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The 150th anniversary of the birth of long-lost Romantic composer Leokadiya Kashperova on 16 May brings a celebration concert at St Paul’s Knightsbridge. The programme, presented by Donne, Women in Music, features the UK concert premiere of her Cello Sonata No.2.

16 May 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the newly-discovered Romantic composer Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940). Her name had existed solely in a historic footnote as Stravinsky’s piano teacher but the research of Dr. Graham Griffiths has uncovered her role as a significant composer in her own right: she enjoyed a successful career until this was swept away in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.

A concert in London on the birthday itself provides a focus for anniversary celebrations, including the UK concert premiere of Kashperova’s Cello Sonata No.2. Presented by Donne, Women in Music with support from the Ambache Charitable Trust, this ‘Concert for Peace’ raises funds in support of the Unicef Ukraine Appeal, providing support to the thousands of families affected by the war in Ukraine. The event is at St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, 32a Wilton Place, London SW1X 8SH, commencing at 7.00 pm and followed by a drinks reception.

“Nothing can be more exciting than to rediscover a lost composer of real stature. Leokadiya Kashperova is, surely, a supreme example: her beautiful Romantic music was praised by Rimsky-Korsakov, performed in Leipzig, Berlin and London, and is now captivating audiences again. Hearing Kashperova’s beautiful music will remind us never to allow her name and music to be erased from history a second time. Indeed, we must be vigilant in safe-guarding all those composers and creators at risk of being buried underneath the rubble of today’s brutal conflicts – not only in Ukraine and Russia, but in all theatres of war around the world. We owe this to today’s young children to safeguard their cultural future.”
Dr Graham Griffiths

The highlight of the concert is the UK concert premiere of Kashperova’s passionate and Romantic Cello Sonata no. 2 in E minor. Maria Zachariadou (assistant principal cello BBC Philharmonic) is joined by pianist and conductor Richard Leach. Also, in premiere performance, two Songs Without Words and the lyrical Andante from Kashperova’s Piano Concerto arranged by musicologist Dr Graham Griffiths of City, University of London, whose search for this lost composer over two decades has led to the Boosey & Hawkes Kashperova Edition launched to commemorate her 150th anniversary.

The child’s world features prominently in Kashperova’s musical inspiration. This is evident in her compassionate and magical cantata Where Do the Stars Come From? which features the Angel’s Song to be sung by soprano Gabriella Di Laccio. It ends with the following line: “It is time for bed, my dear. Goodnight. Sleep tight, my dear. God bless you, child!”

The concert will conclude with a Ukrainian lullaby and invites the audience to reflect on those in need of our support, our prayers and our donations. All proceeds from the concert will be donated to the UNICEF-UKRAINE Appeal.

INTRODUCTION by Dr Graham Griffiths

KASHPEROVA Two Songs Without Words
KASHPEROVA Andante from Piano Concerto Op.2
(piano arrangements by Graham Griffiths)

KASHPEROVA Cello Sonata No.2 in E minor (UK concert premere)

KASHPEROVA Angel's Song from cantata Where do the Stars come from?

ANONYMOUS Ukrainian Lullaby

Maria Zachariadou - cello | Richard Leach - piano | Gabriella Di Laccio – soprano

Tickets are available from the Eventbrite website and on the door. For press information please contact Charlotte Bennet at the press office of Donne on [email protected].

To coincide with the 150th anniversary of birth, Boosey & Hawkes is launching on 16 May a series of five short web documentaries entitled In Search of Kashperova, hosted by Dr Graham Griffiths. The new videos tell the story of how Kashperova’s music was rediscovered in Moscow after a century of silence since the Russian Revolution. The five episodes include readings from her own memoirs and those of Stravinsky, together with contributions from performers who have recently reintroduced her music to audiences in concert, on first recordings and BBC broadcasts.

> Further information on Leokadiya Kashperova

>  Further information on Work: Cello Sonata No.2 in E minor

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