About Xenia Pestova Bennett
"A powerhouse of contemporary keyboard repertoire"
Described as “a powerhouse of contemporary keyboard repertoire” (Tempo), pianist and composer Xenia Pestova Bennett has earned an international reputation as a leading proponent of uncompromising music. Her work spans a wide range of sound worlds, styles and genres from classical to contemporary art music, free improvisation, experimental electronica and avant-pop.
Since receiving the unanimous First Prize at the Xavier Montsalvatge International Piano Competition in Girona, Spain and prizes at the Messiaen International Piano Competition in Paris and the KeriKeri Piano Competition of New Zealand, Xenia has performed in over 20 countries - at large festivals, for live broadcast, in major concert halls, and countless weird and wonderful venues and spaces. She explores classical music boundaries with electronics, toy pianos, synthesizers and the magical and mysterious Magnetic Resonator Piano.
Pestova Bennett is featured at major festivals and venues around the world, including appearances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, National Concert Hall in Dublin, Sage Gateshead, Glasgow Royal Concert Halls, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Festival Archipel (Geneva), Approximation (Dusseldorf), Ars Musica (Brussels), Christchurch Arts Festival (New Zealand), Lanaudière (Canada), London Contemporary Music Festival, Musica (Strasbourg), Sonorities (Belfast), Spark (USA), Rainy Days (Luxembourg) and Voix Nouvelles Royaumont (France). She is equally at home in experimental concert settings and has performed in an underground World War II fortress in New Zealand, tropical gardens in Brazil, a natural cave system inhabited by hibernating bats in Ontario and the deepest Welsh wilderness.
Xenia’s nine studio albums to date include widely acclaimed recordings of core piano duo works by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen with Pascal Meyer for Naxos Records and solo recordings for Diatribe, Ergodos, Far Point and Innova Recordings. Her commitment to new music inspired her to commission dozens of new works and collaborate with major innovators including Annea Lockwood, Karlheinz Essl and Gayle Young.
Xenia studied piano and composition in New Zealand, the UK, the Netherlands, France and Canada. She holds a Doctorate from McGill University. During a twelve-year career in academia, she was Head of Performance at Bangor University in North Wales, Director of Performance and Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham and visiting Professor of Music at Gresham College, London. Her interest in health and optimal performance led to extensive accredited teacher training in yoga, breathwork and meditation practices. In addition to her performance career, Xenia is in demand as a wellbeing instructor, coach and lecturer for organisations and educational institutions around the world. She is a published author with a book on performance anxiety management and co-editor of the Living Music book series with Christopher Dingle.
Photo Credit: Paul Hudson
FRENCH SUITE: Theatre of the Ear in Nine Audio Snapshots
"A new work for Pyramid Club Broadcasting: audio time capsules, half heard conversations, a world of memory and dream, a liminal space. Xenia uses Baroque forms to structure her journey through friendship and past lives; from the funereal to healing pop. With nimble ears Xenia weaves narrative as melody into a complex counterpoint... Put your headphones on, and dance?” - Jonny Marks, Pyramid Club
New CD/download: Gayle Young's As Trees Grow
(Ars Subtilior / FarPoint)
Microtonal recordings of frozen waterfalls, truffle mycelia, fruiting trees in Umbria, ephemeral spring wildflowers in Canada: Young’s poetic musings on environmental themes will soothe and provoke, massaging your ears and waking up multi-sensory associations.
Release date: April 6, 2022
"Befriending Performance Anxiety" Book (Brompton Cove Press)
Packed with simple practical interventions, "Befriending Performance Anxiety" is your guide to achieving optimal performance states and finding support before, during and after each public event.
Annea Lockwood / Luc Ferrari
Xenia Pestova Bennett presents her new project featuring the works of Luc Ferrari and Annea Lockwood, as well as a selection of shorter pieces by John Cage.
Austrian composer Karlheinz Essl offers a refreshing glimpse of a new performance practice through his unusual take on J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (1741)
Magnetic String Resonance
Pianist Xenia Pestova Bennett presents uncompromising renditions of radical text scores and improvisations on the Magnetic Resonator Piano (MRP), a new instrument designed by Andrew McPherson.
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Photo Credit: Damian Wojcik