As a young girl in Russia, Alla Voskoboynikova was drawn to the piano for its expressiveness.
The piano offers a range of sounds unlike any other classical instrument and challenges the player to reach true master level, said Voskoboynikova, who is director of keyboard studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
“To quote Vladimir Horowitz: Piano is the easiest instrument with which to make sound but the hardest instrument to master,” Voskoboynikova said. “My teachers always taught me that the piano is supposed to be like an orchestra. It’s like playing 70 instruments together.”
Voskoboynikova will bring her piano skills to the stage at 5 p.m. this Sunday in the Lee Theater at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. She will join David Halen, violinist and concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony, for a chamber music performance. On March 10, the two will join other musicians in a performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall celebrating Halen’s 20th year with the symphony.
In their Touhill performance, Halen and Voskoboynikova will perform sonatas by Beethoven and Brahms as well as a piece by Shostakovich. Halen and Voskoboynikova will play their respective instruments as equals, rather than one accompanying the other.
“I think the piano and violin are the closest friends,” Voskoboynikova said. “In this performance, it’s almost like a conversation between the two. It’s the perfect relationship between two instruments.”
Voskoboynikova is a seasoned performer, but she is also a strong mentor and guide to UMSL music students willing to work hard. Those who study under Voskoboynikova are well-rewarded for their work, pursuing professional careers and winning competitions.
“I like talking with my students about music and helping them not only become piano players but musicians in a wider sense,” Voskoboynikova said. “It’s very important for piano players to know the opera or to know the arts in general, to be exposed to art and to become bigger as people.”