Russian-born cellist Nina Kotova has been hailed “passionate and inspiring”. According to Newsweek magazine, “she‘s a fantastically gifted cellist.” “Very expressive, imaginative, and she has a powerful stage presence.” Time magazine states: “She is a musician of high seriousness and real talent”.
Ms. Kotova studied at the Moscow Conservatory and Musikhochschule in Cologne, Germany, giving her first performance as a soloist with orchestra at age 11. She made her Western debut in Prague with the Prague Radio Orchestra in 1986 after winning the Prague International Competition, and followed with debuts at Wigmore Hall, the Barbican Centre in London, Carnegie Hall in New York and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Ms. Kotova has since then performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras across the globe including the Czech Philharmonic, the Russian National Orchestra, the State Symphony Orchestra, the China Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic and the Royal Opera House orchestras, the BBC Orchestra, the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Gulbenkian Symphony Orchestra in Lisbon, and the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg. She has performed on the Red Square in Moscow, for the Imperial family of Japan, and at Buckingham Palace. Upcoming highlights include performances in South America and the Al Bustan Festival.
Ms. Kotova has collaborated with musicians such as violinists Sarah Chang, Joshua Bell and Nikolaj Znaider, flutist Sir James Galway and pianists, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lang Lang and Helene Grimaud, with Sting and conductors Teodor Currentzis, Stephane Deneve, Vladimir Jurowski, Claus Peter Flor, Nicola Luisotti, Antonio Pappano, Libor Pesek and Tamas Vasary.
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."
Although perhaps most acclaimed for her performances and recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto, Ms. Kotova has a keen interest in expanding the repertoire available for cello. A composer herself and a champion of contemporary music, Ms. Kotova commissioned several leading composers to write a Cello Concerto for her, including another recent collaborator composer Christopher Theofanidis. In 2009 Ms. Kotova performed the world premiere of the Theofanidis Cello Concerto with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, following with the Asian premiere of the work in Singapore with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jaap Van Zweden.
Ms. Kotova co-founded The Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona in Italy and Festival Del Sole in Napa Valley. She calls the Festivals “a mecca and meeting place for artists and admirers of the arts alike”.
Now performing with the instrument that Jacqueline Du Pre made famous in the early 1960s and that Lynn Harrell played over the last two decades, she explains, “The cello is a unique instrument with the capability to reflect the most mysterious qualities of the human soul. As a solo instrument, the cello must have new works written for it that emphasize its virtuosity, powerful energy and lyrical impact.”
Ms. Kotova has taught as a visiting artist at the University of Texas and has been the subject of numerous features in Time, Newsweek, Vogue, Elle and the Wall Street Journal, as well as being on the covers of Classic FM, Gramophone China, Il Venerdi Italia and Reader's Digest and appearing on television on A&E “Breakfast with the Arts” and the “Charlie Rose Show”.
She is carrying on the tradition of not only her legendary father, Russian double-bassist Ivan Kotov (1950-1985), but her teachers and mentors, which include Igor Gavrysh, Valentin Feigin, Boris Pergamenschikov and Mstislav Rostropovich.
An internationally acclaimed and celebrated performer and composer, Ms. Kotova is well on her way to inspiring today’s musical community-classical and beyond. In addition to a CD release of her own Cello Concerto recorded with the Philharmonia of Russia conducted by Constantine Orbelian (Delos, 2002), other recordings include her chart topping, self-titled debut album (Philips Classics, 1999), a recent recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Andrew Litton (Sony Classics, 2006) and inclusion on the compilation Masters of the Bow (Deutsche Grammophon, 2003), which pays homage to the greatest cellists of the last 50 years.