NIKOLAI KAPUSTIN Nikolai Kapustin is a Russian composer and pianist. He was born on November 22, 1937 in Gorlovka Ukraine.   At   age   of   14   he   moved   to   Moscow   and   started   lessons   with   Avrelian   Rubakh,   himself   a   pupil   of   Felix   Blumenfeld who   also   taught   Simon   Barere   and   Vladimir   Horowitz.   Later   he   studied   with   pedagogue   professor   Alexander Goldenweiser    at    the    Moscow    Conservatory,    who    also    told    him    about    Rachmaninov,    Medtner,    Scriabin    and Tchaikovsky whom Goldenweiser knew personally.   Nikolai   Kapustin   is   an   autodidact   on   composing;   he   made   his   first   attempt   to   compose   a   piano   sonata   at   age   of 13.   During   his   conservatory   time   he   composed   and   played   his   Op.   1;   a   Concertino   for   piano   and   orchestra.   The Op.1   was   a   jazz   piece   and   turned   out   to   be   his   first   work   performed   publicly   (1957).   He   also   had   his   own   quintet and was a member of Yuri Saulsky’s Big Band.    After   graduating   in   1961   at   the   Moscow   Conservatory,   he   became   a   member   of   the   Oleg   Lundstrem   Big   Band. Several   works   of   his   are   performed   by   Oleg   Lundstrem,   this   with   Nikolai   Kapustin   himself   on   piano.   Around   1972 he   stopped   working   with   them   and   started   working   with   the   radio   orchestra   (5   years),   then   with   the   cinema orchestra (7 years). Early 80’s he started fulltime as composer.   Nikolai   Kapustin   turned   out   to   be   a   classical   composer   who   happens   to   work   in   a   jazz   idiom.   He   fuses   these influences   in   his   compositions,   using   jazz   idioms   in   formal   classical   structures.   An   example   of   this   is   his   Suite   in the   Old   Style,   Op.   28,   written   in   1977,   which   inhabits   the   sound   world   of   jazz   but   is   modelled   on   baroque   suites such   as   the   keyboard   partitas   composed   by   J.   S.   Bach,   each   movement   being   a   stylized   dance   or   a   pair   of   dances in   strict   binary   form.   Other   examples   of   this   fusion   are   his   set   of   24   Preludes   and   Fugues,   Op.   82,   written   in   1997, and the Op. 100 Sonatina.   Several   of   his   works   are   released   on   the   Russian   Melodiya   label   and   the   Japanese   Triton   label,   this   with   Nikolai Kapustin   on   piano.   Several   other   recordings   exist   of   Nikolai   Kapustin,   these   are   unreleased,   but   ‘rescued’   by   his son, theoretical physicist Anton Kapustin. His   music   is   performed   by   leading   pianists   like   Marc-André   Hamelin,   Steven   Osborne,   Ludmil   Angelov,   Masahiro Kawakami,    Nikolai    Petrov    and    Vadim    Rudenko;    as    well    by    cellists    Eckard    Runge    and    Enrico    Dindo.    Other performers are the Ahn Trio, Trio Arbós, Artemis Quartet and the New Russian Quartet.   Among   his   works,   161   compositions   to   date,   are   20   piano   sonatas,   six   piano   concertos,   piano   works   for   solo piano   and   for   4   hands,   as   well   for   2   pianos,   a   violin   concerto,   two   cello   concertos,   piano   trios,   string   quartets,   a piano   quintet   and   a   significant   number   of   other   chamber   works,   as   well   as   compositions   for   orchestra   and   big band. Biography [short] Kapustin   was   born   in   the   town   of   Gorlovka   in   eastern   Ukraine   on   22nd   November,   1937.   At   the   age   of   14   he moved to Moscow and began piano lessons with Avrelian Rubakh and later Alexander Goldenweiser. Kapustin’s   first   attempts   at   composition   began   with   a   piano   sonata   at   the   age   of   13.   During   his   studies   at   the Moscow   Conservatory   Kapustin   composed   and   premiered   his   first   opus,   a   Concertino   for   piano   and   orchestra (1957).   During   this   time   he   also   had   his   own   quintet   and   was   a   member   of   Yuri   Saulsky’s   Big   Band.   