Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music?
I was born into a family of musicians: my mother is a pianist and she was my first teacher. She inspired me to take up the piano and supported me with my further studies.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
Of course my teachers: my mother Liubov Chistiakova, Elena Khoven, Anatoly Ryabov, Mikhail Voskresensky, Boris Petrushansky. I was also very lucky to have wonderful teachers of chamber music and accompaniment: Guzal Karieva, Sergey Voronov, Galina Brykina. And my musical life, thoughts and way of playing changed a lot when I moved to Italy.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Life and music are inseparable: that’s the greatest challenge of my career.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
I am never happy with my performance! But I’m really proud of my second CD of French Music which was recorded in Germany thanks to the Shigeru Kawai team. Things are good when you work with professionals.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
There are some pieces that are always successful: Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, Petroushka Suite by Stravinsky, Liszt’s Paraphrase “Don Juan”, La Valse by Ravel, several miniatures by Chopin.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
There is always something or someone who inspires me to make a choice. I like it when a concert program makes sense for me and for the public.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
It’s the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory. I have the best memories from there and it’s always a dream to go back there.
Who are your favourite musicians?
A lot of names and not only from Classical, but Jazz, Rock and Popular music as well. I love musicians, people with a great culture, education and respect for the listeners.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
It’s the first time I played with an orchestra at the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory. I played the 1st Chopin concerto there when I was 12.
I remember when there was an orchestral tutti I felt how the floor was vibrating under my feet and it was so thrilling and so exciting. It was the youth symphony orchestra of Moscow with lots of kids, but they were already professional musicians, like me, so for me it seemed to be very powerful and energising.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Practise with passion, never give up and never regret.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Peace and health of my family, well organised life, travels and concerts.
What is your present state of mind?
Fantastic! I became a mother one year ago and it’s an absolutely wonderful feeling.
Galina Chistiakova performs in Manchester Camerata UpClose: The Next Generation at Stoller Hall, Manchester on 4th October 2018. More information
Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos in D major K. 448
Schumann Andante and Variations in B flat major WoO 10
Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals
Piano Galla Chistiakova
Piano André Gallo
Manchester Camerata Principal Musicians