Great artists of to­mor­row

Nathalia Mil­stein

BBC Music Magazine - - THE FULL SCORE -

Nathalia Mil­stein’s ca­reer took an enor­mous leap for­ward in May 2015, when she emerged as the tenth win­ner of the Dublin In­ter­na­tional Pi­ano Com­pe­ti­tion – and the first fe­male win­ner, in fact, in the com­pe­ti­tion’s his­tory. The win im­me­di­ately opened all sorts of doors for the French pi­anist, now 22. ‘Thanks to Dublin, I’ve had many en­gage­ments in the best halls in the world,’ she says. ‘I’ve al­ready played in the Leipzig Ge­wand­haus and Carnegie Hall in New York.

I’ve also played sev­eral times in Ire­land since the com­pe­ti­tion, in­clud­ing a tour of nine cities across the coun­try, so I’ve got some very strong links there.’

For the Dublin com­pe­ti­tion, Mil­stein turned to a much-loved friend. ‘In the fi­nal I played Prokofiev’s Se­cond Pi­ano Con­certo, which was quite a chal­lenge as it’s tech­ni­cally very dif­fi­cult,’ she tells us. ‘When I was very small, I first en­joyed lis­ten­ing to Prokofiev’s pi­ano mu­sic, and then I was drawn to impressionist com­posers such as Ravel and De­bussy.’

If there’s a Rus­sian-french theme run­ning through Mil­stein’s life, that may have much to do with her parent­age and up­bring­ing – the daugh­ter of a Rus­sian pi­anist and vi­o­lin­ist, who left the USSR shortly be­fore it broke up in 1991, she her­self was born and brought up in Lyon in France. It was, in fact, her fa­ther who taught her from child­hood un­til her late teens, firstly at home and then at the Con­ser­va­toire in Geneva.

And those same two coun­tries are also rep­re­sented on her de­but stu­dio record­ing, for which she is cur­rently hunt­ing for a la­bel to help her re­lease it on disc. ‘I chose works by Prokofiev and Ravel for the CD,’ she ex­plains. ‘It’s a record­ing of mu­sic from 1917, which was a very im­por­tant year in the lives of both com­posers – for Prokofiev be­cause of the Rus­sian Rev­o­lu­tion, and for Ravel be­cause of the First World War.

pi­anist ‘I’ve played in the Leipzig Ge­wand­haus and Carnegie Hall’

They are very far apart as com­posers, but this pro­vides some sort of link be­tween them.’

But, she adds, don’t go think­ing that she be­gins and ends at French and Rus­sian Ro­man­ti­cism.

‘In Dublin, the works I played ranged from Bach on­wards, and I cov­ered as many styles as pos­si­ble over the four rounds. I like a wide reper­toire!’ In­ter­view by Jeremy Pound

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