A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Artist Series: Rastrelli Cello Quartet

November 8, 2013 | 07:30 PM to 08:30 PM



Houghton College welcomes the renowned Russian Grammy nominated group, the Rastrelli Cello Quartet for a performance on November 8 in Wesley Chapel at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $15 adult, $7 youth and available in advance at www.hougthon.edu/artist-series or at the door. 

"Rastrelli stands on the fundamentals of ensemble unity, responsiveness, virtuosity and spirited musicality,” says the San Antonio Express News.


Strings Magazine states, “They are men on a mission. The Rastrelli Cello Quartet, four Russians living in Germany, is out to cross all genres.”


According to the Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland, “…each is a virtuoso in his own right, and together they play with a sense of musical purpose and personal camaraderie that is infectious.”

A singularly unique ensemble, the Rastrelli Cello Quartet has been thrilling audiences with their renderings of non-traditional programming since 2002. 

Kira Kraftzoff, Kirill Timofeev, Misha Degtjareff, and Sergio Drabkin formed the ensemble with a mission to perform music “between the genres,” and their widely varied programs mix comfortably works by Bach, Saint-Saens and Tchaikovsky with that of George Gershwin, Dave Brubeck and Leroy Anderson. 

"The Rastrelli quartet appeared  on the Artist Series about five years  ago and were a tremendous hit; they literallly brought the house down... and I had students begging me to bring them back," said Robert Galloway, adjunct instructor of music at Houghton.  "They communicate with ease with their audience, have great charisma (to say nothing of their stunning musicianship) as performers.  Those who attend will not be disappointed!"

The name of the Quartet is taken from the eighteenth-century architect Bartholomew Rastrelli, who designed the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the home city of three of the four quartet members.

The Rastrelli have performed in many of Europe’s great concert halls, including the Gasteig in Munich, Konzerthaus Vienna, St. Petersburg’s Philharmonic Hall, Bulgaria Hall Sofia, the Liederhalle Stuttgart, and Philharmonic Hall in Minsk.  

In addition to concert tours in Europe, the USA and Russia, the Rastrelli performs at such summer music festivals as the Beethoven Festival Bonn, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Darmstadter Festspiele, Branderburgische Sommerkonzerte, Oberstdorfer Musiksommer, Hohenlohe Kultursommer, Rheingau Musikfestival, Ohridsko Leto (Macedonia) and the Meadowlark Music Festival USA.

Kira Kraftzoff, leader and founder of Rastrelli Cello Quartet was born in 1971 in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia). Aged 6, he started his studies at “The Special Music School for Highly Talented Children” of St. Petersburg State Conservatory, under tutorship of Prof. Mark Reisenstock.

He had his public debut at the age of 14 with the Orchestra of St. Petersburg Radio performing The Cello Concerto by A. Khatchaturian in The Grand Concert Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmony.

In 1987, he took part in the “All-Russia Cello Competition,” and was granted a diploma there. In 1988, he was the youngest finalist ever in the All-USSR Cello Competition, winning a diploma and a special award for a “most brilliant perspective.”

He continued his studies with the class tutored by Prof. Anatoly Nikitin at St. Petersburg State Conservatory named after Rimsky-Korsakow, from which he graduated with honors in 1994. On graduating, he was the assistant teacher of Prof. Nikitin's class for four years, as well as being a student by master classes of the legendary performer Daniel Schafran.  

In 1993, he received the high distinction of representing St. Petersburg Conservatory in Mstislav Rostropovichґs first master-class in Russia after his long exile.

As a partaker of a student exchange program he came to Stuttgart, completing his studies with Prof. Peter Buck (cellist of the Melos-Quartett) and graduating as a student laureate.

Sergio Drabkin was born in 1953 in Polotsk (Byelorussia), and he studied music at the Minsk State Conservatory. In 1976 he was a laureate of the National Cello Contest.  After graduating, he became a leading cellist of the Minsk State Symphonic Orchestra. He was also a member of the Byelorussia State Quartet, of the ensemble of ancient music "Cantabile" and of the Minsk Chamber Orchestra.

In 1995 he moved to Germany, where he has performed in numerous German and international orchestras and chamber music ensembles. Since 1999 he is a member of the Wuerttemberger Kammerorchester.

Drabkin has written arrangements for a number of famous musicians such as James Galway, Irena Grafenauer, Michaela Petri, Giora Feidman and the Wuerttemberger Kammerorchester.

Kirill Timofeev was born in 1978 in St. Petersburg. In 2001 he graduated from the St. Petersburg State Conservatoire, where from 1996 to 2001 he studied music and cello with Prof. Anatoly Nikitin. During the same period, he studied chamber music with N. Arzumanova as well as basso continuo and ancient music with E. Seredinskaja.

Furthermore, from 2003 to 2005 he studied at the Music College in Stuttgart in the soloists class of Prof. Peter Buck.  In 1997 he was the third laureate of the Pan-Russian Cello Contest in Voronesz. In 1999 he took first place at the Caltanissetta Chamber Music Contest (Italy) as the cellist of a piano trio.

In 1998 he played in the St. Petersburg Philarmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov, and in 1999 and 2000 he worked with the "St. Petersburg Soloists chamber" orchestra under the direction of M. Gantvarg.

Timofeev gained valuable experience in the field of contemporary music by taking part in the various programs of the St. Petersburg institute of modern art "Pro Arte." He has successfully appeared in chamber ensembles and as a soloist at concerts and festivals in Europe, Russia and the USA.

Mikhail (Mischa) Degtjareff was born in 1978 in St. Petersburg and entered the specialized secondary music school of St. Petersburg Conservatoire in 1985, studying in the cello class of E. Dernova.

Degtjareff Studied at St. Petersburg Conservatoire from 1996 to 2001 under professor Anatoly Nikitin and his assistant Kira Kraftzoff.

He was a winner of the festival Young Russian Talents (Orel) in 1996, and also a winner of the contest Friends of Music, organized by the Gartov fund, in St. Petersburg in 1998.

Degtjareff participated in the orchestra academy of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in 1998.  He attended cello master courses under professors Bernard Greenhouse, François Guille, Ulf Tishberiсk, Mainz (the trio Fontane) and Kirill Rodin.

He has also studied the play of the original musical instruments under Maria Leonhardt in 1999 and graduated from Music Higher School in Stuttgart under Professor Peter Buck in 2005.

The Rastrelli Quartet currently has five recordings (Rastrelli, Volumes 1-5) on the Solo Musica, TonArt and Manchester labels, as well as a 2008 release with music by Piazzolla entitled “Cello in Buenos-Aires.”

Wesley Chapel
1 Willard Ave
Houghton, NY 14744
For More Information Contact:
Shelly Hillman|5855679400|
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