An admirer of Vladimir Horowitz while studying in Moscow, modern day piano virtuoso and Russian-born Lola Astanova embraces her former fellow countryman’s style and exciting technique to bring power and beauty to the stage. Whether solo or as an artistic collaborator, the international music sensation infuses the grand bravura of Horowitz throughout each of her performances across the globe.
Born in the former Soviet Union, Astanova’s journey in music began at age six when her mother gave young Lola her first piano lessons. By age eight, Astanova began appearing as a performer and achieved international note before she turned twelve. Realizing that her career had little chance in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, she moved to the United States. Her first American break came when she appeared on the Today show starring in a “Classical Superstars Fantasy Concert” with the Kirov Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev, and hosted by Regis Philbin.
Her Carnegie Hall debut came in January 2012 with a special “Tribute to Horowitz” performance. The concert, chaired by Donald Trump and hosted by Julie Andrews, featured Astanova who delivered a triumphant performance in front of a sold out crowd. Following this event, Astanova received the distinguished Horowitz Award and was invited to perform with the legendary pianist Byron Janis during his Lif etime Achievement Award ceremony at Lincoln Center.
Other notable artistic collaborations include performances with San Diego Symphony’s music director Jahja Ling, which started with Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto at the Kravis Center in Palm Beach. Astanova and Ling have consistently collaborated over the past two years, from their concert in San Diego with the San Diego Symphony to a headlining performance at the prestigious Lincoln Center with the Orchestra of St. Lukes. Most recently, Astanova performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, one of the most sought-after performing ensembles in the world. The orchestra, which was also led by Ling, performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 to rave reviews. Astanova and Ling also performed at the Civic Theatre in New Orleans with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra for their annual gala, the Fabergé Opus Ball.
Astanova has also consistently collaborated with conductor Gerard Schwarz. She brought her emotional depth and dramatic stage presence to Brisbane, Australia, at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, accompanied by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, with Schwarz as guest conductor. She then took her talents to the world-class Maier Foundation Performance Hall at the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences and was accompanied by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, again with Schwarz conducting. In 2015, Astanova returned by special request, with expanded performances. In 2012 and 2013, Astanova performed multiple concerts to international acclaim in Palermo and Taormina, Sicily. These special orchestral performances continued in 2015 in Palermo, Taormina, Florence, and Milan. By popular demand in the state of Florida, Astanova has concluded her 7th gala performance with Palm Beach Symphony under the direction of Ramón Tebar and on May 15, 2016, her fifth performance, a Grand Season Finale, with Miami Symphony Orchestra (MISO) and Maestro Ed Marturet.
Apart from the stage, Astanova is using YouTube and other new media tools to communicate with her fans, singlehandedly defining what it means to be a modern-day virtuoso. Through her videos, millions of followers have discovered the music of Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff for the first time and her original virtuoso transcriptions of popular music have become a YouTube sensation. She has unveiled a pure, personal and honest 12-part YouTube series, “La Musique et L’Ardeur” bringing the audience closer to the artist and to classical music. Her unique blend of effortless technical skill makes her one of the most dynamic and sought-after pianists performing today.
Miami Symphony Orchestra’s (MISO) 2015-2016 closing performance is Sunday, May 15 at 6 p.m. at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall. Highlighting the season’s finale, Astanova, accompanied by the MISO orchestra under the direction of conductor Eduardo Marturet, will present Mozart’s D minor for Piano and Orchestra, the composer’s first piano concerto ever written in a minor key.