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The name of Anatoly Pavlovich Nikitin
is in our days a symbol of St. Petersburg cello culture. The people's artist of Russia, the soloist and concertmaster of one of the best orchestras in the world, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, a bril­liant performer, a Professor of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, the leader of the Cello Ensemble, recognized world-
wide, a pedagogue conducting master-classes in many countries - these are different aspects of A. P. Nikitin's creative activity.

His great artistic and pedagogical prestige is underlined by the words of the leading modern musicians and composers.

Dmitry Shostakovich: "a brilliant celloist, an outstanding concertmaster, an excell ent and many-sided musician"

Yevgeny Mravinsky: " an outstanding concertmaster, a marvellous peda­gogue. .."
Yuri Temirkanov: "As a rule, in every big orchestra in the world there are musicians who may be considered to be a symbol of the orchestra. In our orchestra, it has always been the brilliant musician Ana­toly Pavlovich Nikitin, who is also our concertmaster and the head of the St. Petersburg cello school. It is a great pleasure, delight and honour for any artistic director to work with such a musician".

Yehudy Menuhin: "I've had an opportunity to enjoy Anatoly Nikitin's playing, but since I heard his disciple”

Leonid Gorokhov, I have learned that Nikitin is also an excellent teacher".

Daniil Shafran: "Today he is not only a marvelous cellist. He is a great musician, a real master. Today he is undoubtedly the leading cello class professor in our country".

Nikitin has certainly inherited the best traditions of the Russian cello school with its specific culture of sound, artistic comprehension of intonations, and its principle of universal unity of inspiration and mastery. After finishing the Special­ized Music School he entered Leningrad Conservatoire, two faculties simulta­neously, Orchestral and Piano (Professors Georgy Mikhalev and Grigory Buse). Having graduated in 1954 from the Leningrad Conservatoire, he continued his education as a post-graduate at Mos­cow Conservatoire under Mstislav Ros-tropovich; hence in his creative develop­ment he combined the experience of both the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and Moscow cello schools.

For more than 50 years Anatoly Nikitin's life was closely connected with St. Pe­tersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. While still studying at the Conservatoire, he became a member of the cello group; from 1963 being its permanent leader and orchestra's soloist and concertmaster (conductor Evgeny Mravinsky). Without question he may be called the teacher of the orchestra's cello group. It's difficult to enumerate all the cello solos in the world symphony literature that have been performed by Nikitin with his usual inspiration and subtlety. After The Ho­noured Orchestra has performed Don Quixote by Richard Strauss in which the cello solo part is rather a difficult one, the conductor Zubin Mehta exclaimed, "I have enjoyed it so! Bravo!" It is not accidental that the other conductor Georg Sholti who personally chose "stars" from 40 best orchestras of the planet for the "Musicians of the World" orchestra in 1995 invited among others Anatoly Nikitin.


For more than 40 years the musician teaches at the Conservatoire; from 1978 he is the head of the cello chair. During this time he has trained a whole pleiad of talented cellists who became famous worldwide, and created his own "Nikitin" school characterized by high professionalism, the culture of sound, nobility and inspiration of interpretations. In 1975, he creates The Cello Ensemble which became the realization of his main pedagogical idea -the combined play­ing. "For the young musicians the En­semble is a wonderful school where they learn to listen and hear not only them­selves, but also their colleagues", Nikitin says. "While playing in the orchestra they learn new musical pieces, learn to play in an ensemble, enrich their technical skills, solo performing qualities and much, much more..."

The solo and chamber activities of Anatoly Nikitin are well known. His repertoire includes the works of different genres and styles, the music of different epochs. His concert programmes may be consid­ered a real anthology of classical and modern cello music. For example, togeth­er with the marvelous Leningrad pianist Felitia Fondaminskaya they have per­formed in the 60s and 70s all the cycles of cello sonatas by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Hindemith, Chopin, Rachmani-nov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich.

 Being asked whose music is closer to him, the maestro replies,- "I like all good music, does not matter what genre, style, etc. I enjoy the symphojazz, as well as Outyesov, Shulzhenko, Sinatra, and Mancini. And The Beatles - haven't they left their trace not only in the hearts of their audience, but also in the music history of the 20th century! The reper­toire of my cello chorus includes the compositions by McCartney, Joplin, Web­ber - and we perform them with great pleasure. As for the classics, I feel very much in tune with romantic music. But I cannot imagine our repertoire without the 17th-18th century music either. Suits
by Bach, sonatas and concerts by Vivaldi, Tartini, Boccerini are not only excellent, eternal works of art, but also the first-class school for the performers. It is very difficult, almost impossible to say, what is most dear and close for me". Quite a big part of the musician's repertoire consists of the works of the modern 20th century composers, Poulenc, Honegger, Hindemith, Bridge, and oth­ers, compositions of the former USSR authors including St. Petersburg ones. This CD offers all the aspects of Maestro's performance and pedagogical activity (Cello Ensemble included in the pro­gramme consists of Professor Nikitin's disciples). Here one can find the music of different composers, styles - from the "cello classics" to the modern jazz rhythms. But never mind what Nikitin and his Ensemble play he plays it with inimitable artistic mastery and impeccable taste.

Natalia Ryzhkova


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