After graduating in 1961 Kapustin became a member of the Oleg Lundstrem Big Band. From    the    early    1980s    he    focused    completely    on    composing.    Kapustin    uses    jazz    idioms    in    formal    classical structures. His   music   is   often   performed   by   leading   pianists   including   Marc-André   Hamelin,   Steven   Osborne,   Ludmil   Angelov, Masahiro Kawakami, Nikola Petrov and Vadim Rudenko, and by cellists including Eckard Runge and Enrico Dindo. NIKOLAI KAPUSTIN     Biography by Yana Tyulkova (2015) Nikolai   Grigorievich   Kapustin   was   born   on   November   22,   1937   in   the   small   city   of   Horlivka,   which   is   situated   in   the Donetsk province of Eastern Ukraine. His   parents,   Grigory   Efimovich   Kapustin   and   Klavdia   Nikolaevna   Kapustina,   were   not   musicians   but   they   loved music   and   dreamed   of   seeing   their   children,   Nikolai   and   older   sister   Fira,   become   musicians   (16).    That   is   why music   was   always   a   part   of   their   lives.   Only   their   son   Nikolai   made   these   dreams   come   true,   as   his   sister   became a chemist. At   the   beginning   of   the   1940’s   Ukraine   was   one   of   the   countries   that   were   occupied   by   German   forces.   At   the   age of   four   Nikolai   with   his   mother,   sister,   and   grand-mother   were   evacuated   to   the   Kyrgyz   Republic   region   to   stay away   from   the   hostilities.   Kyrgyz   Republic   borders   with   Kazakhstan,   Uzbekistan,   Tajikistan   and   China.   During   the following   two   years,   1941-1943,   they   lived   in   the   small   city   of   Tokmak.   At   the   same   time   Nikolai’s   father   served   as part   of   the   troops   at   the   front.   He   came   back   home   at   the   end   of   World   War   II,   in   the   summer   of   1945   (17).    Nikolai made   his   first   steps   in   music   not   in   the   traditional   Russian   way.   At   age   seven   he   began   his   journey   through   the world   of   piano   music   having   private   lessons   with   Piotr   Ivanovich   Vinnichenko,   who   was   a   violinist   but   also   taught piano.   Since   Fira   was   taking   violin   lessons   with   Piotr   Vinnichenko,   Nikolai   started   to   take   piano   lessons   with   the same teacher (18) .   Traditionally,   Russian   and   Ukrainian   musical   education   is   based   on   three   major   components   that   each   student must   complete   during   their   musical   study.   These   components   are:   Music   School   (seven   years   of   study),   Music College   (four   years   of   study),   and   Conservatory   (five   years   of   study).   This   system   remains   standard   for   Russian and   Ukrainian   musical   education   to   this   day.   In   a   non-traditional   way,   Kapustin   jumped   through   the   first   step   of his musical education as he did not attend music school.  16 Roberts, “Classical Jazz,” 15. 17 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, July 9, 2014. 18 Roberts, 15. Listening   to   a   seven-year-old   Nikolai   playing   Clementi   Sonatinas,   Op.   36,   Piotr   Vinnichenko   realized   that   Nikolai needed   serious   training   on   the   piano   since   the   child   had   huge   potential   as   a   pianist.   The   lessons   with   Vinnichenko lasted   until   1949.   At   that   time   Nikolai   Kapustin   began   piano   lessons   with,   as   Vinnichenko   stated,   a   “real”   piano teacher.   Lubov’   Frantsuzova   had   graduated   from   the   Saint-Petersburg   Conservatory   and   studied   with   Samuel Maykapar,   one   of   the   major   figures   in   Russian   musical   education.   (19)   During   the   next   three   years,   Lubov’ Frantsuzova   worked   to   prepare   Nikolai   Kapustin   for   the   entrance   exam   to   the   Academic   Moscow   College   under the   Moscow   State   Tchaikovsky   Conservatory.   Kapustin   remembers   very   clearly   the   moment   he   came   to   Moscow with   his   first   teacher   Piotr   Vinnichenko:   “The   fact   is   that   we   came   to   Moscow   with   only   one   goal   –   to   play   the entrance    exam    to    Moscow    Music    College.    