Olga Bobrovnikova: musician, writer and public figure
“A pianist of the Romantic School”, ”Diva of Pianoforte” – that is how international media has spoken about this fascinating young woman. Since she was a child, Olga dreams about music and to be onstage. She gets a good music education while training at the Gnesiny Seven-Year School through to the Gnesiny Music Pedagogical Institute, where she manages to form a piano duet, then she takes part in many ensembles. While still a student, Olga gets acquainted with professor Raikov and starts a joint search in the area of music therapy. On graduating from the Institute, Olga gives concerts on tours, where she performs in a duet together with her husband (violinist Mikhail Bezverkhniy) and also as a solo player; she records chamber music works by Schubert, Mozart, Tartini, she also participates in international festivals and competitions. Starting 2003, she performs benefit concerts to support the fight with multiple sclerosis, in 2006 Olga established the MU-SIC Foundation and travelled around the world with the mission “Music and musicians against MS”. She gives a series of master classes in Russia and overseas, writes a book about Conservatoire professor Pavel Avgustovich Pabst (1854-1897), who was a friend of Tchaikovsky, Taneyev, Rubinstein. The other day, the “Diary of Alexandra Petrovna Pabst” book is to be released by the “Sport i Kultura” publisher in Moscow. All that is being done despite the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, the first signs of which showed up to Olga over twenty years ago.
September 14, there was a TV story about multiple sclerosis in the television talk-show “Zdorovie” (“Health”), in which much prominence was given to pianist Olga Bobrovnikova who has MS and, despite that, is an active public figure. Olga has written a romantic story, which unfolds at the time of Silver Age. The book has been highly recognized by critics, while Olga forwarded the author’s fee to the All-Russian MS Society. In this work, the author made an attempt to raise as much awareness as possible among general public as well as to draw the interest of media to the issues of MS.
Sure enough, patients’ creative work that has gained recognition from competent people draws attention of the public; moreover, people increasingly get interested in the author and what he or she wishes to say. A few years ago, there was a new movement arising in the United States that would comprise famous people with MS; those were people who were able to bring the firsthand experience of a PwMS and true facts about the disease to a wide audience. For instance, such a VIP PwMS could be a TV anchor, whose capabilities to get things done are the highest when it comes to raising awareness about MS.
Distribution of printed material of authors with MS among general public is one of similar effective ways to tell people more about the problem and start solving it. Today, the book by Bobrovnikova is highly expected to bring some result of the kind.
All round people are always attractive. Olga, despite the malady, still works as a musician. Thus, last December she gave benefit concerts in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, besides, she was invited to join the judges at the Rakhmaninov contest of music players.
Having a demanding work schedule of a musician like this, Olga Babrovnikova had no fear to find time and write a book to tell about Pavel Avgustovich Pabst who was a friend of Tchaikovsky, Taneyev, and Rubinstein. The beginning of this literary story is amazing in itself. Some three years ago, a Parisian with a very low income brought a shoe box with sheets of music as he had heard once that she played piano. He yielded the box at ridiculous 100 francs or so. There, Olga found diaries of the spouse of Mr Pabst …
Why Pabst? Olga Babrovnikova explained it in this way: ‘This person came into my life in the year of 2001, when I was diagnosed. Pavel Avgustovich Pabst was professor, who worked as a teacher at the Moscow Conservatoire; he died at his prime at the age of 43, and he was undeservingly raised from the history course. I made use of his methods including technical, mental and emotional techniques that this most talented pedagogue developed, and these tools helped me a lot…’
Only a truly interesting person can interest others and have them to follow him. They say, and it is only fair that he who is talented has a gift for all trades. Olga established the MU-SIC Foundation and managed to collect £65,000 GBP which is quite considerable even in Europe. As this person has committed herself to the struggle, she transferred all this money to MS organizations.
The disease made her change her life but not in the least her determination to fight and keep searching. With all her numerous music practices, concerts and pupils that place time limitations on the life of a PwMS (we shouldn’t forget the disease is insidious and unpredictable), Olga manages to surmount obstacles and find like-minded fellows by her side, with whom together she aspires to the victory.
All-Russian MS Society
(some facts taken from ‘Stoletnik’ publication)