballet Nureyev Forever, with Botvinov performing the piano solo.

 

Alexey Botvinov continuously explores new ways to introduce classical music to audiences. He has presented several innovative concert projects that expand the traditional piano recital format with elements of drama or multimedia. In collaboration with percussionist Burhan Ocal, he created the unique program Piano and Drums, where masterpieces of piano music are interwoven with oriental rhythms. Projects like Piano Light Show and 4 Elements combine music and visual effects into an exciting multimedia mystery.

 

In 2021, Alexey Botvinov and violinist Daniel Hope recorded an album of Alfred Schnittke's violin and piano music for Deutsche Grammophon. Following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, they released a recording as part of the charity project Music for Ukraine. This album brought Ukrainian classical music to the top of classical music charts in many countries for the first time. In September 2022, Botvinov and Hope released a new recording featuring the music of Valentyn Silvestrov.

Hans Christian Aavik is one of Estonia's most prominent violinists, known for his versatile style and distinctly recognizable sound that draws attention both in Estonia and across Europe. Aavik is the first prize winner of the Carl Nielsen International Competition (2022). In addition to receiving two special awards, he signed a recording contract with Orchid Classics, and in the following seasons, he is a frequent guest soloist with Scandinavia's leading orchestras. In 2022, Aavik was awarded the annual prize of the Estonian Cultural Endowment’s Music Endowment, the Music Prize of the Usedom Music Festival in Germany, and the Association of Estonian Professional Musicians Musician of the Year recognition.

 

In the 2023/24 season, he performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Estonian Festival Orchestra, Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, Estonian Sinfonietta, and Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra, among others. He collaborated with conductors including Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Risto Joost, Mihhail Gerts, Olari Elts, Oksana Lyniv, and others.

 

Hans Christian Aavik began playing the violin at the Tabasalu Music School (with teacher Piret Kreek) and continued his studies at the Tallinn Music High School under the guidance of Kaido Välja. Since 2017, he has been studying in Frankfurt (Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main) in the violin class of Erik Schumann and chamber music under Angelika Merkle. Hans Christian has further honed his skills in numerous masterclasses with Gerhard Schulz, Steven Isserlis, Kolja Blacher, Sophia Rahman, Stephan Picard, Jonathan Aner, Florian Donderer, Mihhail Gotsdiner, Robert Rozek, Evan Rothstein, and Jan Repko.

 

As a soloist, he has performed with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Tallinn Music High School Symphony Orchestra, University of Tartu Symphony Orchestra, Pärnu City Orchestra, and Jyväskylä Symphony Orchestra. Aavik plays on a Giovanni Paolo Maggini violin (made around 1610 in Brescia, Italy) and a Victor Fétique bow (made around 1930 in France) courtesy of the Estonian Musical Instrument Foundation and the Sapozhnin family. Since 2020, Hans Christian has been a recipient of the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship, and since 2019, he has been supported by the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now Frankfurt am Main association.

Karolina Aavik is an outstanding pianist of the younger generation, dedicated to both solo and chamber music, and regularly performs in prestigious concert halls across Europe. Her debut album AETERNUS, released in 2021 with violinist Hans Christian Aavik, was followed by performances as a duo at several esteemed festivals: Usedom Music Festival in Germany, Pärnu Music Festival, Tallinn Chamber Music Festival, and Museumskonzerte in Frankfurt.

 

Karolina Aavik began her musical education in Narva and continued at the Tallinn Music High School in Ira Floss's piano class. She earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in solo piano at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre under the guidance of Sten Lassmann. In 2019, she moved to Germany to further her studies in chamber music at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts (Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main – HfMDK) with Professor Angelika Merkle. Additionally, she studied solo piano at HfMDK in the class of Professor Alexej Gorlatch. Since 2021, she has continued her education in Vienna with Professor Christoph Eggner and at the Music and Arts Private University of Vienna (Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien) with the renowned professor Evgeny Sinaiski.

