Meet Theresia: Olga Pashchenko (en)

By Emilia Campagna

September 9, 2015

translation by: Charlotte Michi

Olga Pashchenko is the harpsichordist that has been soloist with Assen Boyadjiev in the Concert for harpsichord, fortepiano and orchestra by Carl Philip Emanuel Bach we performed this summer: it was not the first time we met her, she played with Theresia in 2012, during the final of Premio Ferrari. After three years we asked her how her professional life is going. Born in Russia, 28 years old, Olga lives in Amsterdam, where she concluded her studies last year by graduating in harpsichord: “Actually the one I obtained in Amsterdam is only the last of my many degrees: I first graduated in Russia in four different specializations, piano, harpsichord, fortepiano and organ, then I followed courses in Amsterdam, getting a diploma in fortepiano in 2013 and in harpsichord in 2014.”

Did you decided to specialize in early music?

“To be honest not: I go on playing also the organ and modern piano, therefore my repertoire goes from baroque music to contemporary music. Also with the harpsichord I do not just play early music, I also play Ligeti (Contiuum e Hungarian Rock) and Xenakis.”

Many of your colleagues prefer to concentrate on a more focused repertoire, can we say that you are eclectic?

“Yes, for sure I am, I am inquiring and I think it is very funny and challenging to play four instruments and to face such a vast repertoire.” 

What is the difficulty in switching from one instrument to the other?

“From a technical point of view obviously each of the four instruments has its properties, and you need to find the right concentration to change attitude. But it’s a bit like having four different friends, and get to know each of them very well, each with its particularities.” 

How do you organize your work? In the period before a concert do you devote yourself exclusively to the instrument that you will be playing?

“That would be nice but it’s impossible, I often have commitments that overlap and I have to study at the same time more repertoires. Of course, it never happens that in the same day I play all the four instruments: I wouldn’t have the time! I can devote myself exclusively to one instrument only in the days just before the concert, like it happened in Dobbiaco during the stage with Theresia.”

About playing more instruments, let’s talk about CPE Bach’s Concert, written for harpsichord and fortepiano: had you ever performed this concert before? 

“No. I knew this piece but I had never studied it. It’s a really interesting composition, especially considering the fact that at the time of CPE Bach composers wrote for keyboard often without indicating precisely for which instrument the piece was written. In this case, instead, two different keyboards, the harpsichord and the fortepiano, are clearly indicated.”

You already played with Theresia three years ago during the Premio Ferrari for fortepiano, winning the First Price: what has that experience meant to you?

“It has been very important: rarely it occurs to play so much the fortepiano in a competition. I played  solo repertoire and two concerts, one of them written by Ferrari that I unfortunately had not the chance to perform again.”

After the first rehearsal in Dobbiaco with Theresia and Chiara Banchini what is your impression?

“Excellent, of course: it’s nice to work with Chiara Banchini because she plays and performs at the same time, she drives the orchestra with authority and at the same time she is part of it.”


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Emilia Campagna

About Emilia Campagna

Journalist and musician, Emilia is a blogger for Theresia