Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lilya Zilberstein: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2

Lilya Zilberstein performs Rachmaninoff´s Piano Concerto No. 2, opus 18, with the Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt under the baton of Dmitri Kitaenko, in January 1993. 

Lilya Zilberstein is one of the many talented pianists that Russia seems to produce in great numbers, many of them Jewish like Zilberstein. [You can read more of her bio here]; there is also an article in The Jerusalem Post on what she had to overcome while growing up in Russia.
“I was probably the only student there who tried to enter international music competitions,” Zilberstein says. But in order to represent the school, she had to undergo internal competitions, which she somehow always failed to win. Eventually one of the professors told her openly, “Lilya, with a family name like yours, you’ll never go abroad. You should fictitiously marry some Ivanov.”

“I was shocked,” Zilberstein says. “I was a naïve 21-year-old girl, and according to what we were told, the Soviet Union was a family of the equal. Nationality was never a criteria for my in choosing my friends.” Eventually, however, she succeeded in getting through as is, and in 1988 she won the prestigious Busoni Competition, which gave a push to her international career.
Sometimes, talent coupled with determination wins out.