Elena Gaponenko’s very rare double talent on the piano and cello was already recognized and spoken about when she was recognized as a prodigy at the age of four. From the outset, she was exposed to the best professional training and at the age of nine gave her first solo performance with an orchestra. Elena received training on both her chosen instruments at the most prestigious, special music schools in Moscow (Russia): at the Central Music School at the Moscow Conservatory and at the Gnessyny Special Music School, from which she graduated with distinction. Further studies at the Universities of Detmold and Cologne in Germany and at the Hogeschool voor Muziek Maastricht in the Netherlands culminated in her concert-exam in piano and violoncello with a „cum laude“.
During her studies and later, at various Master Classes, Elena was significantly influenced by luminaries such as Prof. Karina Georgian, Prof. Mirel Jancovici, Prof. Maria Kliegel, Prof. Dmitri Ferschtman, Prof. Bernhard Greenhouse, Prof. Anatol Ugorski, Prof. Pavel Gililov, Prof Wladimir Krainev, Alexander Bakulov, Sergej Dijour, Lydia Fichtenholz, among others.
Elena is a graduate performer and prizewinner at many international competitions on both instruments. In the last 20 years, she has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at many internationally renowned festivals, concert series and in the best halls in Germany, Austria, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy, including Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, the Wittgenstein Palace in Düsseldorf, and the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow.
Released in 2015, her CD „Duo for one,“ with solo and chamber music works, on which Elena Gaponenko plays both instruments at the same time, was recorded at the Leipziger Gewandhaus by the Genuin label. The Rhein-Main magazine adorned this recording with the title „Perfection in Harmony“.
In 2004, Elena already played on some of the Swiss Maggini Foundation’s precious collection of Celli and was supported by the LMN-Foundation, Yehudi Menuhin, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the Excellence Program of the University of the Arts in Berlin.
Elena Gaponenko has been lecturing at various European higher education institutions, as a progressive pedagogue, since 2008. These include, the University of Music in Vienna, the University of the Arts in Berlin, Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main, Robert-Schumann University in Düsseldorf and the Bremen University of the Arts. In 2009-2014, she was co-founder and artistic director of the concert series „World Stars of the Future“ for the establishment and maintenance of the interest in classical music as well as for the promotion of both young talents and experienced musicians.
Elena Gaponenko sees herself as a kind of interpreter who lets the music flow through her, giving her audience a glimpse of its coded message and a taste of its very essence. Her highest fulfillment is her direct contact with the audience. The stage is her mission. Managing to mediate the philosophy of both the composer and the composition, Elena’s performances are much more than technically perfect.
Hörbeispiel: Rachmaninov – Vocalise
CD review of Elena Gaponenkos double album Opus 8
[Her] performances of music by Lyadov, Medtner, Lyapunov and Scriabin on the keyboard goes beyond mere facility; this is the work of a mature artist, and one who digs into the keyboard like a tigress. She doesn’t coax the music out of her keyboard, she tears it out. […]
[The group of Scriabin’s Op. 8 Études are still] written during his Chopin-influenced period [.] Gaponenko removes much of the Chopin delicacy by playing them with a clarity and lack of self-indulgent Romanticism. […]
There always seems to be a restlessness just under the surface of his music that cries out for release, and Gaponenko releases that mood in her performances.
I admit to being surprised by Gaponenko’s cello CD […] I wasn’t prepared for her depth of sound. This is real old-fashioned cello playing of the sort that reminds one of such names as Starker or Rostropovich. […]
The Sibelius Variations for Solo Cello, […], is full of interesting passages, each of which Gaponenko plays with both facility and emotion. Unlike many of today’s cellists, her tone is solid as a rock from top to bottom — her high range, amazingly, has the same depth of tone as her lower—and one is scarcely aware of the bow hitting the strings. It almost sounds as if the cello is playing itself.
If the Sibelius was an interesting discovery, the Ligeti sonata was a revelation. Despite some pitch-bending on certain notes, the Hungarian composer wrote here in a far more tonal and lyrical vein than anything else I had ever heard by him, and Gaponenko takes full advantage of this rare lyric streak to infuse the music with emotion.
Solo Programm „Opus 8“ für Klavier und Cello
A.Liadov 2 Intermezzi Opus 8
A.Skrjabin 12 Etüden Opus 8
J.Sibelius Variationen für Cello Solo 1870
Z.Kodaly Sonate für Cello Solo Opus 8
Solo Programm 2 „Leichte Klassik“
I.S.Bach Suite C-Dur für Cello Solo
F.Mendelsohn-Bartholdy Rondo capriccioso
C.Debussy Suite Bergamassque
M.Ravel „Jeux d’eau“
Programm 3 „Das XX.Jhd.“
H.Villa-Lobos Prole do Bebe N.1
G.Ligeti Sonate für Cello Solo
C.Penderecki „Per Slava“ für Cello Solo
S.Gubaidullina 10 Preludien für Cello Solo
S.Prokofjew Toccata Opus 11
I.Stravinsky Trois mouvements de Petrouchka
Programm 4 Klavier Solo (Romantik)
C.Schumann-Wieck 3 Romanzen Opus 21
J.Brahms Opus 117
J.Brahms Opus 119
F.Schubert Impromptu B-Dur
R.Schumann „Faschingsschwank aus Wien“
Solo Programm 5 „in D“ für Cello Solo
G.P.Telemann Suite in-D Dur
G.Cassado Suite in d-Moll
P.Tortelier Suite in d-Moll
J.S.Bach Suite D-Dur BWV1012
Programm 6 Klavier Solo (Klassik/Romantik)
L.v.Beethoven Sonate Es-Dur, Opus 81 a
R.Schumann Fantasiestücke Opus 12
F.Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Variations serieuses
F.Chopin Scherzo N.2 b-moll
Programm 7 Russische Ecke
N.Medtner 2 Märchen Opus 8
N.Miaskowski „Vergilbte Seiten“
S.Prokofjew Sonate für Cello Solo op.134
S.Lyapunov Nokturno Opus 8
Programm 8 „J.S.Bach“
J.S.Bach Toccata G-Dur
J.S.Bach Suite G-Dur für Cello Solo
J.S.Bach Suite für Cello Solo d-Moll
J.S.Bach Suite c-Moll für Cello Solo
J.S.Bach Französische Ouvertüre