‘Helena Basilova played sensitively and with flair’ – The New York Times.
Among the many clichés surrounding Russia, perhaps none is more persistent than a nostalgia Russians supposedly feel for a time they may never have known. Helena Basilova, born in Russia to two established pianists/composers but raised in The Netherlands, subverts all other stereotypes. But her personal history did – undeniably – instill her with a sense of melancholy. This wistfulness is never stronger than in her connection to Russian music and its widespread influence in (Eastern) Europe. Though Helena performs repertoire from all periods and styles, her story has led her time and again to Russian composers such as Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Scriabin.
One such connection, to the work of Leoš Janáček, resulted in a CD with piano works by this Czech composer, which was released in January 2013 on Quintone Records. Praised in European media, the release led to performances in Japan, India, USA, Russia and Denmark, allowing Helena to promote Janáček’s piano music on a global stage.
Picturing Scriabin, recorded at the Banff Centre Canada and released in April 2015 is Helena Basilova’s follow-up album, again highlighting a composer that has not always received the attention he deserves, with the purposes of bringing him to a wider audience. This album was presented on the 100th anniversary of Scriabin’s death, April 27th 2015, in the renowned Scriabin Museum Concert Hall, Moscow. Rendez-vous Russe recorded on MDG Records Germany with saxophonist Eva van Grinsven has won an Echo Klassik Award in 2017.
Besides a solo career that had Helena perform at halls as prestigious as The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Symphony Space NYC, the HPAC Japan and the NCPA in Mumbai, she has a profound love for chamber music. Her performance have ranged from Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time in New York City to Beethoven’s violin sonatas in San Antonio-Texas and Webern’s Quartet op. 22 at the Delft Chamber Music Festival. To widen the scope and reach of classical music, Helena composed programs combining piano music with poetry, theatre, philosophy and visual arts and is always searching for new ways to bring music to the audience. She also collaborates frequently with contemporary jazz musicians and living composers, performing new music.
Her latest project in 2018: publishing and recording the music of her late father Alexander Basilov, made Helena realise the importance of heritage and the passing on of tradition which influenced her choice of programs and projects for the upcoming seasons. Besides solo performances, future plans include performing music by Alfred Schnittke together with violinist Diamanda La Berge Dramm and working together with cellist Maya Fridman and guitarist Reinier Baas.
In 2016 Helena founded a new concert series in Amsterdam named Mevrouw de Uil organising concerts in a monumental synagogue.
Helena Basilova has received scholarships from NYU, Nuffic, NFPK, Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds, Josepha Brouwer Scholarship Foundation and plays on a Steinway Grand Piano, kindly lent to her by the Dutch National Music Instrument Foundation. From September 2016 Helena works as a Piano Professor at the ArtEZ Conservatory in The Netherlands.
Text: Wouter de Iongh
Helena Basilova played sensitively and with flair.
The New York Times
Een overtuigend pleidooi voor Skrjabin’s muziek.
Soms blaast ze een frisse bries door de noten maar vaker overheerst de melancholie die zo mooi bij de werken van Janáček past.