The winner of our 2015 Competition has been extremely busy over the past twelve months, undertaking engagements throughout the continent and receiving rave reviews along her journey!

Here are a few highlights:


"We’re used to applauding top level artists in the Pianofortissimo summer festival in Bologna. But twenty-six-year-old Anna Tsybuleva’s Italian debut suggests we could be looking at a real champion here, destined to become a world piano star.


She embraced just over a century of music, from the maturity of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach to that of Johannes Brahms, and with a dazzling artistic maturity of her own. This elegant gesture, that fierce scowl that melts into a dancing smile are an integral part of the movement of her fingers over the keys - gentle, graceful, sharp, resolute - and the approach and retreat of the feet on the pedals. We don’t like her because we are enchanted. We are enchanted because she is a great pianist. A pianist with very pure musicality, shaping every note with pristine clarity, to the point where we can see the score scrolling beneath our very eyes malleably animated in a loving and sensitive motion.


Listening to Anna Tsybuleva is a pleasure. We bask in the warmth, the grace, the intelligence of her phrasing and her exploration of sound, her clean touch, her clear and lucid purpose, but her charisma never allows us to relax, it keeps us attentive and captivated in her musical web. And so it is in the second part, opening with a Fantasia in G minor, Op. 77 by Beethoven, once again exemplary in its detailed rhythmical care, in its internalisation of metrical scanning, and in the inner drive of the piece. With five of Brahms’s Seven Fantasias, Op. 116, she then reiterates the eloquent naturalness of the phrasing, the sophisticated timbre, and the ability to combine lightness and rigour in rendering Brahms’s maturity."

(Extracts from Roberta Pedrotti's review of Anna's performance at Bologna's pianofortissimo Festival)


"So much for her “sensitive” or “galant” style! The edges and angles in Anna Tsybuleva’s interpretation of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Sonata in G minor underlined the initially rather presumptuous sounding reference to C.P.E. Bach’s “eccentric tonal language” in the programme notes. Dry scales, sudden mood changes, abruptly ending introverted passages: at Tsybuleva’s hands, this music sounds excitingly modern, as if refracted through the Russian prism of Shostakovich, Prokofiev or even Alfred Schnittke. Nothing is as it seems; everything is open to question. Carl Philipp Emanuel, second son of Johann Sebastian Bach, becomes an exciting figure, playing with the traditional and the contemporary. The pianist’s decision to place Shostakovich’s Preludes Op 24 at the end of the programme proved another master stroke for he, too, likes to play with the compositional achievements and possibilities of his time.


Anna clearly knows exactly what she wants, displaying determined creative drive rather than a desire to lose herself in the music. In her playing every note, every accent has its meaning. Shostakovich was just one year older than Tsybuleva when he created the musical universe of his Preludes and she is clearly a kindred spirit: young and wild. In any event, she hits the changing cadences of his music with great stylistic assurance, finding its gruff, often enigmatic humour as well as the recurring lyrical inflections that conceal any number of musical devils. Her playing had immense force and energy but also displayed a seductive lightness as she created an atmosphere of salon-like charm only to break it with an ironic thrust moments later.

Even as she tantalised the audience in moments just a hair’s breadth from salon music, it was always with the masterful distance required to avoid false sentiment. The same was true of her encore, a waltz by Camille Saint-Saens. Here she pulled off a real feat, playing what is clearly a bravura piece with no little virtuosity in something of the manner of a “last dance” whilst simultaneously imbuing it with a dry ambiguity à la Shostakovich and so giving the strongest passages a musical function which suddenly lent the piece an unexpected interest. Right down to the very last note, Anna Tsybuleva emphatically laid claim to a place in the world of concert pianists. She is someone we will undoubtedly hear more of."
(Extracts from Stefan Schmöe's review of Anna's performance at the 2016 Ruhr Piano Festival)
Translations courtesy of Monique Kershaw (Kershaw Translations)