That’s    what    I    did.”    (20)     Without    knowing    anyone    Kapustin    was immediately   accepted   into   the   class   of   Avrelian   Grigoryevich   Rubakh.   Rubakh   came   to   play   a   major   role   in   the   life of   Nikolai   Kapustin.   Avrelian   Rubakh   was   a   student   of   Felix   Blumenfeld,   who   was   the   teacher   of   Vladimir   Horovitz and   Simon   Barere.   (21)   In   addition,   Alexander   Tsfasman,   one   of   the   first   famous   jazz   pianists   in   Russia   during   the 1940’s,   was   also   a   student   of   Blumenfeld.   All   four   of   these   pianists,   Blumenfeld,   Tsfasman,   Horovitz,   and   Kapustin, were born in the Ukraine. 19 Jonathan Mann, “Red, White and Blue Notes: The Symbiotic Music of Nikolai Kapustin,” (D.M.A. diss., University of Cincinnati, 2007), 28, 20 Nikolai Kapustin, e-mail message to author, August 27, 2014. 21 Mann, “Red, White and Blue Notes,” 28. In   the   1950’s   Avrelian   Grigoryevich   Rubakh   was   teaching   at   the   Special   Music   School   for   Talented   Children   under the   Moscow   Conservatory   and   at   the   same   time   at   the   Academic   Music   College   under   the   Moscow   Conservatory.     (22)   That   is   probably   why,   listening   to   a   14-year   old   Nikolai   Kapustin,   he   noticed   big   talent   in   the   young   performer. Kapustin   says   that   at   that   time   he   was   not   a   strong   pianist,   but   what   Rubakh   saw   in   him   was   the   ability   to compose   music.   (23)    Indeed,   at   a   very   early   age   Kapustin   became   interested   in   improvisation   and   composition.   At the   age   of   13   years   he   composed   his   first   piano   sonata.   This   piece   is   written   in   the   traditional   classical   style. During   all   these   years   the   score   of   the   piano   sonata   remains   in   the   possession   of   Nikolai   Kapustin   in   his   home. (24)   Avrelian   Rubakh   was   a   teacher   with   a   variety   of   different   interests   and   activities   which   were   all   connected   to the   teaching   process.   He   was   the   editor   of   the   Muzgiz   Publisher   (Soviet   Music   Publishing   House   in   Moscow.   He was    also    the    editor    of    Anthologies    of    Pedagogic    Repertoire    for    Music    Schools,    which    were    published    with pedagogical   suggestions   for   teachers.   Finally,   he   was   writing   arrangements   of   orchestral   works.   For   example, Tchaikovsky’s Orchestral Suite No. 1, Op. 43 was arranged by Rubakh for two pianos and published in 1956. As   a   teacher   Avrelian   Rubakh   showed   a   wide   range   of   interests   in   different   musical   styles.   One   of   his   students, Evgeniya    Pupkova,    born    in    1938,    became    one    of    the    famous    performers    of    J.    S.    Bach’s    works.    Pupkova remembered   Rubakh’s   critical   notes   about   her   performance   of   J.   S.   Bach’s   fugue:   “How   do   you   want   me   to   hear four voices, when out of four you hear only two?” (25) 22 Evgeniya Pupkova, “Pereigravshaya vsego Baha,” accessed August 30, 2014, 23 Nikolai Kapustin, e-mail message to author, August 22, 2014. 24 Nikolai Kapustin, skype conversation with the author, March 22, 2015. 25 Pupkova, “Pereigravshaya vsego Baha.”   On   the   other   hand,   Avrelian   Rubakh   was   one   of   the   people   who   supported   Nikolai   Kapustin’s   interest   in   jazz. Kapustin   mentioned   that   the   four   years   he   spent   around   Rubakh   (1952-1956)   were   the   most   interesting   and productive   years   of   his   student   life.   Rubakh   was   a   key   figure   in   Kapustin’s   life.   Kapustin   said:   “He   (Rubakh)   taught me how to play the piano.” (26) In   the   year   of   1953,   an   important   historical   event   happened   in   Russia   that   changed   the   direction   of   Russian history.   On   March   5,   1953   Iosif   (   Joseph)   Vissarionovich   Stalin   died.   