Pianist Anna Shelest was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine. She began studying piano at six years old, and later attended the Kharkiv Special Music School for Gifted Children, where she studied under Sergei Polusmiak and Gary Gelfgat. A multi-award winning artist, she won her first competition when she was only eleven at the Milosz Magin International Piano Competition. She has since gone on to win the Louisiana International Piano Competition, Kawai American Recording Contest, Bradshaw-Buono International Piano Competition New York, and many more. Recorded in the Czech Republic in 2014, this release features Sergei Prokofievs Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2. These works were written early on in Prokofievs career, and feature his virtuosic and wildly dissonant style which caused his first leap into fame.
“Shelest has fearlessly mastered the entire range of Prokofiev’s idiom—this is undeniably big-league playing—while offering her own personal touch. I’m happy to report that in the Second Concerto she approaches treacheries such as the huge first-movement cadenza and the unison hands flying through the toccata-like scherzo without resorting to banging or crudeness. She leavens the heaviest passages and adds warmth to the lyrical interludes. Some famous names could learn a thing or two. The Janáček Philharmonic Ostrawa is known among Czech orchestras for performing contemporary music, and the musicians play Prokofiev’s brilliant orchestration with verve and assurance. The Danish-American conductor Niels Muus has enjoyed an extensive opera career, mainly focused in Vienna, where he was music director of the Volksoper from 1999 to 2003. He knows his way around both scores and joins Shelest in softening some of Prokofiev’s blatant barbarity, which I found quite appealing.”
—Huntley Dent, Fanfare Magazine, March 2016