Sergei Babayan (piano)
Daniil Trifonov (piano)
Andante and Variations in B Flat Major for Two Pianos, Op. 46
Fantasie in F Minor for Four Hands, Op. 103
Suite No 1 for Two Pianos, Op. 5
Suite No 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 17
In memory of Vera Gornostayeva
Artist, teach your pupil so that in the future
there is someone to learn from...
Somehow it happened that in common use the first word of this epigraph was changed for another, giving the aphorism a broader meaning: “Teacher, teach your pupil...” Vera Vasilievna Gornostayeva (Vera meaning “Faith” in Russian) was an outstanding artist, but first and foremost she was a great teacher and a mentor to several generations of pianists. She began to appear on the concert stage regularly when she already had pupils of her own who had won prizes. To put it another way, literally in the spirit of the epigraph, the atmosphere of her lessons with talented pupils gave her confidence for her own artistic claims.
“I more than love music. I live in it, it feeds me every imaginable way. And so I want to be able to teach a pupil somehow,” Vera Vasilievna said in one interview marking her birthday. By happy coincidence she was born on 1 October – the International Day of Music. And even after reaching the age of eighty-five, directing the faculty of special piano at the Moscow Conservatoire, she personally taught students and led a full artistic life. Here in one person was a teacher of a plethora of famous students, a pianist worthy of admiration and a talented and vivid writer – she wrote books, reviews and essays about the art of performance. Any of these hypostases will reveal that her name has never been forgotten.
“Vera is a unique treasure born from the hands of the great maestro Heinrich Neuhaus. She was a first-class performer and professor. Her mind, proud and undamaged despite all the sudden and sharp twists of Russian history, was strong as steel and at the same time flexible...” (from the foreword by pianist Hiroko Nakamura for the Japanese edition of Gornostayeva’s book Two Hours after the Concert, 2001). In France a special piece of research called The Gornostayeva Method was published.
Not limiting herself to lessons at the conservatoire, Gornostayeva organised concerts with her students and conducted master-classes throughout the country. In the 1980s she hosted a series of TV programmes called The Open Piano. Ogonyok magazine awarded her a prize for the best publicistic articles on music education and educating the audience. In her late years, the pianist headed the Moscow Union of Musicians.
Major conservatoires and music academies throughout the world offered Vera Gornostayeva professorships. But her entire life, even during the country’s most difficult periods, was dedicated to serving her own alma mater. “Change to another conservatoire? Just think that when I’m walking along the corridor and I know that here Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin all walked... What conservatoire could replace all that?” Gornostayeva exclaimed.
Though the pianist did give master-classes across the globe. Her lessons were a particular success in Japan and were broadcast by a major broadcasting company. A book was also published to help audiences prepare for the series of broadcasts.
Vera Gornostayeva’s acclaimed pupils let their own children study in her capable hands. Musicians often lovingly refer to their favourite teachers as “mums” and “dads”. Vera Gornostayeva had thousands of musical children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It is for them to continue the creative and educational dynasty, passing on “Vera’s baton” from generation to generation.