Stalin   was   the   leader   of   the   Soviet   Union   from the   mid   -1920’s   until   his   death   in   1953.   In   the   postStalin   “thaw,”   more   freedom   appeared   in   all   aspects   of   Russian life. Even though jazz was still prohibited, the interest in jazz was growing enormously as a symbol of freedom. In   the   interview   with   Anderson,   Kapustin   stated   about   jazz:   “   …   in   the   early   50’s   it   was   completely   prohibited,   and there   were   articles   in   our   magazines   that   said   it   was   typical   capitalistic   culture,   so   we   have   to   throw   it   away   and forget about it.” (27) During   the   years   of   study   in   Moscow   College   Kapustin   got   acquainted   with   Andrei   Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky. Andrei   would   become   later   a   well-known   Russian-American   film   director   and   film   producer.   (28)   Nikolai   and Andrei   studied   together   in   Music   College   and   became   close   friends.   Andrei’s   father,   Sergei   Mikhalkov,   was   a famous   Russian   author,   poet,   and   dramatist.   Since   the   conditions   of   Kapustin’s   life   at   the   dormitory   were   very poor,   Sergei   Mikhalkov   invited   young   student   Nikolai   Kapustin   to   live   in   their   house.   That   is   how   during   the   years of   1954   and   1955   Kapustin   was   living   in   the   house   of   Mikhalkov’s   family.   (29)    It   is   obvious   that   the   atmosphere   of Mikhalkov’s   house,   together   with   the   experience   that   Kapustin   had   communicating   with   the   highest   level   of Russian    artistic    society,    was    priceless.    This    was    the    time    when    Kapustin    first    got    acquainted    with    jazz    and discovered a new world of jazz improvisation. He   remembers:   “I   was   living   in   their   house   for   a   few   years   like   an   adopted   son.   That’s   how   we   first   started   to become   interested   in   jazz   music,   listening   at   night   to   the   radio   station   “Voice   of   America.”   (30)    This   is   where   he first   heard   Louis   Armstrong,   Glenn   Miller,   Benny   Goodman,   and   Nat   “King”   Cole.   According   to   Roberts,   Kapustin met Oleg Lundstrem for the first time in this house in 1956. (31) During   the   early   1950’s   Kapustin   began   to   perform   as   a   jazz   pianist.   He   organized   a   Jazz   Quintet   and   started   to perform   monthly   in   one   of   the   most   exclusive   Moscow   restaurants   called   “National.”   Americans   visited   this restaurant    and    on    one    occasion    recorded    the    performance    of    Kapustin’s    Jazz    Quintet.    Eventually,    the performance   of   this   band   was   broadcast   on   the   radio   station   “Voice   of   America.”   That   is   how   the   name   of   Nikolai Kapustin first appeared in the United States.  (32) In   the   summer   of   1956   Nikolai   Kapustin   graduated   from   Music   College   and   entered   the   Moscow   Conservatory. Kapustin was accepted to the class of legendary pianist, teacher, composer, and author Alexander Goldenweiser. Alexander Goldenweiser was a student of Ziloti, Pabst, Arensky, and Ippolitov-Ivanov. (33) He   also   studied   with   Sergei   Taneyev   (a   significant   Russian   composer,   pianist   and   music   theorist),   and   Vasily Safonov   (a   famous   Russian   music   educator   and   conductor,   and   the   teacher   of   Alexander   Scriabin   and   Nikolai Medtner).   In   addition   to   that,   Goldenweiser   was   a   classmate   of   some   of   the   best-known   Russian   composers. Goldenweiser   told   his   students   about   the   years   of   study   at   the   Moscow   Conservatory:   “I   was   sitting   in   the   lectures together with Alexander Scriabin, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Nikolai Medtner.”  (34) 26 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, December 27, 2013. 27 Anderson, 96. 28 Andrei Konchalovsky is a film director for “Tango and Cash” (1989) and “The Odyssey” (1997). 29 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, December 27, 2013. 