Natalya Antonova doesn’t have a favorite performance.
Antonova, pianist and professor at the Eastman School of Music, can’t name a single recital or concert she’s most proud of — she names a country.
“I would say that maybe, 15 years ago, it was my favorite tour,” Antonova said. “I was in Germany, and this was, for me, such an exciting tour.”
When traveling to small cities, the turnout she received was anything but minimal. People came with their children, over-dressed and excited because they attended every cultural event they could, Antonova said.
Antonova said she hopes her visit to Chautauqua Institution will garner the same reception — at 2 p.m. today in Sherwood-Marsh Studios, she will give a piano master class, which is open to the public. There is a $5 suggested fee for the class.
“I was astonished how well attended [the Germany concerts were] — what an interest in classic music,” Antonova said. “For them, it was a big event to come for the piano recital. So this tour all over Germany was unforgettable. It felt so, so needed. So appreciated.”
John Milbauer, interim co-director of the Piano Program, said Antonova will be bring a grand level of talent that Russian pianists inherently have.
“She’s a prime exponent of this very rich tradition of pianism,” Milbauer said. “It is great for our students to experience this tradition and to experience her.”
Having two great Russian pianists — Antonova and Alexander Gavyryluk — in Chautauqua at the same time is a fantastic opportunity for students, Milbauer said. Antonova and Milbauer crossed paths during a short period of time they were both at Eastman, and he has friends who have continued to study with her.
“She is a terrific candidate for this — she’s a wonderful teacher, and she has wonderful students,” Milbauer said. “She has an intensity and an energy to her playing that is compelling — a sense of emotion and an ear for beauty, and that’s something she imparts to her students.”