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Nurturing Russian talent: Fyodor Orlov and Alexander Doronin

Following their triumphs at the Zaryadye Hall Young Pianists’ Concert, Rising Stars Fyodor Orlov and Alexander Doronin have the world at their feet. Which compositions did they choose for the competition? What inspires them? And what was it like to play in one of the most modern music venues in the world?

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There was a buzz of excitement at Zaryadye Hall on 28 March 2021. Moscow’s concert venue came alive with the sound of six young pianists Rodion Shakirov, Karina Ter-Gazaryan, Andrui Аkobyan, Maria Zhuravleva, Fyodor Orlov, and Alexander Doronin. The students hailed from Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music, the Central Music School of the P. I. Tchaikovsky and Children Music School of the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory. The young musicians performed pieces by Rachmaninov, Schubert, Liszt, Scriabin, and Barber at a lively event organised under the patronage of Julius Baer with the participation of the Verbier Festival presenters.

Each of the six participants brought their unique talent to Zaryadye Hall. It was a golden opportunity for the second generation to perform at a prestigious venue where world-renowned musicians had previously taken to the stage. 

After breathtaking performances, the winners of the three prizes were announced:

  • Fyodor Orlov, a student of Elena Beryozkina at the Gnessin Moscow Special School of Music, received a joint prize of the Verbier Festival and Julius Baer: a trip to the Verbier Festival in Switzerland in summer 2021 plus 2’000 CHF.
  • Fyodor Orlov also won a special prize from Olga Zhukova (CEO of Zaryadye Hall): a recording at the hall’s own audio studio.
  • Alexander Doronin, a student of Mikhail Khokhlov at the Gnessin Special School of Music, received a special prize of CHF 3’000 from Julius Baer.

Olga Zhukova, Martin T:son Engstroem, Founder and Director of the Verbier Festival, and Stephen McHolm, Verbier Festival Academy Director, congratulated all the musicians on their impressive performances.

We were able to achieve the most important thing, to give the young artists a good start and show what an enormous power talent, combined with hard work and faith in oneself, can have.

Evgeny Smushkovich, Subregion Head Russia, Central and Eastern Europe at Julius Baer

Spotlight on Fyodor Orlov – pianist and extreme sports enthusiast

16-year-old Fyodor Orlov performed Sonata No.2, op.19, by Scriabin. “It is full of landscape lyrics and deep human feelings. When I was to choose the composition to play in front of Mr. Engstroem, I had no doubt what to pick.” Although Fyodor is a keen extreme sports fan, his main passion is music. He believes it is a universal language that can be understood by everyone and which stands the test of time. At his concerts he wants the audience to follow their emotions and feelings in order to experience the most intimate moments. “Either be it laughter, tears or thoughts, when the audience is happy, I am happy too.”

The young pianist is inspired by great musicians with one of his most recent experiences of this being Mikhail Pletnev and Daniel Barenboim performing Beethoven’s sonatas in Moscow. “It was extremely interesting to listen to Beethoven’s sonatas, to compare them and to catch every sound created by outstanding pianists of our time,” he adds. 

Talking about latest developments in the area of classical music, Fyodor points out that social media does have an immense impact as everyone is able to watch performances online anyhow. But online can’t replace the special atmosphere of a live concert. “Being at a live concert is like you are witnessing a miracle. You’ll keep the music in your heart forever,” he explains. He also sees digitalisation as something which won’t be able to change the world of classical music considering that an electronic piano will never be able to sound like a grand piano. 

I will do everything in my power to become a man of the world.

Fyodor Orlov

Despite his young age, Fyodor already has some impressive musical credits to his name. He is a laureate of many international competitions including The X international competition of young pianists in memory of Vladimir Horowitz and the 5th Manhattan International Music Competition 2020. The young musician gave solo concerts in Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, the Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belarus and other countries. Fyodor became the winner of the Special prize of the Yamaha Music Award – the debut concert at the Yamaha Hall in Tokyo in the 2022 season.

​“I will do everything in my power to become a man of the world. My teacher Elena Beryozkina often says: ’You don’t need to play it, you need to feel it and give it all your heart.’ I always have this phrase in mind.”

Spotlight on Alexander Doronin – on stage since his 7th birthday

Alexander Doronin is 18 years old and a student at Gnessin Special School of Music under the tutelage of Mikhail Khokhlov. Performing music is nothing new to him, as he began playing piano in competitions at the age of seven.

Since then, he has won several prizes including 1st Prize and Audience Award at the XIII International Television Competition “The Nutcracker”, in 2012, and 3rd Prize at the  International Tchaikovsky Online Piano Competition for Young Musicians, in Seoul, Korea, in 2019.

The young musician is also well travelled, having participated in festivals and concerts in countries across the globe including the UK, China, Poland, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland. For the Zaryadye Hall Young Pianists’ Concert, he chose to play Sonata op.26, parts I&IV by Barber.

Alexander states that his teacher Mikhail Khokhlov is his main musical inspiration. “Since I met him, I think I have changed dramatically, both musically and personally. I found myself in a completely new environment, from which I never want to leave.” He also gives credit to his other teacher Olga Martynova, whose classes gave him a new sense of “time, phrasing, instrument, and sound.”

From a style point of view, Alexander listens to jazz as well as classical music. He is currently focusing on vibrant classical music including interpretations of pieces by Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock.

Julius Baer and Zaryadye Concert Hall

Julius Baer has been supporting Zaryadye Moscow Conert Hall as General Partner since 2019. The sponsorship underpins the Bank’s commitment to Russia and stands in line with its partnerships with a number of significant cultural institutions all over the globe, including the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Verbier Festival. The Zaryadye Hall Young Pianists’ Concert was an important event for Julius Baer as an integral part of its ongoing support of emerging talents in the arts in Russia.

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