His stage

Pianist Igor Tchetuev debuts at the Eilat Chamber Music Festival.

Pianist Igor Tchetuev 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Pianist Igor Tchetuev 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Pianist Igor Tchetuev, 33, who won the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in 1988 at 18, returns to Israel to perform in the framework of the Eilat International Chamber Music Festival, which takes place from April 28 – May 4.
“I am happy to come back to Israel,” says Tchetuev in a phone interview from his home in Hanover, Germany. “I am proud to be a part of this prestigious musical event, which I have heard a lot about, and to visit Eilat for the first time.”
In Eilat, Tchetuev will perform with violinist Valery Sokolov, who made his Israeli debut at the festival last year, as well as in various chamber ensembles. He will also perform a solo recital.
Tchetuev’s name first came to attention in 1984 when he won a competition organized by outstanding Russian pianist Vladimir Krainev. He later moved to Germany, where Krainev resided, and became his student.
“Krainev undoubtedly was among the best representatives of the Russian piano school, and I still miss him. His assistance, also while I was preparing for the Rubinstein Competition, was immense. Krainev took care of me since I won his competition at age 14. After moving to Germany, I studied with him until his final days in 2011. He even came to my last exam, already very ill, which I did not know at the time. I know it sounds sad, but he was always full of love of life and shared this love generously with everybody.”
What made him such a special teacher? “Krainev cared about the most important things, not being distracted by minor details. He directed us to the depth of the music, and he did it not on a verbal level. We did not even feel how he transmitted his musical ideas to us.
Seeing him teaching was a captivating experience. When a student was talented enough, he just started playing better before your eyes.”
After winning the Rubinstein Competition, Tchetuev appeared in Israel several times, playing with the IPO and other local orchestras. He now has an international career, not limiting himself to any specific repertoire: “I play everything I like,” he confides.
What is important for him in his performances? “For me, the most important things happen on stage. Granted, you have to do your homework, to study the piece and to decide what is to be said and what not.
But when you perform it on stage, something indescribable happens independently of what you think – you become a part of something larger. I don’t know how to define it – the spirit of humanity, of the universe, I really don’t know. And then something starts to speak instead of you, some force that you are unable to control. So the most important thing is to grasp it,” he says.
This year Tchetuev is coming to Israel with the star violinist of the younger generation, Valery Sokolov.
“I appeared at Valery’s festival in Kharkov a few times, and we are good friends. We discuss the art exhibitions and concerts that we attend. I am happy that I’m coming with Valery because I enjoy being on stage with other musicians: I believe that one has to be an artist of a higher caliber than myself to hold the stage alone – that is for musicians like Richter, for example.
Granted, I do perform recitals, but in smaller halls. I enjoy playing with Valery, and we appear together whenever possible.”
For more details and reservations: http://www.eilatfest.com