Ivelina Krasteva for the Keyboard Trust Simplicity and beauty of a thinking artist

Sir Anthonio Pappano

The Keyboard Charitable Trust presents
IVELINA KRASTEVA Recorded at St Matthew’s Church, Ealing
and now available to view on our YouTube channel https://youtu.be/KCYW_nt4Z40

Beethoven Sonata No. 30, Op. 109
Chopin Sonata No. 2, Op. 35
Scriabin Fantasy Op. 28

Some remarkable performances of three masterworks for the piano.Not only musicianly as you would expect from her studies with Ronan O’Hora and Katya Apekisheva.There was also the beauty of sound and her total concentration of passionate involvement.I had heard her impeccable Beethoven op 109 in a recital last year streamed live from that mecca for aspiring young musicians in Ealing.There must be something about the air in Ealing where musicians flock so readily.Until recently Murray Perahia was resident as is actually Dmitri Alexeev.When I was a student there used to be the indomitable Eileen Rowe in Ealing who dedicated her life to helping young musicians.Filling every room in her house with pianos where she would teach children getting remarkable results in the Associated Board Graded exams as she imbued them with her selfless passion with her superb teaching skills.We struggling students used to help her one day a week and be rewarded with a wonderful roast lunch with vegetables grown from her own garden!Katherine Stott ,Daniel Salamon,Tessa Nicholson,Vanessa Latarche were all part of this musical oasis.Sidney Harrison and Christopher Elton would readily judge her festivals.Her house was eventually sold when she died but the proceeds have gone to create a Trust for young Ealing based musicians.It is run by her star pupil Vanessa Latarche,Head of Piano at the Royal College of Music,and Dr Hugh Mather whose own children all fell under the spell of Eileen Rowe.Dr Mather has over the past years created a Mecca and oasis for young aspiring musicians .A redundant church ,St Mary’s Perivale/Ealing, where he and his colleagues,retired experts from the BBC,have added superb recording equipment to allow streaming world wide of their concerts.In the pandemic the Keyboard Trust too has had to invent an incentive both financial and spiritual for the young musicians it has under its wing.The KCT for thirty years has helped young musicians to bridge the gap between finishing their advanced studies and starting a career in music.Without any public performances streamed concerts was a solution that helped bridge the gap whilst the pandemic ran its terrible course.Thanks to the generosity of St Matthews church music director Richard Thomas we were able to add some more streamed concerts to our yearly limit of six that are generously offered by Steinway Hall in London.Public concerts are gradually returning and we are all thirsty for live performances and we hope that the tours that the KCT offer will shortly start again as the world slowly recovers from this dramatic period.Ivelina in her interesting post recital discussion with one of the artistic directors of the KCT explains what a special thing it is to be able to feel a live audience that is living the music with you and creating a two way give and take that is the very raison d’etre of live performances.

Beautiful fluidity and scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s very precise indications were the hallmarks of her musicianly interpretation.Her continuous gentle rounded movements were an ever present undercurrent that made all her sounds so natural and without any exaggeration.Even the rhetorical ‘Adagio espressivo ‘ interruptions were played with authority where the markings that abound of ‘f’ ‘p’ ‘crescendo’’espressivo’’ritardando ‘all had their just place as they took us to the mellifluous fluidity of Beethoven’s ‘vivace ,ma non troppo.The prestissimo of the second movement burst onto the scene with great rhythmic drive where even the most intricate contrapuntal passages were played with clarity and technical assurance like a great wind that was to take us from one oasis to another ,The Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo was given the enviable weight of a string quartet where without hardness each strand unites to create a miraculous whole.Even the first variation was give the same importance where in lesser hands it can seem like a slow waltz instead of a most profound enrichment of the theme.The contrast with the ‘leggiermente’ of the second variation was exhilarating like a gentle breeze blowing into this almost too serious scene.The contrasting legato episodes were played with sumptuous sounds and great control as the counterpoints seem to overlap with trills that were like gentle vibrations pointing the way.There was startling technical assurance in the burst of energy in the Allegro vivace of the third variation which made it’s dissolving into a variation of moving sands both intense and of ravishing beauty.There was absolute clarity in the authority she gave to the fifth variation as it wend its contrapuntal way to the pure magic of the sixth.Here the beauty and passionate outpourings were floated on a continuous stream of sounds with extraordinary control and sense of poetry A magic world that had opened up in Beethoven’s head and had taken us to this imaginary place where the peace and beauty he had been looking for he had finally found in this trilogy.The statement of the theme at the end was played with ravishing sound and great sensibility as it drew to the final moments of silence and peace.
The Sonata in B flat minor is one of the great works of Chopin.A real pinnacle amongst his compositions where he was able to unite the classical sonata form with all the freedom of his poetic soul.The first movement needs a great artist to be able to hold the architectural shape whilst not sacrificing the beauty of Chopin’s invention.The opening Grave was like a opening flourish before the real beginning at the ‘ doppio movimento’.It is true that Chopin’s compositional mastery was later to use this opening flourish in the bass in the development section but I am glad to see that the conjecture about whether to repeat the ‘grave’ in the ritornello was so simply and convincingly resolved by Ivelina today.Some very fine playing of this agitato with Chopin’s accents just given the weight intended to push the music forward towards the beautiful second subject.Here is marked ‘ sostenuto’ and so often this is a signal to change the tempo which undermines the very structure of this movement.Ivelina played it with great sensitivity and beauty with just a very slight easing of tension rather than changing the tempo.There was extraordinary technical control as the passion was allowed to rise but it was this continual forward movement that allowed her to give great architectural shape to this extraordinary movement .The Scherzo was played with remarkable technical prowess and control together with aristocratic grandeur as after the final octave statement the movement dissolves into a ‘più lento’of great beauty which Ivelina played with sentiment but never sentimentally where the beauty of sound was in startling contrast with the outer sections.The Marche Funèbre was played with exemplary weight and control and the stillness and ravishing beauty of the trio was memorable.The finale has been likened to the wind blowing over the graves and it was indeed a magnificent gust of notes that Ivelina shaped maybe a little too discreetly.There are no indications of a melodic thread to this movement but I feel there could be a a slight hint to give it more shape and form.It was magnificently played and mine is only a personal view.Ivelina’s was the view that Chopin had left on the page and like the scrupulous musician she is it was the composers indications that were her ultimate guiding light.
The Scriabin Fantasy is so often a barn storming show piece.In Ivelina’s hands it became a passionate outpouring but also a very intimate confession of sumptuously beautiful sounds of such fluidity and purity.There was delicacy and passion.An outpouring of romantic sounds in this early work where Scriabin’s mastery of the piano and its texture were to be transformed in his later years into something much more mystical.


Ivelina Krasteva was born in 1998 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She started to play the piano at the age of 4. Two years later she got accepted in the National School of Music and Dance in Plovdiv, where she studied with Elena Velcheva until her graduation with distinction in 2017. Currently, Ivelina is acquiring her undergraduate degree studying as a HWE and WL Tovery Scholar with Ronan O’Hora and Katya Apekisheva at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
Ivelina has received numerous awards from international competitions such as first prize and a livestreamed recital on Radio Plovdiv from the International Piano Competition “Schumann-Brahms” in Plovdiv, Bulgaria; third prize at the Pera Piano Competition in Istanbul, Turkey; second prize at The Golden Keys Piano Competition; third prize at International competition “Wiener Pianisten”, Vienna, Austria; and others. In addition to her studies, she has worked with internationally acclaimed musicians, such as Itamar Golan, Boris Petrushansky, Paul Roberts, Charles Owen, Noriko Ogawa, Stephan Moeller among others.
As a dedicated chamber musician, Ivelina has worked in various ensembles and has been a prize winner in numerous competitions such as the First prize at the International Music Competition in Belgrade, Serbia, category “Chamber music”, as a part of a piano trio, 2016. She has received tuition from the Endellion Quartet, the Gould Piano Trio, Carole Presland, Caroline Palmer, Adrian Brendel, Ralf Gothoni, Levon Chilingirian.
Ivelina has given concerts both as a solo pianist and with orchestra. She has performed in several countries – Bulgaria, Turkey, Austria, Romania, Italy and the UK. Highlights include a performance of Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra and Mozart’s 24th Piano Concerto with the Vratsa State Orchestra. Days before the UK lockdown Ivelina won the Coulsdon and Purley Concerto Competition, which will result in her concerto debut in the UK in the next season, performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no.3 with the Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra under Dominic Grier.
Throughout her education, she has been supported with scholarships from the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the “Prof. Lyuba Encheva” Foundation and the Henry Wood Accommodation Trust.

Please help us to continue supporting young artists like Ivelina by considering to make a donation to the Keyboard Trust. Every penny will be used to help these outstanding musicians.Here is the link should you wish to make a donation.


Keyboard Charitable Trust for Young Professional Performers
30th Anniversary Year
Patron: Sir Antonio Pappano

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