30 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, December 27, 2013. 31 Roberts, 21. 32 Anderson, 94. 33 Smith, 54. 34 Pupkova, “Pereigravshaya vsego Baha.” Another   interesting   fact   from   Goldenweiser’s   life   was   that   he   was   a   close   friend   of   Lev   (Leo)   Nikolaevich   Tolstoy, Russian   writer,   philosopher,   and   political   thinker,   who   wrote   several   bestsellers   of   Russian   literature   War   and Peace   (1896)   and   Anna   Karenina   (1877).   (35)    Goldenweiser   was   the   editor   of   the   Beethoven   and   Mozart   Piano Sonatas,   Schumann   andLiszt’s   piano   works.   (36)   In   addition,   the   fact   that   Rachmaninov’s   Suite   No.   2,   Op.   17   as well    as    Medtner’s    Lyric    Fragments,    Op.    23    were    both    dedicated    to    Alexander    Goldenweiser    supports    the importance   of   Goldenweiser   in   the   development   of   Russian   musical   history.   Among   the   celebrated   students   of Alexander Goldenweizer were Dmitry Kabalevsky, Tatiyana Nikolaeva, Dmitry Bashkirov, and Nikolai Kapustin. Kapustin   remembered   his   audition   for   Alexander   Goldenweiser   in   1956.   Upon   hearing   Kapustin’s   performance   of Liszt’s   Reminiscences   de   Don   Juan   (one   of   the   most   technically   difficult   works   by   Liszt)   Goldenweiser   asked Rubakh:   “Where   did   you   find   such   a   pianist?”   (37)    Of   course,   this   question   was   rhetorical,   but   anyone   could   see that Goldenweiser was impressed by the level of Rubakh’s students’ performance. While   Avrelian   Rubahk   had   appreciated   jazz   in   Kapustin’s   musical   environment,   Alexander   Goldenweiser   was associated    exclusively    with    classical    music.    Kapustin    mentioned    in    our    interview    that    he    is    not    sure    if Goldenweiser   ever   heard   the   word   “jazz.”   (38)    It   is   understandable   that   Kapustin   felt   the   years   he   spent   in   the Music   College   were   more   productive   and   interesting.   Although,   Kapustin   mentioned   in   the   interview   with   Martin Anderson   that   it   was   very   interesting   to   speak   with   Goldenweiser,   because   Goldenweiser   used   to   tell   him   about all   these   famous   composers   from   the   past.   Kapustin   then   continued:   “But   as   a   teacher   he   gave   nothing,   because he   was   very   old   –   he   was   already   81.”   (39)   Nikolai   Kapustin   was   one   of   Goldenweiser’s   last   students,   since Goldenweiser    passed    away    in    November    of    1961,    the    year    of    Kapustin’s    graduation    from    the    Moscow Conservatory. While   a   student   of   Moscow   College   and   the   Moscow   Conservatory,   Kapustin   was   trained   to   be   a   virtuoso   pianist. That   was   his   original   goal   –   to   become   a   virtuoso   performer.   Undoubtedly   Kapustin   achieved   great   results   in   this direction.   He   graduated   from   Moscow   College   with   Prokofiev’s   Piano   Concerto   No.   2,   Op.   16,   one   of   Prokofiev’s most challenging pieces. Kapustin graduated from the Moscow Conservatory with Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 2, an   extremely   complicated   piece   of   music,   difficult   technically,   and   percussive   in   sound.   These   performances showed   Kapustin’s   ability   as   a   serious   classical   pianist   who   could   potentially   perform   on   the   big   stage.   Even   now, listening   to   Kapustin’s   compositions,   it   is   obvious   that   his   music   demands   highly   technical   skills.   Unfortunately, through   the   years,   Kapustin   began   to   struggle   performing   in   front   of   an   audience.   Later,   this   feeling   would   direct him   to   the   complete   dedication   to   composition   and   rejection   of   a   career   as   a   virtuoso   pianist.   During   the   years   of study   in   the   Conservatory   in   the   late   1950’s,   Kapustin   worked   as   a   jazz   pianist,   arranger,   and   composer.   