Elena Privalova-Epshtein

Elena Privalova-Epshtein

Elena Privalova-Epshtein

I was born in Orenburg in 1982 in a normal proletarian family. My mother always tried to give us good education. So her salary was usually spent on our further education – Me and my older sister were engaged in music and dance, and our brother was fond of boxing. Even in the hard 90s when we all had problems with earnings, my parents continued to invest in our future…

After graduating from music school, I went to Orenburg Musical College. I was very lucky to study with the best teachers there – Raisa Kravchenko (theoretical disciplines) and Irina Tsykunova (piano). At the time there was no pipe organ in my hometown, but even then I enjoyed organ music. I could not imagine that once I would become organist myself. I wanted to study in the best Russian music university – the Moscow Conservatory. But I supposed that I didn’t have enough skills for entry into the piano department, and then I decided to sacrifice a performing career and entered the musicology department. However, after a couple of years of study at the conservatory, I realized that musicology is great, but I needed the performing arts. It turned out that it is possible to attend some extra organ lessons. Consequently, when I was 21 I began to play the instrument of my dreams and even of my fate…

epe3In 2007 I graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in musicology and in 2008 in the pipe organ, and then I started postgraduate study in organ. My professional ascent began with the start of classes with outstanding Russian organist – Alexei Shevchenko. By that time I was already 29 years old. I managed to work in different directions – a journalist in publishing house Burda, stylist, manager at the famous Russian photographer, director in a chamber orchestra, a manager in the field of PR-communications, and even in the Ministry of Culture (in the music department), the expert council of the theater festival ” Golden Mask “. I organized and successfully held its summer festival” Organ nights in Kuskovo. “. And by my 29 years, I realized I should change my life and began to live only for music and organ performing (and completely finish the administration career). Otherwise I should have completely immerse myself in the world of administrative work.

epe1From this period I started to study 6-8 hours a day to catch up and significantly increase my repertoire; I was preparing for several major organ competitions, attended master classes of outstanding organists in Germany. By the time I’ve already had my recitals, but I did not take them seriously, because I knew that I still had a lot to learn…

Soon I moved to Latvia (my husband is from Riga). I’ve already felt confident as a professional and I was not difficult for me to join the organ environment there. In Latvia there are many organists, but even more organs! I think that there is no such a country in the world where so many organs (about 300) for a small number of people! And almost all of them are historical. We can say that it is a paradise for organists! For example one of the largest organs in Europe – the famous organ of the Duomo, and an even greater organ – in the church of St. Trinity in Liepaja. All organists of the world aspire to play on these organs. And now they are available to me … My colleague Christine Adamaite which recommended me particularly in the Dome Cathedral. So she had a direct bearing on my promotion in Latvia. Christine is a magnificent organist! She successfully plays a lot of solo and ensemble programs.

In November 2014 (after a year of my stay in Latvia), I was invited to the church of St. Paul. Pastor Dirts enthusiastically takes all my ideas. So I spend one month with solo concerts in the church. And as well one concert for children, in which I talk about the organ itself and acquaint children with organ music. These concerts were echoed not only in children but even in adults who previously had never seen the organ. They did not anticipate how it is played, that there are different registers (tremblay). Recently I spent a similar format for the disabled people. It was the request of Sasha Pavlovskaya (she has recently moved to Latvia, she is a social worker). Such format of concerts is difficult to hold in Russia. Most of the organs are in the concert halls, there is a very large rent there, so all the projects become commercial at once. The other situation is in Latvia. Almost all concerts carry out charity. So sometimes I ask myself if I can earn here or all my income will come from touring only. Unlike my colleagues and friends-musicians, I do not aspire to teaching. I’m only interested in solo performance. However I take part in ensembles. I’m glad that my friend Irina Vylegzhanina, cellist, has also moved to Riga. We perform regularly in various churches with Irina. Sometimes I think about the continuation of my administration work, here in Latvia. For example to organize some sort of a festival, but there is always something to stop me. I realize that I can not waste my time, I must strictly follow the chosen path.