The rare dual talent of pianist and cellist Elena Gaponenko revealed itself very early: she began to learn two instruments professionally at the age of 4.
In the last 20 years she has performed as a soloist and as a chamber musician at many internationally renowned festivals, concert series and in renowned halls, including in Russia, Lithuania, Germany, Austria, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy, including the castle Mirabell in Salzburg, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Konzerthaus Berlin, in the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow.
Elena Gaponenko sees herself as a kind of interpreter who lets the music flow through her and makes the sonic essence of the messages encoded in it accessible to the audience. She herself describes the stage as her calling and feels the highest fulfillment when the music appears as "pure music" and the technical implementation is entirely subordinate to the musical content.
Her discography includes a very large repertoire in various solo instrumentations, her evident concepts convince with significant and "fresh" connections between pure music and the individuals: composer in his time and interpreter today.
In 2015 her CD "Duo for one" was released on the Genuin label with solo and chamber music works, on which Elena Gaponenko plays both instruments at the same time. The press honored this recording with the statement "perfect unity".
The double album "Opus 8", released by Oehms Classics in 2017, is divided into the parts "Russian Poems" for piano solo and "Finno-Ugric Rhapsody" for cello solo. The thematically linked program with works by Russian, Finnish and Hungarian composers had a very positive response both in Germany and around the world.
"This hauntingly beautiful city, which brought together so many musical icons and allowed them to flourish creatively, is to be recognized as a great guardian of culture". This quote from the booklet describes the subject of the piano solo album "Hommage à Vienne", also released by Oehms Classics in 2019, which also received excellent reviews and a lot of encouragement from the listeners and was honored as CD of the week at Stephans Dom Radio in Vienna .
The speed and elegance with which the Romantic epoch replaced classical music in Vienna gave Elena Gaponenko the opportunity to complete the program for this album with works by Clara Wieck-Schumann, Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven and variations compiled by the interpreter to summarize on a topic by Anton Diabelli and to show this epochal change within only 25 years.
Elena Gaponenko has been tirelessly promoting talent and supporting culture at home and abroad for many years.
From 2009-2014 she acted as co-founder and artistic director of the concert series "World Stars of the Future" for the establishment and maintenance of interest in classical music, as well as for the promotion of young talents and experienced musicians. Since 2015 she has been a Classic Ambassador of the Sir Peter Ustinov Foundation. From 2023 she will take over the artistic direction of the classical concert series at Drachenburg Castle in Königswinter.
As a progressive teacher, Elena Gaponenko has been teaching at various higher education institutions in Europe since 2008, including the University of Music Vienna, University of the Arts Berlin, Dr. Hoch's Conservatory Frankfurt am Main, Robert-Schumann University Düsseldorf and University of the Arts Bremen. Her work as a juror at competitions and as a guest lecturer at master classes rounds off her pedagogical profile.
Elena Gaponenko is a prizewinner and graduate performer at international competitions on both instruments.
At the age of 9 she performed for the first time as a soloist with an orchestra. She was taught both instruments at the renowned special music schools in Moscow (Russia): at the Central Music School at the Moscow Conservatory and at the Gnessyny Special Music School, which she graduated with honors. This was followed by studies at the music Universities in Detmold and Cologne in Germany and at the Hogeschool voor Muziek Maastricht in the Netherlands. She then completed the concert exam in piano and cello (“cum laude”).
During her studies and in master classes, she received formative impulses from luminaries such as Prof. Karina Georgian, Prof. Mirel Jancovici, Prof. Maria Kliegel, Prof. Dmitri Ferschtman, Prof. Bernhard Greenhouse, Prof. Anatol Ugorski, Prof. Pavel Gililov, Prof Vladimir Krainev, Alexander Bakulov, Sergej Dijour, Lydia Fichtenholz and others.
She was supported by various programs for the promotion of talent, including the LMN association Yehudi Menuhin, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and the excellence program of the UdK Berlin.