St Peter's Church recitals return for a new series - with pianist Yulia Chaplina playing an all Russian programme

Written by Tony Millett on .

Yulia ChaplinaYulia ChaplinaThe eighth series of recitals at St Peter's Church under the Brilliant Young International Musicians banner begins on Sunday, October 20 with a recital by the Russian-born and now London-based pianist Yulia Chaplina.


This opening recital was planned as a piano recital for four hands - with Yulia joined by fellow pianist Jonathan Deakin.   They have been playing together as a piano duo for nearly a decade.  But Jonathan Deakin has strained a hand and on medical advice will have to keep away from the piano - practise and performance - for two weeks. 

Yulia is realistic about this unfortunate turn of events: "It is a great shame.  But it sometimes happens". She will now be playing solo at St Peter's Church and has told that she will keep the planned theme for the recital - Russian music from start to finish.   But she has, of course, had to change the programme.  (See below.)

Yulia Chaplina was born in Rostov-on-Don and, aged seven, gave her debut performance there - playing Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in F minor with the Rostov State Symphony Orchestra.  She came to London nine years ago to study at the Royal College of Music - and is a Fellow there.

She has performed extensively in Europe and Asia and won many prizes. Now she has turned to curating concerts, though her priority is still Russian music. 

This year is the 'UK-Russia Year of Music' - a year that runs until March 2020.  It follows other cross-cultural years featuring science and literature.  As part of this year-long festival of music, the Russian Cultural Centre asked Yulia to curate a Russian Masterpieces programme.

She assembled a group of ten musicians from six different countries to play on International Music day (October 1) at the South Bank's Purcell Room.  The concert was sold out: "It's great to celebrate these Russian composers - the audience's response was very enthusiastic."

She points out that while the great Russian symphonies and concertos are played reasonably often, "You'll struggle to find an all-Russian concert - even in London.  But the appetite for the music is really great - people know some of it, but there's so much more to find."

Towards the end of this 'UK-Russia Year of Music', Yulia hopes to curate a concert of British piano music - which could include Ireland, York Bowen, Peter Warlock and Britten.

Yulia is keen on promoting lesser know composers - from Russia and elsewhere.  Back in 2007 she released her debut CD celebrating the piano music of the Polish composer Tekla Badarzewska who lived at about the same time as Chopin.  "Her work is similar to Chopin's piano music - very beautiful - light and airy, but not quite so dramatic. She died very young." 

In 2014 Yulia recorded a solo CD of Russian music.  This had a rapturous reception - with the American Record Guide explaining " only 26 years, Russian born and trained Yulia Chaplina brings to her playing more than a lifetime of acquaintance with this music."

Her deep involvement with Russian music brings us back to her St Peter's Church recital. Yulia is delighted to be performing Prokofiev's Sonata No. 9: "It's quite a complicated, sophisticated piece. It's very beautiful. It's quite rarely performed - even in Russia." 

Having to revise the programme for this recital has enabled her to end it with the Scriabin Etude. He is one of the somewhat lesser known Russian composers she is very interested in promoting.  And she is looking forward to organising the next Prokofiev festival in London in 2020.

Her revised programme will most likely be:
Tchaikovsky - Meditation
Prokofiev - Sonata No. 9

Prokofiev - Selected scenes from Romeo and Juliet (arranged for piano by the composer) 
Tchaikovsky - Valse in F-sharp minor 
Tchaikovsky - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - intermezzo, andante maestoso and March from The Nutcracker Suite (arr. M.Pletnev)
Rachmaninov - Vocalise, Op.34 No.14;
Rachmaninov - Etude-tableau in E flat minor, Op.39 No.5
Rachmaninov - Elegie op. 3
Scriabin - Etude in D sharp minor, Op.8 No.12. 

The 8th Series of Brilliant Young International Musicians at St Peter's Church is again sponsored by Elisabeth Clemency Cross and raises funds for the St Peter's Trust and the local charity Thriving Through Venture.
The other dates for this series are:
24 November: Trio - Jonathan Musgrave (piano), Polly Bartlett (oboe) & Findlay Spence (cello) 
26 January - Timon Staehler (piano) 
1 March - Johanna Röhrig (violin) 
5 April - Judith Choi Castro (violin) & John Paul Ekins (piano) 
3 May - Louise Cournarie (piano)

Tickets - at £10 - go on sale a month before each concert - from the White Horse Bookshop, Sound Knowledge or on the door.  Or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Series tickets are available.