Members of our Schoenhut Artist Roster are considered family so keeping in touch and offering ongoing encouragement of their musical endeavors is one of our top priorities. The value in these artists lies not only in their work’s amazing quality, but also in their support of the toy piano which has served as the foundation of Schoenhut Piano Company since 1872.
Concert pianist Xenia Pestova has an extensive background in both musical performance and composition. Her talent has taken her many places and continues to do so. We were thrilled to receive a message from the artist requesting to special order a 37-key baby grand model to play at the Cluster New Music & Integrated Arts Festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CA on March 8th.
Our toy pianos make appearances at some very unique music festivals, but the Cluster Fest is one of the best we’ve seen yet.
Cluster is propelled by strength found in numbers and the energy created by integrating diverse artistic communities – combining collective mentality with individual sensibility. – Clusterfestival.com
Visit their Facebook for photos of past events and updates on 2014 performers.
I got a chance to catch up with Pestova and learn how she’s feeling in anticipation of her first-time performance at the Cluster Fest. *Hint: She’s very excited!
SPC: How did you choose your performance piece for this event?
XP: I will be playing several pieces for toy piano solo and toy piano with electronics. Some of these were written especially for me, which is always fun, while others were pieces I discovered through other performers. I do however have personal connections with all of the composers – I would have met and worked with most of them, or at least had extensive correspondence. I think it’s really important to have this connection with living composers and the music of today.
SPC: How does the toy piano fit in with Cluster Music Fest’s lineup of performances and instruments?
XP: This is an interesting question – the organisers originally wanted me to perform some piano pieces, but in the end the venue doesn’t have a piano, so we had to think creatively. Presenting music for toy piano solves this logistical challenge perfectly: it’s a portable instrument that I can take almost anywhere, and it allows me to be more versatile as a pianist rather than just demand my 9-foot Steinway.
SPC: What is your favorite part about performing at events like this one?
XP: I look forward to connecting with the audience members and other musicians – composers and performers at the festival. It seems to offer a real community feel, and I enjoy getting to know people and chatting after the concerts as well as hearing their impressions about the music. xx
Pestova will auction off the piano after the conclusion of the event. Follow her Twitter to stay up to date on bidding opportunities and to keep up with cute tweets like this one:
Super helpful when trying to stick score pages together pic.twitter.com/CVbfX3R2zP
— Xenia Pestova (@XPressz) February 12, 2014
Pestova’s career headlines include making frequent appearances at international festivals in over nine countries, sharing the stage with groups like the Stroma music ensemble in New Zealand and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, and winning a Diapason d’Or award from France.