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Nikolai Kapustin

Langue disponible : anglais
Born in 1937, Ukrainian pianist and composer Nikolai Kapustin is mostly known for his jazz-influenced piano compositions, but he also composed chamber music and concertos for other instruments. In 1953 as a teenager, Kapustin discovered jazz and incorporated it into his musical studies with the support of his music teacher. This early influence permeated Kapustin’s compositional style, which combines the harmonic and melodic characteristics of jazz, with the formal concepts of the Baroque and Classical periods. Kapustin also has a rich legacy as a performer. He began playing the piano in 1949, studying with Lubov Frantsuzova. Later in 1953, he heard jazz for the first time and was fascinated by pianists such as Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. Avrelian Rubbakh, his piano instructor at that time, supported his interests in jazz. In 1961 he graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, studying piano with Alexander Goldenweiser. Another influential musician that Kapustin encountered was Alexander Tsfasman, who is credited as being the first Russian pianist to make a jazz recording. Kapustin met him in the 1960s and absorbed Tsfasman's flawless piano technique. This encounter also made an impression on his style as a jazz composer. It was around this time when Kapustin joined the Soviet government-sponsored jazz band led by Yuri Saulsky. Kapustin performed in small and large jazz ensembles and continued to compose and perform classical music until 1980, when he decided to focus more on composing, though he continued performing on rare occasions and made many recordings. The albums 24 Preludes in Jazz Style and Jazz Pieces for Piano feature Kapustin performing his own compositions. Because of the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, Kapustin was unable to get his works published until around 2000. Artists such as Immanuel Davis and Christine Rauh enthusiastically discovered and recorded his music. On Rauh’s 2016 release Nikolai Kapustin: Works for Cello, she recorded her arrangement for cello and vibraphone of Kapustin’s Jazz Concert Etudes for piano.
© RJ Lambert /TiVo
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