 

Karolina has won awards in various competitions both as a soloist and chamber musician, such as the Ilmari Hannikainen Chamber Music Competition in Finland and the International Stasys Vainiūnas Piano and Chamber Ensembles Competition in Lithuania. Last year, a concert recording by Karolina and Hans Christian Aavik was released under the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label in their new Rising Stars series on the STAGE+ platform.

 

Karolina Aavik has participated in numerous masterclasses with renowned musicians such as Augustin Hadelich, Steven Isserlis, Antoine Tamestit, Christoph Eschenbach, Sophia Rahman, Erik Schumann, Julian Rachlin, and others. Since 2019, she has been supported by the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now Frankfurt am Main association.

Marcel Johannes Kits is one of Estonia's most renowned and outstanding young cellists, who has garnered awards both domestically and internationally. His most notable achievement is winning third place at the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels (2022). Marcel Johannes began his cello studies at the age of five under the guidance of Lembi Mets and Reet Mets. He continued his studies at the Tallinn Music High School with Laine Leichter and, in high school, with Mart Laas. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Music Trossingen in Germany under the tutelage of Professor Francis Gouton, and from 2018, he pursued his master's studies with Professor Jens Peter Maintz at the Berlin University of the Arts. Kits has further honed his skills in masterclasses with László Fenyö, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Marko Ylönen, Maria Kliegel, Jens Peter Maintz, David Geringas, and others.

 

As a soloist, Marcel Johannes has performed with various Estonian orchestras (Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Pärnu City Orchestra) as well as numerous international orchestras, including Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, Karlsruhe University Symphony Orchestra, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Kymi Sinfonietta, Jyväskylä Sinfonia, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa (Japan), and George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania).

 

As an active chamber musician, Kits has shared the stage with numerous interpreters. He has a close collaboration with pianists Sten Heinoja and Rasmus Andreas Raide, with whom he has performed in various concerts across Estonia and in Berlin. For many years, he has played in Trio ’95 alongside violinist Robert Traksmann and pianist Rasmus Andreas Raide. The trio has performed in Estonia's major concert halls and won awards at international festivals.


Marcel Johannes Kits plays a cello made by Francesco Ruggieri in 1674 in Cremona and uses a bow by the French master Victor Fétique, both of which are on loan to him from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben foundation. He has been awarded scholarships from the Liechtenstein Music Academy, the Association of Estonian Professional Musicians, and the Estonian Cultural Endowment's Live and Shine scholarship (2019). He has also been recognized with the Association of Estonian Professional Musicians Musician of the Year award (2019) and the PLMF Young Musician prize (2022).

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Founded in 2015 in Odessa with direct support from Estonians, Ukraine's largest classical music festival Odessa Classics is being held for the third consecutive year outside Ukraine, in exile. This year's festival concerts are spread across at least five different European cities, one of which is traditionally Tallinn. The only concert of Odessa Classics Tallinn this year is dedicated to Ukraine's most famous contemporary composer, Valentyn Silvestrov.

The Odessa Classics Tallinn festival plays a leading role in preserving the tradition of Ukraine's largest classical music festival amidst the conditions of a full-scale war. In 2022 and 2023, a total of 11 concerts were held in Tallinn, Viimsi, Laulasmaa, and Tartu as part of Odessa Classics, helping to maintain the festival's tradition, enrich the Estonian music scene, and support the festival's presence throughout Europe. The festival has brought world-renowned performers to Estonia, and the opening concert of Odessa Classics Tallinn in June 2022 was broadcast live by the ARTE television channel. In addition to Tallinn, the festival has continued in Vilnius, Zurich, Bremen, Lucerne, Thessaloniki, and elsewhere.


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Special thanks

Enn Pant, Sergei Sinitsyn

Meelis Saaresalu

Jüri Käo, NG Investeeringud

Tarmo Laanetu

Meelis Asi

Igor Berman, Elme Messer Gaas

Tallinn, the City of Music of UNESCO

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We also thank all other contributors, ticket buyers, and those who spread the good word.

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