One   of the   important   landmarks   in   his   career   as   a   composer   was   his   performance   in   July   1957   of   his   own   piece, Concertino   for   Piano   and   Orchestra,   Op.   1,   in   the   6th   World   Festival   of   Youth   and   Students   in   Moscow.   The   festival itself   was   an   important   event   in   the   history   of   Russia.   It   was   the   time   of   the   “Khrushchev   thaw,”   a   period   of positive changes towards the direction of “peaceful cooperation” with the Western world. (40)     35 Ivan Fedorov, “,” accessed September 23, 2014, 36 Ibid. 37 Anderson, 94. 38 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, December 27, 2013. 39 Anderson, 94. 40 “Territory of Terror,” accessed October 15, 2014, The   festival   opened   the   doors   to   other   countries   and   other   cultures.   It   attracted   34,000   young   people   from   131 countries   and   became   an   international   event.   (41)   Undoubtedly,   this   festival   made   an   important   impact   on   the young   Kapustin.   The   Concertino   for   Piano   and   Orchestra,   Op.   1   was   composed   by   Kapustin   specifically   for   the festival   and   was   performed   by   Kapustin   with   the   Yuri   Saulsky   Big   Band.   Kapustin   remembers:   “That   was   my   first experience   playing   in   a   big   band   and   I   understood   that   this   is   not   a   bad   thing.   I   started   to   write   for   that orchestra.”   (42)   Concertino   for   Piano   and   Orchestra,   Op.   1   was   the   first   of   Kapustin’s   piece   to   be   performed   in public. A   new   period   of   Kapustin’s   life   started   in   1961   when   he   started   to   collaborate   with   the   Oleg   Lundstrem   Big   Band. The   history   of   this   orchestra   goes   back   to   the   1934   when   it   was   organized   by   a   group   of   friends.    (43)   Starting   from the   late   1950’s   the   band   toured   extensively   inside   and   outside   of   the   Soviet   Union.   (44)   Kapustin   joined   the   band at   the   time   of   its   rise   and   high   success.   During   the   years   of   1961   to   1972   Kapustin   was   writing   music   for   this   big band   and   performing   as   a   pianist.   Kapustin   mentioned   in   the   interview   with   Maga   Antonina:   “Eleven   years   of work   with   Lundstrem   became   my   “Second   Conservatory”:   a   large   amount   of   arranging,   performances,   and   ear- training   experience.   We   wrote   down   all   the   big-band   parts   from   the   tape.   We   were   big   enthusiasts.   It   was   a   school more   serious   than   Conservatory.”   (45)    Then   Kapustin   continues:   “Mostly   it   was   classical   jazz   –   Count   Basie,   Duke Ellington.   Even   if   we   were   performing   Soviet   songs,   orchestral   accompaniment   still   was   in   the   style   of   Count Basie.” (46) 41 “Russkii Portal,” accessed January 15, 2015, 42 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, December 27, 2013. 43 Osip Ivanov, “Oleg Lundstrem Jazz Orchestra,” accessed September 20, 2014, 44 Osip Ivanov, “Oleg Lundstrem Jazz Orchestra,” accessed September 21, 2014, 45   Maga   Antonina,   “Vse   moi   proizvedenia   –   s   dzazovim   akcentom:   Beseda”   [All   of   my   work   is   marked   with   a   jazz   emphasis':   A conversation], Muzikalnaya jizn, no. 10 (October 2008): 40.  46 Ibid. One   of   the   first   works   composed   specifically   for   the   Oleg   Lundstrem   Big   Band   was   Kapustin’s   Piano   Concerto   No. 1,   Op.   2.   Unfortunately,   this   piece   was   played   only   five   times,   probably   because   the   musicians   were   not   prepared for such a serious piece. Being a big band, the group was accustomed to shorter and lighter material.  (47) One   of   the   most   impressive   pieces   of   that   time   was   Kapustin’s   “Toccata,”   Op.   8.   Recorded   by   Russian   television   in 1964, this piece demonstrated the technical ability of Kapustin as well as his talent as a composer. (48) At   the   end   of   1960’s,   touring   with   the   Oleg   Lundstrem   Big   Band,   Kapustin   met   his   future   wife   Alla   Baranovskaya   in the   north   city   of   Novokuznetsk,   which   is   situated   in   Siberia.   