Ksenija Sidorova: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Ksenija Sidorova: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Called “the Princess of the Accordion” Ksenija Sidorova is blurring the line between popular and classical music.

The award-winning, Latvian-born star is not only taking the classical world by storm, she’s also the new darling for her label, the esteemed classical institution Deutsche Grammophon, which sees an audience for her among fans who in recent years fell for squeezbox-toting acts like Arcade Fire, The Decemberists and Beirut.

Released earlier this month, Sidorova’s ambitious debut recording on the label, Carmen, is an outside-the-box reinterpretation of the classic Bizet opera, transcribed for the accordion and incorporating Latin, Asian, European and American musical influences. And beginning in July she’ll reveal those in a live format across Europe before heading to Canada and the U.S. in the fall.

Below, Ksenija Sidorova talked with us about five albums that changed her life.

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Arcadi Volodos: Piano Transcriptions

I came across this album as a student of the Royal Academy of Music. The first impression I had, and the impression I still have listening to it now, hasn’t changed a bit. I admire the mastery of this performer, both as a recording artist and as a concert artist. This is a true inspiration for transcriptions, especially for me as an accordionist. Another reason why I love this recording is that not at any moment does Volodos make you think of his technique; it’s flawless in every way.


Vicente Amigo: Tierra

I came across Vicente Amigo though my dear friend, colleague and partner on stage, percussionist Itamar Doari. Since hearing him first live in the U.S. I keep listening to this wonderful album of Vicente’s compositions and I find myself drifting away in the Latin rhythms and sound of flamenco guitar mixed beautifully with Celtic melodies. One of my absolute favorites is a track called “Roma.” A great example of an artist who can transform the sound depending whether he is on stage or in the studio.


Richard Galliano & Michel Portal: Blow Up

To any accordionist, Richard Galliano is a grande figure. This very programme on Blow Up brings back wonderful, warm memories to me, as I went to hear his concert a day before leaving to London for what was to be my entrance audition to the Royal Academy of Music. I’m a huge fan of Galliano, his musicality and compositions. He has a truly unique language and touch, which can be heard in the first notes of anything he plays.


Gidon Kremer & Kremerata Baltica: Eight Seasons

When I get passionate about a certain recording or piece I usually listen to it on repeat day and night. This was the case with Kremerata Baltic’s Eight Seasons. These absolutely beautiful arrangements of Vivaldi and Piazzolla’s Seasons underline the best of both pieces and perhaps even help understand them better when put alongside each other.


Buena Vista Social Club: Buena Vista Social Club

I think, in a way, this album was an inspiration to my recent Deutsche Grammophon debut, Carmen. The true sound and spirit of a Havana club, freedom and joy. I can listen to this on any occasion, at any time of night or day.

[Image courtesy of © Gavin Evans/Deutsche Grammophon]

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