Cellist Maya Fridman, percussionist Konstantyn Napolov, and pianist Hanna Shybayeva are based in The Netherlands, but each of them has close personal and biographic ties with Central and Eastern Europe as well. For Fridman and Shybaeva, the Russian war in Ukraine and recent repressions in Belarus also prompted musical initiatives aimed at fundraising.
Among other topics, we discuss Shybayeva's Music for Belarus concerts and Fridman’s Benefit concerts for Ukraine – musical events that attracted broad public attention and generated hundreds of thousands of Euros of support for victims of war and repression. We not only talk about music, however: the musicians also perform recent work live. The evening will be moderated by Rutger Helmers, assistant professor of musicology at the University of Amsterdam.
Maya Fridman was born in Moscow in 1989 and has been playing the cello since she was six. Her search for new music and experiments led her to Amsterdam, where she graduated cum laude at the Conservatory in 2016. Fridman is known for her passionate performances with a unique mix of styles and genres. Her concerts carry a deeper philosophy and theme, and her recorded works focus on the development of contemporary music for cello and voice. In 2019, Maya won the coveted Dutch Classical Talent Award. For season 2020/2021, she was Artist in Residence at TivoliVredenburg. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD trajectory at Leiden University researching ways of integrating ritual experience in performance practice.
Konstantyn Napolov is an outstanding percussionist, an impassioned pioneer and promoter of new music. He closely cooperates with leading composers. Educated in Kyiv, The Hague, Strasbourg, and at prestigious US institutions, he has studied with the world’s greatest musicians and been awarded many prizes. Still, he is constantly in search of new and unheard sounds. In performances throughout Europe and beyond, as a soloist and in various ensembles, he plays repertoire and instruments from all over the world and the entire music history.
Hanna Shybayeva has won many prizes from a young age at international piano competitions in Europe and the US, and was rewarded with multiple grants. She studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague where she graduated in 2005 as Master of Music with the highest distinction. Since 2008, she has been a member of the New European Ensemble, which exists of soloists and chamber musicians from across Europe and is one of the most innovative ensemble’s for new music. Since 2013, Hanna has been a member of the piano faculty at the International Anton Rubinstein Music Academy in Düsseldorf (Germany)/Kalaidos Hochschule (Swiss) and since 2021 she is appointed as a piano professor at the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music.
Rutger Helmers is assistant professor of musicology at the Department of Arts and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. He works on questions of nationalism, cosmopolitanism and imperialism in the nineteenth-century world of music, and his current research concerns representations of Ukraine in the musical life of the Russian Empire. He was a visiting fellow of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute in the spring of 2022, and is currently co-organizing a conference ‘Ukraine in Music History: A Reassessment’, to be held at the University of Vienna in May this year. Among his publications are a monograph, Not Russian Enough? Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in Nineteenth-Century Russian Opera (2014), and recent contributions to Nineteenth-Century Music Review, The Oxford Handbook to the Operatic Canon, Čajkovskij-Studien, and the Cambridge History of Nationhood and Nationalism.