They   were   seated   at   the   same   table   in   the   café   and Kapustin   invited   Alla   to   their   concert.   That’s   how   their   friendship   began.    (49)    In   January   1969   Nikolai   Kapustin   and Alla   got   married.   They   have   two   sons:   Anton   (born   in   1971)   and   Pavel   (born   in   1978).   The   older   son,   Anton Kapustin, is famous for his pioneering work in non-commutative geometry. For many years Anton has lived in the United   States   dedicating   his   life   to   the   world   of   theoretical   physics.   Pavel   Kapustin   lives   in   Moscow   and   works   as an economist.  (50) Having   a   family,   Kapustin   could   not   allow   himself   to   tour   extensively   with   the   Lundstrem   Big   Band.   Therefore, beginning   from   1972   Kapustin   stated   to   work   with   the   Boris   Karamishev   “Blue   Screen”   Orchestra   in   Moscow.   The function   of   this   orchestra   was   to   broadcast   live   over   television   and   radio.   However,   this   orchestra   also   toured   in USSR    and    did    recording    sessions.    For    example,    they    recorded    many    works    of    Soviet    composers    as    well    as Kapustin’s compositions. (51) 47 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, December 27, 2013. 48 Video recording of the “Toccata” Op. 8, accessed September 21, 2014, 49 Roberts, 22. 50 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, December 27, 2013. 51 Roberts, 22. In   1977   Kapustin   joined   the   State   Symphonic   Orchestra   of   Cinematography.   The   function   of   this   orchestra   was the   recording   of   music   for   the   cinema.   He   worked   there   until   1984.   (52)    In   1980   Kapustin   performed   his   Concerto for   Piano   and   Orchestra   No.   2,   Op.   14   in   the   Tchaikovsky   Concert   Hall.   After   this   performance   he   decided   to   stop performing in public. However, Kapustin would appear on stage through the late 1990’s with his friend cellist Alexander   Zagorinsky   in   Russia   and   Germany.   (53)    Starting   from   the   1980’s   Kapustin   decided   to   dedicate   himself exclusively   to   composition.   In   1983   the   Music   Publishing   House   in   Moscow   accepted   for   publication   “Toccatina,” Op.   36.   This   was   the   first   piece   by   Kapustin   to   be   published.   (54)    In   the   interview   with   Martin   Anderson   Kapustin stated:   “I   don’t   like   to   play   on   stage,   but   I   do   like   to   record.”   (55)    During   the   period   of   1984   to   2007   Kapustin recorded   solo   albums   on   a   regular   basis.   Many   of   these   recordings   are   called   “Kapustin   plays   Kapustin,”   produced by   Japanese   label   Triton,   and   remain   unavailable   outside   of   Japan.   (56)    At   the   present   time   Kapustin   performs mostly for his close friends and for family members. His performances are usually highly anticipated. (57) The   major   focus   of   the   1980’s   shifted   from   music   for   piano   and   orchestra   to   music   written   exclusively   for   the piano.   Beginning   in   1984,   Kapustin   began   to   compose   his   piano   sonatas.   Ten   of   them   were   completed   by   the   end of 1999. In   2000   Kapustin   made   his   first   and   only   trip   to   England.   Nikolai   Kapustin   and   his   wife   Alla   spent   a   week   in London   in   May   of   2000.   It   took   them   three   days   to   get   to   England   by   train.   Kapustin   made   this   trip   to   attend   the formation    of    “Kapustin’s    Piano    Society,”    a    group    of    people    who    appreciate    the    music    of    Nikolai    Kapustin, organized   by   Jan   Hoare.   He   also   heard   the   Western   premiere   of   his   Piano   Sonata   No.   2,   Op.   54   by   Marc-Andre Hamelin,   one   of   the   most   respected   modern   day   pianists.   