Department of Music
   
   
  

If you wish to get in touch with our administrative staff, please see the admin staff contact page.

Image of Xenia Pestova

Xenia Pestova

Assistant Professor and Director of Performance, Faculty of Arts

Contact

Biography

In parallel to my academic duties at the University, I continue to maintain an active artistic profile as a pianist and keyboardist, instigating the creation and presentation of innovative music in settings ranging from traditional concert halls to alternative spaces that have included caves and nature reserves. I have received invitations to perform for festivals and organisations in 20 countries to date and had my work broadcast on national radio and TV networks worldwide.

You can find my recordings on major labels including the multinational Naxos Records as well as contemporary music labels NMC (UK) and Innova Recordings (USA). These include music by Australian-based New Zealand composer Miriama Young and UK-based composer Arlene Sierra, a solo release of new music for piano, toy piano and electronics (described as "a terrific album of dark, probing music" in the Chicago Reader) and recordings of John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen (the latter described as "a highly accomplished presentation of one of the landmark pieces in the second half of the 20th century" in The Guardian).

Before coming to Nottingham I was the Head of Performance at Bangor University from 2011 to 2015. I completed my Doctorate at McGill University in Canada in 2009. Prior studies took place at conservatories and universities in Wellington (New Zealand), London, Amsterdam and Montreal.

You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook or visit my website.

(Photo credit: Carla Rees)

Expertise Summary

As a performer, I venture well beyond the tried-and-tested models of playing the standard classical piano canon. I contribute to the creation of musical repertoire, reinvent and reshape the future of musical traditions, initiate dialogue with composers, performers and audiences and push existing instruments beyond their limits. To do this, I explore three interconnected and overlapping areas of artistic innovation: creation, collaboration and reinterpretation.

I instigate creation through embracing improvised approaches and bringing new repertoire to life, whether through performances of my own semi-improvised pieces, or together with radical composers living and working today. I continue searching for new sounds with alternative instruments and new technologies, often in collaboration with instrument designers, music technologists, composers and other performers, as a way to revitalize my own artistic practice. I am committed to continued reinvention through radical reimagining of the music of the past by placing it into contemporary contexts through innovative programming and presentation.

Please visit the Research Projects section of our website to find out more about my current work.

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

- Co-direction of the Nottingham Forum for Artistic Research (NottFAR)

- Work on the Magnetic Resonator Piano to create and develop new repertoire including a collaboration with the Ligeti String Quartet acknowledged by the PRS Foundation Women Make Music Prize

- Ongoing work in developing repertoire for non-standard keyboards and presenting existing pieces in unusual settings and contexts

- Ongoing work in performance anxiety research and applications to wellbeing

Recent Publications

  • 2020. The Piano Works of Gayle Young: Recording . 09/01/2020 00:00:00 (In Press.)
  • XENIA PESTOVA, 2019. Phosphorus: For Magnetic Resonator Piano and String Quartet (In Press.)
  • 2019. Magnetic String Resonance: Recording of new music for the Magnetic Resonator Piano . 09/01/2019 00:00:00 (In Press.)
  • XENIA PESTOVA, 2018. Ed Bennett: piano works (In Press.)

"The more Bach Pestova played, the more I wanted her to continue" - Middle C

"One of today's most innovative pianists" - Sounds Like Now

"An uncompromising artist" - Textura

"A model of poise and technical control… a first-rate contemporary pianist" - Fanfare

"One of the leading performers of contemporary, non-conformist music" - HisVoice

"Hold tight" - Chicago Reader

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 and approaches to improvisation.

I am also very interested in the various intersections between music and wellbeing. I am currently undergoing yoga teacher training to supplement my own creative practice as well as my teaching. I regularly carry out interventions and workshop sessions for groups and businesses on dealing with performance anxiety.

Past Research

- Recording project with the fluxtrio (with Lauren Sarah Hayes and Franziska Schroeder), funded by the PRS for Music Foundation Women Make Music programme.

- 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).

- 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. 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.

- 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

- Recording collaboration with Canadian Composer and instrument maker Gayle Young on a triptych of pieces for piano and electronics commissioned with funding from Canada Council from the Arts

- Designing an "Anxiety Toolkit" for use in schools from the performer's perspective in collaboration with the Freedom Factory

- Innovative presentation of J.S. Bach's "Goldberg Variations" with live electronics (with composer Karlheinz Essl)

  • 2020. The Piano Works of Gayle Young: Recording . 09/01/2020 00:00:00 (In Press.)
  • XENIA PESTOVA, 2019. Phosphorus: For Magnetic Resonator Piano and String Quartet (In Press.)
  • 2019. Magnetic String Resonance: Recording of new music for the Magnetic Resonator Piano . 09/01/2019 00:00:00 (In Press.)
  • XENIA PESTOVA, 2018. Ed Bennett: piano works (In Press.)
  • XENIA PESTOVA, 2018. Glowing Radioactive Elements: for Magnetic Resonator Piano
  • XENIA PESTOVA, 2017. Gothic: new contexts for old music: concert tour New Zealand, 07/01/2017 00:00:00
  • 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.
  • 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

Admission enquiries
All other enquiries
Telephone: +44 (0)115 951 5841
Email: music-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk