Anastasia Rizikov, pianist
Canadian pianist Anastasia Rizikov is a remarkably poised and precocious fifteen year old who is already showing signs of being “one to watch”. She is currently performing numerous solo concerts in major US and Canadian cities. On top of that, she played numerous piano concertos with orchestras, debuting at age seven, with the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, conducted by Mykola Diadiura.
Lately, there were Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major with Symphony Nova Scotia under the baton of Bernhard Gueller, and Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor with Orchestra London Canada conducted by Alain Trudel. In 2013, Anastasia had her 2,5 week long Debut Atlantic concert tour along Canada’s Atlantic coast. She also performed Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major twice with International Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Douglas A. Bianchi in Sarnia, Ontario and in Port Huron, Michigan; and Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major with Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Nan Washburn in Plymouth, Michigan. Same year, Anastasia made her debut with Toronto Symphony Orchestra - Rachmaninoff - Paganini Variation #18, conducted by Shalom Bard in Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Ontario. Earlier, in 2012, she gave two performances of E. Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor: one with National Academy Orchestra of Canada conducted by Boris Brott in Burlington, Ontario and the other with Baleares Symphony Orchestra conducted by Salvador Brotons in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Before that, in 2010-2011, there were two performances of Kabalevsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Major with the International Symphony Orchestra in Port Huron, Michigan and Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor with the Sinfonia Toronto, in Glenn Gould Studio and with the Plymouth Symphony Orchestra.
Anastasia is currently on the international competition circuit, winning many awards in the process. In November 2013 she captured first prize in the 13th «Giuliano Pecar» International Piano Competition in Gorizia, Italy; and in May 2011 - first prize in the Rotary International Piano Competition in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Choosing to enter the more challenging Senior Category in both competitions (age 35 and under) she became the youngest person to compete in their history– and winning over players twice her age! In 2012, she returned to Spain for a series of solo recitals, as well as a concerto performance with Balearic Symphony Orchestra.
In 2010, Anastasia won first place in the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition for Young People (Cape Vincent, USA). She also won first place at American Protégé 2010 International Piano and Strings Competition and performed in New York City’s Carnegie Hall. She had already performed at Carnegie Hall when, in 2009, Anastasia became the first place winner at the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition. In 2008, representing Canada, Anastasia performed with great success in the Kremlin at the international festival “Moscow Meets Friends”, organized by Vladimir Spivakov’s International Charity Foundation; she was awarded the Festival’s medal and diploma. Also in 2008, Anastasia had the honour of performing at the fourth “Young Stars of the Young Century” Gala Concert organized by Vladimir Spivakov’s Charity Foundation, which took place in the Toronto Centre for The Arts. In 2006, Anastasia became the first place winner at The Vladimir Horowitz International Young Pianists Competition in Kiev, Ukraine, again, representing Canada. She was also given a special award for Best Artistic Performance and, at age seven, made her orchestral debut, performing Polunin's Concertino in A minor with the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, conducted by Mykola Diadiura.
Nationally, Anastasia is also a first prize winner at both the Canadian Music Competition (CMC) and the Canadian Chopin Competition. The Chopin competition, held every five years, lead to Anastasia’s appearance at a gala winners’ concert at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Annually, Anastasia wins first place at several local competitions in the Greater Toronto Area, including Markham Music Festival, Yips Music Festival, North York Music Festival, Peel Music Festival, Davenport Music Festival, Toronto Music Competition, Kiwanis Music Festival of Greater Toronto, Kiwanis Provincial Music Festival, and the Canadian Music Competition (CMC).
Anastasia has given interviews and performed at Toronto’s Classical 96.3 FM radio station, CBC Television news, Russian MIX TV, and Ukrainian Svitohliad and Kontakt TV channels. An excerpt of one of her videos was even briefly shown on The Oprah Show during a feature on gifted children. Anastasia was interviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Toronto Star and The WholeNote. Anastasia studies with award-winning piano teacher Maia Spis, teacher at the Nadia Music Academy in Toronto. She has played in master classes for Sergei Babayan (Artist-in-Residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music), Anatoly Ryabov (Professor at the Conservatory of Moscow), Oxana Yablonskaya (Professor at the Juilliard School of Music), and has worked with Olga Kern (winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition). Anastasia began her studies at age five, and since then shows unparalleled dedication to both practice and performance.
In December, 2012, in honor of Glenn Gould's 80th Anniversary Year and his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, The Glenn Gould Foundation has provided a C1X Yamaha baby grand piano to the outstanding young pianist Anastasia Rizikov. She has the piano on an indefinite loan-basis to aid in her artistic and career development.
Fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, and English, Anastasia does spend rare moments away from the piano. She loves to read because “it is like entering a whole different world and experiencing the role of my favorite character – so my imagination goes wild!” She also loves animals, shopping, and she treasures her friendships, which are difficult to foster, given her practice and travel schedule. “I always look forward to seeing my friends, although I rarely see them. When I do, I feel like one of them, not like an adult – the way I feel most of times.” Her dreams are to become a renowned and accomplished pianist with beautiful dresses on stage, and to “touch the hearts of the audience.”