Valery<br /> Kastelsky


  • Years of work: 1974 - 2001
  • Professor

“Kastelsky has brilliant technique, vast sound palette and lively expression. Shortly speaking, our audience recognized an interesting artist in him and made a stormy reception for him.” Le Soir (Belgium)

“The pianist showed himself as an outstanding performer. Valery Kastelsky has the penetrating sensitivity, especially in the moments of pianissimo, as well as excellent technique which really enchanted our audience.” Drapelul Roşu (Romania)

“Kastelsky’s performance is bright and passionate; he is a strong individuality. His Chopin is very dynamic.” Słowo Polskie (Poland)

“His artistic manner, wonderfully flexible, cultivates beauty and expressivity of the piano sound; it is always recognizable, whether he plays Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff or Schumann.” Music Life (Russia)

Valery Kastelsky (1941–2001) was born in Moscow. During 1947–58 he studied at the Gnessins Children Music School (E. Kantorovich’s class). He graduated with distinction and then became a student of the Moscow State Conservatory (Prof. Heinrich Neuhaus’s class). In 1963 he graduated from the Conservatory with excellent marks and entered its postgraduate program, completed in 1966.

During his years of study at the Conservatory, he participated in three international piano competitions, always becoming a prizewinner (the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, 1960; the Marguerite Long and Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris, 1963; the Bavarian Radio Competition in Munich, 1967).

Heinrich Neuhaus wrote: “Valery Kastelsky is one of my most interesting and favorite pupils. He makes people listen to him. There is something very individual and unique in his talent. I believe that, when his talent develops and becomes really mature, the traits of his performing style would reach such state of perfection that they would attract only approval and appreciation.”

The teacher was not mistaken. The pianist’s talent, remarkable for its nobility and spiritual charm, continued to develop. His performances always became deeper and brighter; he was attracted by large-scale forms in music.

Valery Kastelsky toured extensively both throughout Russia and abroad, including such countries as Belgium, Bulgaria, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Romania, Singapore and others. He participated in many music festivals, such as Russian Winter, Moscow Musical Autumn, The First Moscow International Music Festival and the Chopin Festival in Duszniki (Poland). Kastelsky’s repertoire was enormous; Romantic composers were especially important for him.

He recorded a number of discs with the Melodia company, including pieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Jolivet, Khrennikov, Ravel and Skryabin. He was awarded an honorary title “People’s Artist of the Russian Federation.” Apart from his concert activities, Valery Kastelsky was a professor at Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory, also serving as Dean of the Department for Solo Piano Performance during the last years of his life. Among his pupils, there are a lot of fine musicians, famous pianists and excellent teachers. During 1992–2001 he held the post of Vice President of the Alexander Skryabin Foundation.

Polina Fedotova


Associate Professor

Zoya Abolits