Warkworth Town Hall

4.00 pm


Solo piano

Described as “outstanding” (Tempo), “stunning” (Wales Arts Review), “ravishing” (Pizzicato) and “remarkably sensuous” (New Zealand Herald), London-based New Zealand pianist Xenia Pestova’s performances and recordings have earned her a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire of her generation. Lauded for “dynamic energy and crystalline precision” (RTE Nova Ireland), Pestova is featured at major festivals and venues around the world, including appearances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Glasgow Royal Concert Halls, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Festival Archipel (Geneva), Christchurch Arts Festival (New Zealand), Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival (Canada), Frontiers+ (Birmingham), Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Lanaudière (Canada), Festival Musica (Strasbourg), Sonorities (Belfast), Spark (USA) and Voix Nouvelles Royaumont (France). She is equally at home in experimental concert settings, and has performed in an underground World War II fortress, tropical gardens and a natural cave system inhabited by hibernating bats.




Following childhood music education in Siberia, Xenia’s studies took place with Judith Clark (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Philip Mead and Ian Pace (London), Hakon Austbo (Amsterdam), Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen (Avignon and Paris), Louise Bessette (Montreal) and Sara Laimon at McGill University, where she was awarded a Doctor of Music degree. From 2011-2015 she was the Head of Performance at Bangor University, where she founded and directed the highly successful INTER/actions Festival and Symposium for interactive electronic music. Currently, she is the Director of Performance at the University of Nottingham, artistic co-director of Nottingham Forum for Artistic Research and Transmission concert series (London), and continues to mentor emerging musicians in workshops at conservatories and universities around the UK, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, USA and Brazil.

Pestova’s commitment and dedication to promoting music by living composers led her to commission dozens of new works and collaborate with major innovators in contemporary music. Her widely acclaimed recordings of core piano duo works of the Twentieth Century by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen with pianist Pascal Meyer are available on four CDs for Naxos Records. Her recording of Stockhausen’s “Mantra” was praised as “a highly accomplished presentation of one of the landmark pieces in the second half of the 20th century” in the Guardian (UK). Her evocative solo debut of premiere recordings for the Innova label titled “Shadow Piano” was described as a “terrific album of dark, probing music” by the Chicago Reader. Currently, she is the Director of Performance at the University of Nottingham, and continues to mentor emerging musicians in workshops at conservatories and universities around the UK, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, USA and Brazil.


Claude Debussy | La cathédrale engloutie
Ed Bennett | Gothic -  NZ premiere 
Scarlatti | Keyboard Sonatas in D Major, K9 and D Minor K10
Patricia Alessandrini | Étude d’après Scarlatti -  NZ premiere
Daria Kwiatkowska | After Brin (homage to Berio) - NZ premiere
Luciano Berio | Six Encores, selections 
Bach | Sechs kleine Praludien, No.6 in C Minor, BWV 939 
Glenda Keam | Mind Springs -  World premiere)


Annea Lockwood | RCSC -  NZ premiere
Bach | Sechs kleine Praludien fur Anfanger auf dem Klavier No 5 in E Major & No.6 in E Minor BWV 933 
Heather Hindman | Two and a Half Miniatures 
Bach |  Sechs kleine Praludien  No.4 in A Minor & No.6 in C Major BWV 939 
Arlene Sierra | Birds and Insects, selections -  NZ premiere
Bach |  Sechs kleine Praludien  fur Anfanger auf dem Klavier No.4 in D Major BWV 933
Clara Schumann | Preludes and Fugues, selections)
Miriama Young | The Grey Ghost  - World premiere


In Xenia's words "This programme presents meticulously crafted works by living composers from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada and NZ in context with the great keyboard masters of the Baroque, Romantic and 20th Century periods. Mysterious, dark or playful in turn, each piece offers a glimpse of a different world and teaches us that the music of the present is inseparable from the music of the past. I am especially excited to feature several wonderful pieces by female composers as well as NZ composers, including two very special premieres of new works by Glenda Keam and Miriyama Young."

Performance of The Grey Ghost relies on audience participation. To accompany the live piano, a soundtrack of bird songs may be played from the smartphones of audience members during the performance. The App - with its embedded audio - is available for free download from the AppStore (Apple devices) or Google Play (Android devices), or simply search for SyncSound. Once downloaded, follow Xenia's downbeat to press ‘play.' Download of this App, and playback during the concert, is of course entirely voluntary.

Watch Xenia playing an excerpt from The Book of Sounds at 
and see more examples of her playing at