‘Professors’ music,’ or Klavierabend for two
On December 5, the Higher School of Economics hosted the Piano Evening for Two. The event lasted two hours, during which time Michel Grabisch, Professor of Computer Sciences at University Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne, and Sergei Erofeev, Vice Rector of HSE, performed compositions by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel and Bach.
Michel Grabisch came to HSE to give several lectures on the theory of multi-criteria choice theory, preference modeling, and cooperative game theory. But knowing that Professor Grabisch has played piano for more than 10 years and plays in several chamber ensembles, HSE Professor Fuad Aleskerov, who invited Grabisch, suggested that Professor Grabisch give a concert.
Sergei Erofeev, a sociologist and the Higher School of Economics’ Vice-Rector for International Affairs, performed alongside Grabisch at the event. Erofeev is also a musician and an alumnus of Kazan State Conservatoire, where he studied piano. In the 1990s, Erofeev switched from his musical career to an academic one.
When presenting the musicians to the audience, the supervisor of the Professors' Wednesdays series, Marina Lebed, drew attention to the fact that this concert was to a certain degree a return to the initial format – meetings with professors where music was an added plus. But in the project’s 10 years of existence, its musical portion has become its own event. Some of the best musicians of Russia have performed at HSE, and the genre and time boundaries have grown; concerts are not only held on Wednesdays now, and performances by ‘real’ professors have become an enjoyable part of Professors’ Wednesdays.
An online event dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven was held as part of HSE University’s A University Open to the City project. The event’s online format made it possible to include not only musical fragments, but also detailed comments from experts. In particular, they discussed whether our current times under the conditions of the pandemic have anything in common with the time in which the great composer lived.
In December 2016, an orchestra was formed at HSE whose musicians include both lecturers and students – and not only from HSE. The artists, who are mastering a broad repertoire from classical operas to film soundtracks, are preparing to play at non-university venues and are inviting new participants to join them.
Evgenia Kondrashina graduated with honours from the International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) bachelor’s programme in 2005 before going on to receive her master’s from the London School of Economics. An excellent student, Evgenia for a long time thought that the next logical step would be a prestigious career at a top English consulting firm, but the idea of following in others’ footsteps doesn’t make everyone happy. Evgenia deviated from this trajectory and found herself in one of the world’s leading orchestras – the London Symphony Orchestra – where she continues to work today.
On 17th June in the Professors Hall at HSE Ilya Mochalov, second year Politics student at HSE and fourth year music student at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, gave a solo piano concert. Ilya has won a number of Russian and international prizes at music festivals and competitions. At the concert he played works by his favourite composer, Sergei Rakhmaninov.