Biography

BIO 2017-11-10T11:25:58+00:00

The Russian-American cellist Nina Kotova, has been praised by Gramophone as a “strong and individual artist” and by the Los Angeles Times as “a talent to reckon with- poised, committed, graceful and spirited.”

Ms. Kotova has been internationally recognized as one of the outstanding instrumentalists of her generation. She has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras across the globe and has repeatedly toured the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.

Nina Kotova performing with an orchestra at the age of 11

Nina Kotova performing with an orchestra at the age of 11

Ms. Kotova has performed on Red Square in Moscow, for the Imperial family of Japan and at Buckingham Palace. She has appeared in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, at Town Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York,  at Ravinia, Wigmore Hall, the Barbican Centre in London, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, , the Esplanade in Singapore, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Berlin Philharmonic to name a few.

According to Newsweek magazine, “she‘s a fantastically gifted cellist.. and has a powerful stage presence.” Time magazine states: “She is a musician of high seriousness and real talent”. Ms. Kotova has also been the subject of numerous features in Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and the Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, Hello magazine and has appeared on television on A&E’s “Breakfast with the Arts”, “Hard Talk” and the “Charlie Rose Show”. Ms. Kotova has appeared on the covers of Classic FM, Gramophone China, Il Venerdi Italia and Reader’s Digest.

Ms. Kotova has collaborated with musicians such as violinists Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Maxim Vengerov and Nikolaj Znaider, guitarist Sir Angel Romero, flutist Sir James Galway and pianists Jose Feghali, Helene Grimaud, Lang Lang and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Ms. Kotova has performed with conductors including Teodor Currentzis, Stephane Deneve, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Vladimir Jurowski, Claus Peter Flor, Alain Lombard, Nicola Luisotti, Sir Antonio Pappano, Libor Pesek, Tamas Vasary, Hans Vonk and Jaap Van Zweden.

Among Ms. Kotova’s honors is the Tuscan – American Association award for her outstanding cultural contributions as a co-founder of the Tuscan Sun Festival. Ms. Kotova also co-founded the Festival Del Sole/Festival Napa Valley in Napa Valley.  She calls the Festivals “a mecca and meeting place for artists and admirers of the arts alike”.

Nina Kotova’s recordings include her chart-topping debut album for Philips Classics, the Bloch “Shelomo” with the Philharmonia of Russia conducted by Constantine Orbelian along with her own Cello Concerto for Delos, the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton for Sony Classics, the Deutsche Grammophon compilation “Masters of the Bow”, which pays homage to the greatest cellists of the last 50 years, and the complete Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello for Warner Classics. This past spring, Ms. Kotova released her latest CD: the Rachmaninoff and Profkofiev Cello Sonatas with pianist Fabio Bidini for Warner Classics.

A champion of contemporary music, Ms. Kotova has commissioned and premiered works of leading composers including Christopher Theofanidis, Dmitry Smirnov, Michael Nyman, and Sir Anthony Hopkins. She recently premiered Jonathan Leshnoff’s Cello Concerto with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra.

A versatile collaborator, Ms. Kotova has performed the Vivaldi double concerto with Bobby McFerrin, appeared on the MTV Music Awards at the MET with Trent Reznor, appeared in Matthew Barney’s Cremaster, performed with Sting and Trudy Styler in the production “Twin Spirits” celebrating the life of Robert Schumann, performed Saint-Saens “The Swan” with Nina Ananiashvili, Irina Dvorovenko, Lil Buck and the soloists of the Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Nina has appeared with John Malkovich in Iglesias’ “A Registered Patent” and collaborated with Jeremy Irons in Chopin: Seduction, Smoke and Music.

As a composer Nina Kotova has written numerous works for cello and orchestra. Her first Cello Concerto premiered in San Francisco in 2000. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “like Wolfgang Rihm in 1974, so Kotova in 2000 stands in defiance of both the emotional austerity of last century’s modernism and the new simplicity of so much recent music.”  Ms. Kotova was commissioned to write a Triple Concerto by the University of Texas and toured her Cello Concerto “The Tuscan” for cello and chamber orchestra with Dmitry Sitkovetsky conducting across the US featuring its NY premiere at Carnegie Hall.

Nina Kotova and Jean-Yves Thibaudet: Photo by J. Henry Fair

Nina Kotova and Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Russian-born cellist Nina Kotova began cello studies at six. She studied at the Moscow Conservatory and graduated from the Musikhochschule in Cologne. She gave her first performance as a soloist with orchestra at age 11 in Russia. At sixteen, Ms. Kotova made her Western debut in Prague with the Prague Radio Orchestra after winning the 1st Prize at the “Concertino Prague“ competition in 1986.  She has carried on the tradition of not only her legendary father, Russian double-bassist Ivan Kotov, but her teachers and mentors, which include Igor Gavrysh, Valentin Feigin and Boris Pergamenschikov, Ms. Kotova has also taught as an Artist in Residence at the University of Texas in Austin.

The highlights of this season include a recital with Helene Grimaud, a concerto tour collaboration with John Malkovich, a concerto and recital tour in Korea and the upcoming releases of her Tchaikovsky recording with Vladimir Fedoseyev and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, and her Romantic Recital album for Warner Classics.

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“…she is a fantastically gifted cellist. Very expressive, imaginative… she has a powerful stage presence.”

– NEWSWEEK Magazine