London-based New Zealand pianist Xenia Pestova has earned a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire of her generation.

Following childhood music education in Siberia, Xenia's studies took place with Judith Clark (Victoria University of Wellington) before studies abroad eventually led to a Doctorate of Music in Canada.

Pestova's commitment and dedication to promoting music by living composers led her to commission dozens of new works and collaborate with major innovators in contemporary music.

Pestova returns to perform in New Zealand after four years away.


She will go on a six-city tour for Chamber Music New Zealand's Encompass series, with further lecture and workshop appearances.

Her programme highlights music by women composers, including New Zealanders Glenda Keam, Annea Lockwood and Miriama Young.

Works by Keam and Young are written especially for the tour.

The programme, Gothic, also includes music by American composers. She says she is excited about the project.

"New Zealand remains my spiritual home, and I've been away for too long. This tour is a wonderful opportunity to share music that I love and care about deeply.

"I am very much committed to playing music by living composers alongside more traditional repertoire.

"I feel that this is our duty as performers-to be firmly grounded in the present and to explore wonderful new music.

"At the same time, it's great to be able to showcase pieces by fantastic composers who
happen to be women-concert presenters, broadcasters and promoters are starting to redress the gender balance in classical music, but much work remains to be done, and I am happy to be able to play my part."

Currently, she is the director of performance at the University of Nottingham, and continues to mentor emerging musicians in workshops at conservatories and universities around the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, USA and Brazil.

Xenia says the wonderful nature, fantastic coffee, seeing old friends and playing for warm audiences is what she is looking forward to about being back in New Zealand.

"The tour actually also doubles as a 'busman's holiday' honeymoon. I look forward to showing my favourite places to my partner, composer Ed Bennett.

"Ed grew up by the sea in Northern Ireland, and I amsure he will just love New Zealand."

She says she is fond of all the pieces on the programme, and looks forward to sharing them with her audiences.

Xenia is excited about the two premieres-new pieces by New Zealand composers Glenda Keam and Miriama Young, both of which are stunning, she says.

- What: Xenia Pestova concert, presented by RotoruaMusic Federation
- When: Friday August 4, 7.30pm
- Where: Banquet Room, Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre
- Tickets: $30 adults, $15 students 18-25 years, free schoolage children accompanied by adult ticket holder. Tickets available from 7pm.