Interview with Tanya Anisimova
By Lauren Kingsland – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tanya Anisimova, cellist and composer, spoke with me recently from her Kentlands home, against a backdrop of gorgeous paintings by her husband, artist Alexander Anufriev. She told me the story of their collaboration project to create and perform her original music to complement his paintings on a theme. And, so our conversation began with her sources of inspiration.
Her musical journey began in her early years in Chechnya, where her grandfather played Chechen folk music for her on the piano. During her rigorous musical schooling, she was able to study with some of the finest teachers and graduated with distinction in cello, piano and voice from the Moscow Conservatory. She came to the USA where she studied cello at Boston University and went on to receive a doctorate from Yale School of Music (1995) with a thesis inspired by J.S. Bach as she compared his works for solo violin and solo cello. Tanya transcribed Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin for cello, in the original keys, and recorded all of them in 2001-2004.
Now years later, as an internationally renowned performer, teacher and composer with experience and maturity, Tanya is re-recording those J.S. Bach sonatas and partitas. She shared with me that her inspiration to re-record comes from the acclaimed pianist Glenn Gould. He came to prominence when he recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations in1955 when he was 22. He recorded them all again in 1981, taking advantage of the advances in recording technology while capturing the insights of more than 20 years of musical life. “Gould’s two recordings of the Goldberg Variations demonstrate something profound – that two different approaches to the same notes say a great deal about how one ages and how tastes change over time.” (https://interlude.hk/returning-studio/) Tanya Anisimova’s years of life experience, professional and personal, have shaped her skill as a passionate, insightful performer. What a gift to the world for her to revisit the Bach partitas and sonatas as the musician she is today.
LOCAL NOTE: Tanya and her husband lived for a time in the historic town of Washington Grove, MD. While there, she was the Artistic Director of the Mouse Trap Concert series, familiar to some of our readers, as an outstanding line-up of highest quality performances held in the intimate space of MacCathran Hall. No matter where Tanya is, music is there.
Our talk shifted to the twelve years that she and her husband lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Central Virginia. Amid the vibrant music scene, there she was inspired by the rich tapestry of folk music in Appalachia, drawn from Bohemian, German, Cherokee and British Isles roots. Folk music, polished by the generations of people who have sung or played the songs, is a rich resource for composers of all types of music. Many European composers in the classical tradition have drawn on folk music for inspiration – Vaughn Williams, Beethoven, Bartok, and Dvorak.
Influenced by the incredible power of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Tanya was inspired to compose new works, including her Trio-Toccata “Appalachi” which was premiered on a peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains as a part of the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival.
Tanya says, “I still see the Blue Ridge Mountains in my dreams. I hear their voice; it sounds like a very deep lasting ring of a low-pitched gong.” For Tanya, the name APPA-LA-CHI is a powerful combination of the three important symbols: APPA (father), LA (mountain, elevation, teacher), CHI (energy, powerful current).
In these are trying times – war, pandemic, and climate change, we all need inspiration, healing and hope to lift us up and give us strength. Tanya’s music is a powerful energy for connection with our shared humanity and the great depths within us all that is especially important for healing. What a privilege to have her music in our midst. Please join Tanya Anisimova in concert at the Arts Barn on Saturday, March 4, in person or via livestream.
TANYA ANISIMOVA, Folk Reimagined: Appalachian Dreams
March 4, 2023
8 p.m. • Arts Barn
Tickets $35/$20 Youth 18 and under; Livestream $20
Imagine the soulful voice of the cello singing from the deep, rich river of folk music that has inspired great music over time and around the world. Now imagine that cello in the hands of a superbly skillful and passionate performer and composer Playing her own compositions evoking the musical tapestry of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Tanya Anisimova is that performer and she will premiere her composition APPALACHI at the Arts Barn at 8 p.m. on March 4, 2023. She will be joined by guest artists, Peter Omelchenko, mandolin/dombra and Allen Yoo, cello. In person and livestream tickets available.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE