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Xenia Pestova

Assistant Professor and Director of Performance, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

PLEASE NOTE: Dr Xenia Pestova will be on research leave in Semester 2 (Spring), 2016-17. Described as "outstanding" (Tempo), "stunning" (Wales Arts Review), "ravishing" (Pizzicato) and "remarkably sensuous" (New Zealand Herald), 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), 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. 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. 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. Follow on Twitter or Facebook. (Photo credit: Carla Rees)

Expertise Summary

Please visit the Extended Performance Practice page. I enjoy working on performance practice issues in a wide range of repertoire. My particular interests lie in contemporary performance, collaboration with composers on new repertoire and performance with live electronics and new technologies. I am also excited about working with new instruments and different keyboard interfaces including toy pianos and digital instruments. My secondary research interests include the music of Olivier Messiaen, piano music of the early Russian and Soviet Avant-garde, approaches to music and health and improvisation.

Teaching Summary

My teaching at Nottingham will include modules on collaboration between performers, composers and music technologists, chamber music and ensemble performance and musicians' health. I will also be… read more

Research Summary

Collaboration with composer Ed Bennett on a large-scale piece for piano and electronics. This work was commissioned by INTER/actions Festival for Interactive Electronic Music / Frontiers+ Festival… read more

Recent Publications

  • XENIA PESTOVA, 2016. Approaches to notation in music for piano and live electronics: the performer's perspective. In: FRIEDEMANN SALLIS and VALENTINA BERTOLANI, eds., Live-electronic music: composition, performance, study Routledge. (In Press.)
  • 2014. John Cage: Music for Two Keyboards, Volume 2 . Naxos. 04/01/2014 00:00:00
  • 2014. John Cage: Music for Two Keyboards, Volume 3 . Naxos. 07/01/2014 00:00:00
  • 2014. Arlene Sierra: Urban Birds . NMC Records. 07/21/2014 00:00:00

My teaching at Nottingham will include modules on collaboration between performers, composers and music technologists, chamber music and ensemble performance and musicians' health. I will also be leading performance workshops for soloists exploring a range of issues that affect instrumentalists and singers.

I am interested in supervising postgraduate students working on all aspects of contemporary performance practice, music with new technologies, live electronics, extended techniques, collaborative creation of new repertoire, Twentieth Century repertoire, approaches to improvisation, and any of my secondary research interests. Please visit the Extended Performance Practice page to get an idea of my research and supervision interests.

Current Research

  • Collaboration with composer Ed Bennett on a large-scale piece for piano and electronics. This work was commissioned by INTER/actions Festival for Interactive Electronic Music / Frontiers+ Festival / Cork Orchestral Society and was made possible with funding through Beyond Borders from the PRS for Music Foundation, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Wales. Following successful first performances in Birmingham, New York and Belfast, the piece will be performed in Dublin, London, Bangor and Cork and recorded. Listen to excerpts here.
  • Collaboration with composer Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and ROLI on a new work for the Seaboard (a new electronic instrument) and live electronics, premiered in Birmingham in 2015 and funded by Canada Council for the Arts. We are currently working on a collaborative paper describing the process.

Past Research

  • Research on repertoire for keyboards and electronics, culminating in numerous premieres, a journal article and a solo recording of works for piano, toy piano and electronics for Innova Records. Book chapter currently in press.
  • Recordings of John Cage: Works for Two Keyboards (three CDs) and Stockhausen: Mantra for two pianos and electronics for the Naxos label with pianist Pascal Meyer. Digitisation process of the electronic processing required for Mantra in collaboration with researchers in Canada (McGill University), USA (UCSD) and Holland.
  • McGill Digital Orchestra Project: development of new digital musical instruments with a team of music technologists, composers and performers.

Future Research

  • I am about to embark on an exciting project with the fluxtrio (with Lauren Sarah Hayes and Franziska Schroeder), funded by the PRS for Music Foundation Women Make Music programme. This collaboration will feature workshops, performances and a recording of a new work with improvised elements and includes a residency at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queens University in Belfast.
  • Ongoing collaboration with Canadian tabla player Shawn Mativetsky to commission and perform new repertoire for tabla and portable keyboards (toy piano and Indian harmonium) rooted in the traditions of Indian classical music (Canadian tour in 2016).
  • XENIA PESTOVA, 2016. Approaches to notation in music for piano and live electronics: the performer's perspective. In: FRIEDEMANN SALLIS and VALENTINA BERTOLANI, eds., Live-electronic music: composition, performance, study Routledge. (In Press.)
  • 2014. John Cage: Music for Two Keyboards, Volume 2 . Naxos. 04/01/2014 00:00:00
  • 2014. John Cage: Music for Two Keyboards, Volume 3 . Naxos. 07/01/2014 00:00:00
  • 2014. Arlene Sierra: Urban Birds . NMC Records. 07/21/2014 00:00:00
  • 2013. John Cage: Music for Two Keyboards, volume 1 . Naxos. 10/01/2013 00:00:00
  • 2013. Shadow Piano . Innova Recordings. 11/19/2013 00:00:00
  • ANDREW LEWIS and XENIA PESTOVA, 2012. The Audible and the Physical: a Gestural Topology for 'Mixed' Electronic Music In: EMS12.
  • 2010. Stockhausen: Mantra . Naxos. 09/01/2010 00:00:00
  • XENIA PESTOVA, 2009. Models of interaction: performance strategies in works for piano and live electronics Journal of Music, Technology and Education. 2(2+3), 113-126

Department of Music

The University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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