Leokadiya Kashperova (1872–1940), hitherto consigned to a footnote in musical history as Stravinsky’s piano teacher, is undergoing rediscovery. A double graduate of the St Petersburg Conservatoire, she emerged as a virtuoso pianist and composer in the romantic tradition. She was associated with some of the great musicians of her day, including Mily Alexayevich Balakirev and Leopold von Auer.
She performed in both Germany and the UK in the 1900s, Her once blossoming international career was cut short by the devastating effects of the Russian Revolution, by the perilously shifting sands of Soviet cultural policy and by the impact of civil and world war. Despite all this, Kashperova continued to compose, in secret, to the very end of her life (1940) though not a note of her music was performed after 1916.
The Kashperova Edition now makes a wide range of her music available to performers and for audiences everywhere to appreciate her 'amazingly passionate Romantic music' (10 August 2021 - BBC Radio 3 at the Edinburgh International Festival).
These new editions of the Cello Sonatas 1 & 2 have been broadcast and recorded, whilst new editions of her Symphony and hitherto unpublished Piano Concerto have recently been issued.
Kashperova’s Romantic empathy with nature and childhood may be keenly observed in her chamber music and songs. The six-movement piano suite In the Midst of Nature (1910) in no exception in the way it uses evocations of nature to express nostalgia for her childhood in the peaceful and remote Russian countryside. In the Midst of Nature also resents an artfully graded progression, indicating that Kashperova probably shared this music with her many pupils: the early movements are within the range of the talented young player whilst the latter movements require the technique and interpretative maturity of a conservatoire student, the whole work being admirably suited to the professional recital.