Martin   Anderson   described   it   this   way:   “Earlier   this year,    in    May,    Hamelin    gave    the    Western    premier    of    the    Second    Piano    Sonata    at    a    “Hamelin    weekend”    at Blackheath   Concert   Halls   in   southeast   London,   and   Kapustin   made   the   journey   from   Moscow   for   this   occasion.” (58)    During   this   visit   Kapustin   gave   a   few   interviews   to   the   English   newspapers.   For   example,   the   well-known interviews   with   Martin   Andersons   and   Leslie   De’Ath   were   recorded   at   that   time.   In   appreciation   for   his   reception in   London,   Kapustin   composed   his   Piano   Sonata   No.   11,   Op.   101   dedicated   to   London.   The   sonata   has   the nickname    “Twickenham,”    which    is    the    borough    of    the    southwest    area    of    London.    Russian    audiences    also appreciate   the   music   of   Nikolai   Kapustin.   The   concert   dedicated   to   Kapustin’s   70th   birthday   took   place   in   Gnesina College   (Moscow)   on   December   11,   2007.   Chamber   music   of   Nikolai   Kapustin   was   performed   in   the   first   part   of the   concert:   Elegy   for   Cello   and   Piano,   Op.   96,   Burlesque   for   Cello   and   Piano,   Op.   97,   Nearly   Waltz   for   Cello   and Piano,   Op.   98,   Sonata   for   Cello   and   Piano   No.   2,   Op.   84,   and   Trio   for   Flute,   Cello   and   Piano,   Op.   86.   In   the   second part   of   the   concert   was   orchestral   music   of   Nikolai   Kapustin:   Concerto   No.   2   for   Cello   and   String   Orchestra,   Op. 103   and   Concerto   for   Violin,   Piano   and   String   Orchestra,   Op.   105.   Alexander   Zagorinsky   performed   all   the   pieces written for cello. Nikolai Kapustin was in the audience. (59) Two   years   later,   on   March   8,   2009,   the   second   concert   dedicated   to   the   music   of   Nikolai   Kapustin   took   place   in   the Chamber   Hall   of   Moscow   Philharmonic   Society.   Later,   on   December   18,   2011,   the   third   concert   took   place   in   the Arkhipov’s   Musical   Salon   in   Moscow.   During   the   last   15   years   Kapustin   has   lived   in   his   Moscow   flat   with   his   wife Alla   Semionovna   Kapustina.   He   never   leaves   the   flat   except   to   travel   every   summer   to   their   summer   house.   By choice   he   has   separated   himself   from   the   outside   world.   Kapustin   lives   in   the   world   of   his   music,   his   own   world.   I asked   Alla   Semionovna   how   often   Nikolai   Kapustin   composes   music,   she   said:   “Kolia   (a   term   of   endearment   for Nikolai)   is   composing   all   the   time.”   Alla   is   his   best   friend,   a   person   who   is   taking   good   care   of   one   of   the   most talented   composers   of   our   time.   (60)   Most   of   the   summers   they   spend   in   their   summer   house,   which   is   situated 100   kilometers   to   the   south   of   Moscow.   Even   there,   Kapustin   does   not   stop   the   composition   process.   He   keeps saying   that   perhaps   it’s   time   to   quit,   that   the   music   is   not   coming   as   easily   as   it   did   before.   At   the   same   time   he feels   joyful   about   the   new   material   that   he   has   recently   composed.   Despite   the   fact   that   the   music   does   not   come as easily as it once did, the author believes that he will never stop composing! This is his destiny. 52 Roberts, 23. 53 Ibid. 54 Ibid. 55 Anderson, 97. 56 De’Ath, “Nikolai Kapustin.” 57 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, July 9, 2014. 58 Anderson, 93. 59 Ivan Fedorov, “,” accessed September 23, 2014, 60 Nikolai Kapustin, interview by author, December 27, 2013. The   author   is   a   Russian   born   classical   pianist   and   also   trained   as   a   jazz   vocalist   and   jazz   pianist.   She   can   observe research   into   the   music   of   Kapustin   both   as   a   jazz   performer   and   a   classical   performer.   She   is   a   close   friend   of Nikolai Kapustin.
Photo credits: Peter Andersson @ Schott Music
the.pianist   biography
pianist & composer