Irina Kataeva-Emar is the daughter of the conductor Vitaly Lataev and the music historian Lyubov Berger, acclaimed Moscow musicians.
Irina Kataeva-Emar graduated from the Moscow Conservatoire with distinction in piano studies under Professor Yakov Milshtein. While still a student, she set her sights on works by contemporary composers, many of them being performed for the first time by her – these have included works by Alexander Raskatov, Vladislav Shut and Alexander Vustin. She was actively involved in Edison Denisov’s creative club for contemporary music.
Arriving in France in 1985, her interest in 20th century music developed even further. She performs at contemporary music festivals in Italy, Finland, Great Britain and Spain as well as in programmes of new music in Paris (IRCAM, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Radio-France, centre Acanthes). Irina Kataeva-Emar has worked with such leading conductors of the 20th century as Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez and György Ligeti.
It is thanks to her that Olivier Messiaen’s scores have been performed for the first time in Russia and are now in the possession of the Moscow Conservatoire’s Library. Together with singer Natalia Rozanova she became the first performer of the Harawi vocal cycle in Russia, recording it for Melodiya. In many of the republics of the former USSR she gave (together with chamber music ensemble colleagues) the first performances of Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps, while in 1987 at the Avignon Festival she performed his Visions de l’Amen in the composer’s presence. Irina has gone on to perform many of the composer’s works with her colleagues in the composer’s presence. In 2008 to mark Olivier Messiaen’s one hundredth birthday and the opening of the Messiaen Festival, Irina Kataeva-Emar performed at concerts in Moscow.
At the request of György Ligeti, for Sony Classics she has recorded his early works for piano, vocal compositions and works for two pianos and for one piano and four hands (together with the pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard). Ligeti dedicated the étude Роur Irina to her, which she performed in 1997 at the Donauchingen Festival (Germany).
She has toured and given master classes in Italy, Germany, Finland, Great Britain, Spain, Russia and the USA. At the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, Irina Kataeva-Emar has appeared together with the actress Josiane Balasko, performing Saint-Saëns’ Carnaval des animaux suite.
Irina Kataeva-Emar has been the Artistic Director of the Musical Meetings festival in Pont-Saint-Esprit (France) and has taken part in concerts and master classes at the music festival in Kuhmo (Finland).
In 2005-2006 to mark Russia’s season in the USA she and the Russian Avant-Garde programme performed in concert in New York, Philadelphia and Middlebury. In 2008 and 2010 she was President of the jury of the International Competition of Contemporary Music for Young People in Freiburg (Switzerland) and a jury member of the Franco-Russian competition Concertino-2010 in Nizhny Novgorod.
Irina Kataeva-Emar is a professor of piano and accompanist classes at the École Nationale de la Musique et de la Dance (Paris-Évry, Essone).