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Whatever Lola Wants

San Diego Magazine talks with pianist Lola Astanova


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(page 1 of 2)

Lola Astanova and Julie Andrews

Lola Astanova and Julie Andrews

Lola Astanova is one of the world’s most sought-after pianists, and set to headline the San Diego Symphony’s 2012 Donor Appreciation Concert on August 30. There’s still time to donate and get tickets. San Diego Magazine talks with the musician about life lessons, haute couture, and her ‘deeply emotional’ style.

SDM: You are one of the world’s most accomplished pianists, and you’re also quite beautiful. Has anyone ever told you that you look like Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice)?  

LA: Thank you, that’s very kind, indeed. Actually, no, I haven’t heard comparisons to Posh Spice, but I’m flattered because I used to love Spice Girls.

SDM: You’ve developed a reputation for being a fashionista. Who are some of your favorite designers?

LA: I do love fashion and believe that some extraordinary artists work in the field. I love the boldness and creativity of Tom Ford, Emilio Pucci, and Alexander McQueen and the unsurpassed elegance of Chanel and Oscar de la Renta

SDM: Is it more difficult to play the piano in high heels?

LA: No, for me, it’d be more difficult to play in flats. (Laughs) In fact, I don’t own a single pair of flats.

SDM: Has your style been influenced by your travels? What are some of your favorite cities for fashion?

LA: Yes, travel definitely influences one’s style and taste. And for me the two most exhilarating fashion cities are New York and Milan.

SDM: Who are some of your favorite composers? 

LA: My favorites change all the time, but Rachmaninoff and Chopin are always among them.

SDM: You were born in the former Soviet Union and started playing the piano at age 6. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?

LA: If I had to pick one lesson, it would be summarized in one word: patience. Which, of course, happens to be my least favorite word in the world.

SDM: You’ve collaborated with the likes of acclaimed pianist Byron Janis and San Diego Symphony music director Jahja Ling. What are some of the take-aways from those experiences?  

LA: It is very rare to find a conductor who can make the separation between soloist and orchestra disappear, so that they function like one. Every time I play with Mr. Ling I am amazed at his ability to do that. As for Mr. Janis, one of the biggest lessons I learned from him is not to have just one dream, but rather to have dreams.

The 2012 Donor Appreciation Concert is open to anyone who has made a donation to the San Diego Symphony in the last year. Anyone who decides to donate before August 24 will receive up to eight tickets. Contact 619.615.3908 or visit sandiegosymphony.com.

Learn more about Lola at lolaastanova.com or @FollowLola on Twitter.

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