Asya Sorshneva, violin/ alto (en)

Asya Sorshneva graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, where she studied under Maya Glezarova, an assistant lecturer under the patronage of the renowned Russian professor Yuri Yankelevich, who trained an entire pleiad of world-standard violinists, whose name are as familiar to professional connoisseurs as to educated listeners. Possessing such a treasury of tradition in her background, while evaluating modern tendencies in the performing arts, Asya Sorshneva is trying to establish a golden mean between modern tendencies and the old masters’ precious inheritance in order to evaluate her own performing style.

Asya has played the violin from the age of 3. She started her violin studies at Kolomna, in the Moscow district, and continued at the Gnesin School, Moscow. Already as a child she became a laureate of 11 competitions, including the National Tchaikovsky Awards (at the age of 8). When she was 13 she was awarded a ‘Novye imena’ (‘New Names’) stipend, and at the age of 20, already a student, she received a stipend and an opportunity to join the Russian Performing Arts Foundation.

She entered the Moscow Conservatory in 2002, and continued her graduate studies (violin solo) there afterwards, remaining in Glesarova’s class. As a student, she started making concert tours. In 2004 she was for the first time invited to the ‘Vozvrashchenie’ Festival (Festival of Return); since then she has become a regularly featured artist at this well-known annual event.

In 2006 she became a member of the Credo Quartet, directed by the professor of piano at the Moscow Conservatory, an artist of the renowned Moscow Trio, pianist Alexander Bonduryansky. Soon after this quartet became acclaimed both in Russia and internationally. Asya acknowledges her role in the chamber ensemble as a priority in her musical occupation. Hence her participation at the Summer Academy in Kronberg, Germany in 2008 was a significant milestone in her professional career.

Asya was chosen from many young musicians from different countries at a competition held by the Institute of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt-am-Maine. All the winners arrived in Kronberg on 6 June in order to perform with world stars over a 10-day period. Thus, as a part of a project ‘Chamber Music Connects the World’, Asya gave concerts together with violinist Gidon Kremer and cellists Gary Hoffman and Lynn Harrell, performing compositions by Cesar Franck, Peter Tchaikovsky, and Felix Mendelssohn.

Asya’s participation in the Academy, the value of which cannot be overestimated, was clouded by non-musical issues which jeopardised her reputation. After their triumphal First Prize at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition in Easton, USA in 2008, Credo was obliged to give a concert tour in the US. The dates of that tour coincided with the Academy in Kronberg. The concert dates could not be changed, and the Organizing Committee informed the Quartet that their award would be disqualified if they refused to tour (as this would infringe competition rules). Regretfully, after long consideration, the Quartet decided to cancel their American tour in favour of Asya’s trip to Kronberg; and soon they received notice that their award had been abrogated. (The decision to award prizes is a prerogative of the jury members only; thus it cannot be appealed; and the musicians had not received any similar notice from the jury members.) This decision taken by Asya and her colleagues, supported by Gidon Kremer, does not indicate her neglect of artistic discipline and responsibilities, but shows her artistic priorities. An artist’s formation requires the establishment of firm priorities, even if paying the price for that is necessary.

Playing extensively as a member of her chamber ensemble and also as a soloist, Asya Sorshneva is actively involved in collaboration with symphonic orchestras. Since 2003 she has been an artist at the ‘Novaya Rossiya’ (‘New Russia’) orchestra, directed by Yuri Bashmet. Since 2005 she performs regularly at the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra, directed by James Levine – this is quite a rare honour as this orchestra constantly renews its participants. Since 2006 she has played regularly at the Miyazaki International Music Festival, directed by Charles Dutoit (this orchestra is also annually renewed).

Asya was fortunate to be involved in various inspiring projects. For instance, the play Mozart and Salieri (directed by Anatoli Vassiliev; music by Vladimir Martynov) with the Moscow Academy of Ancient Music Opus Posth, directed by Tatiana Grindenko; The Pocket Symphony, directed by Nazar Kozhukhar; Musica Aeterna, directed by Teodor Currentzis. Her collaboration and friendship with eminent musicians, sharing their original and independent artistic Weltanschauung, has proved a powerful influence on the young artist and on her personal outlook. “I retain the internal freedom which I learned from these people”, — Asya says, “I am trying to return to my childhood state of mind: freedom from fear of condemnation if I do something wrong, and the ability to develop new fields of knowledge using the insight I was born with”. Freedom of mind, constant search, interest in details and striving for innovation are features of Asya Sorshneva’s style. Summing up these traits, she compares her interpretation of music to “a beam of light magnified by glass, deflected in anew direction.”