ANNA BULKINA – PIANIST
"…mature, compelling performances of the Schumann and Beethoven concertos."
- Leonard Eureka, Fort Worth Weekly, July 3, 2012
"Hardly anybody has ever affected, touched and transformed the audience in so many different ways and on so many levels." - Schwäbisches Tagblatt, July 10, 2011
In 2010, Russian pianist Anna Bulkina was awarded the second prize in the China International Piano Competition followed by another second prize at the International Piano Competition Valsesia Musica in Italy in the same year. In 2011, Ms Bulkina captured the first prize in the Concours International de Piano Virtuoses du futurein Switzerland, and then went on to win the second prize in the Busoni International Piano Competition. It was her triumph at the Busoni that has rapidly garnered her international recognition as a concert pianist of significant stature.
In the United States, Anna Bulkina's accolades have included the Grand National Winner of the 2009 MTNA Young Artist Piano Competition, First Prize in the 2009 Wideman International Piano Competition in Louisiana, and another First Prize in the 50th Annual Sorantin International Competition in Texas.
A series of concert engagements quickly followed as a result of her series of achievements. Ms Bulkina has given recital at Beijing's National Center of the Performing Arts, and has appeared with various orchestras such as the Fort Worth Symphony, San Angelo Symphony, Northwest Florida Symphony, and the South Arkansas Symphony. In 2011, Anna returned to China to appear with the Wuhan Symphony performing the Mozart Concerto No.24. Within the same week she performed Beethoven Concerto No.3 with the Fort Worth Symphony under the baton of Leon Fleisher as a winner of the concerto competition at the PianoTexas International Academy and Festival. Anna Bulkina has also extensive experience in playing recitals in Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Iceland.
As a top prizewinner of the Busoni Competition, Anna Bulkina was offered the special privilege to play in a series of three master classes given by Alfred Brendel. The first of which took place at the Ruhr Klavier Festival in Germany. The second was during the Bolzano International Festival, Italy, followed by the third master class held in the newly built Harpa Concert Hall in Iceland. In between the master classes Anna also performed solo recitals in all three countries.
Ann Bulkina was born in 1986. Her first success was winning the Chopin International Piano Competition for Young Pianist in Szafarnia, Poland, at the age of 12. Thereafter, she presented recitals around the country. After graduated from the Sergei Rachmaninoff Conservatory under Professor Rimma Skorokhodova in 2008, she came to the United States to continue her study at the Texas Christian University on the Lili Kraus Scholarship. Ms Bulkina is currently completing a Master's Program under the guidance of Dr. Tamás Ungár.
'Poetic Power' was the title chosen for Anna Bulkina's debut at the Worthing Symphony Society Interview Concerts. The two words are key ones defining her identity as a piano artiste. The presence of the two elements empower one other when she performs. Her instinct focuses and homes her in on both.
Her programme opened with an immediate showcase of poetry unleashing power. In the compressed opening chords of Bach's Fantasy & Fugue in A minor (BWV944) she took the space to cast her own personal imprint on the music and create a sense of anticipation. The Fugue's sustained torrent she made an instant tour de force - no brief fanfare call to attention but an almost fanatical pinning back of the listeners' ears for the evening ahead.
"Here, her audience met Anna Bulkina the No-Compromiser. She then rewarded them with some rest and refreshment but still from the 20th Century menu: Scriabin's more comfortably-digested 5 Preludes Opus 16 and his two pairs of Poémes Opus 32 and 69. Poetry, needless to say, with sprinklings of power from the condiment mill. Music of exploration, of sensuality, challenging the conservatism of the British, widening their sensibilities and perception of musical possibility.
After the interval came Tchaikovsky's Dumka and we realised we were all today on upward trajectory of intensity. Pictures of a Russian Village laid her native nation scenery and rural life before them - events both light and dark but tension inexorably building towards the programme climax of Liszt's Dante Sonata."
"Anna Bulkina is an assertive artiste of substance, combining humanity with intensity, with an absorbing stage presence borne of a set of illuminating personal facets and convictions – all for which the Interview Concert format created an ideal platform to project and be experienced. In this she took the series to a new level."
REUTLINGEN. Wer kann der Pianistin Anna Bulkina widerstehen? Bravorufe, strahlende Gesichter und lautes Klatschen ertönten nach jedem Stück, das sie an diesem Mittwoch im Spendhaus spielte. Dieses Konzert der Musica-Nova-Reihe war ohne Übertreibung ein Konzert der Extraklasse.
Auch in Galina Ustwolskajas Musik sind Kontraste ein großes Thema. Beispielsweise in den zwölf Préludes, die von einer außergewöhnlichen Häufung an extremen Ausdrucksmitteln geprägt sind. Die Dynamik der Préludes geht von einem »mehr als Pianississimo« zum Lautstärkepegel eines fünffachen Fortissimo.
In der ersten Klaviersonate kommt die andere Seite von Ustwolskaja zum Vorschein – die Nähe zu Schostakowitsch ist hier deutlich spürbar. Die jazzartige Rhythmik des ersten Satzes der Sonate interpretiert Anna Bulkina spielerisch und sehr akzentuiert.
Interessant bei Anna Bulkina ist, dass sie so schnell zwischen rauer Energie und sensibler Einfühlungskraft wechseln kann. Schön war das bei ihrer Interpretation verschiedener Werke von Alexander Skrjabin zu erleben. In den Préludes von Skrjabin hat sie den großen Reichtum an zutage tretenden Gefühlsnuancen darstellen können.
Anna Bulkina konnte alle Gefühlsfacetten mit wirklich erstaunlicher Differenziertheit ausdrücken. Diese herausragende Expressivität ist einmalig. Von Anna Bulkina werden wir noch viel hören! (GEA)