When you meet CSMA Distinguished teacher, Ludmila Kurtova, you think of the quintessential Russian qualities of passion, elegance, enthusiasm and warmth. She exudes these qualities in both her music and teaching.
A native of Russia, Kurtova has lived and taught in Switzerland, Hungary, Germany and currently the USA, where she was awarded a Green Card — permanent residence status in the USA — for extraordinary ability.. She started piano lessons at five years of age and through a combination of talent and disciplined practice, graduated from the prestigious Moscow Conservatory with a Red Diploma (highest distinction). She first visited the United States as a member of The Moscow State Philharmonic during a month-long tour in the days of the cold war. Among the venues that she played was a concert at the United Nations in New York City.
One of the many strengths of CSMA is its rich and diverse faculty, a body which reflects the multi-cultural nature of Silicon Valley and the School itself. CSMA students have the opportunity to not only develop their instrumental and choral skills, but also absorb the distinct flavors of teachers from many countries of the world. Students of Kurtova not only learn the technical aspects of music, but also incorporate passion into their playing. Kurtova stresses the need when playing to interpret the mood of the pieces — to play with feeling. She says, “Sad should be played sadly. Joy should be played joyously.” This may appear obvious but she insists that in the United States, technical training often takes precedence over the emotional aspects of music. “Russians are an emotional people” she says. “We sing songs from an early age.”
Kurtova teaches many talented students, including some she would regards as prodigies, including Ethel Chernyavsky, whose father plays second violin in the San Francisco Symphony, Michelle Li and twin brothers, Jove and Titan Yuan. Perhaps one day these students will go on to illustrious careers as soloists with orchestras. What is certain is that their talents will be nurtured by Ludmila Kurtova to the fullest.