tabla and toy piano
Shawn Mativetsky (tabla) and Xenia Pestova (keyboards) create an intimate, embodied experience, deeply influenced by the warmth and intimacy of Indian music. Their performances include commissioned work, improvisations, and traditional music, and brings a fascinating duality to the stage as two different sound worlds, idioms, and traditions meet.
“We have something in common, in that we don’t fit into boxes. People like to put each other into boxes, and I think both of us don’t really fit. We don’t go into this square hole, as it were. This collaboration kind of draws on that.”
– Xenia Pestova
Exponent of the Benares gharana, and disciple of the legendary Pandit Sharda Sahai, Shawn Mativetsky is a highly sought-after tabla performer and educator. He is active in the promotion of the tabla and North Indian classical music through lectures, workshops, and performances across Canada and internationally. Based in Montreal, Shawn teaches tabla and percussion at McGill University. His solo CD, Payton MacDonald: Works for Tabla, was released in 2007, and Cycles, his CD of Canadian compositions for tabla, was released in the fall of 2011.
As a practitioner of Indian classical music, Shawn regularly gives solo tabla performances, as well as accompanying kathak dance, voice, bansuri, sarod, santoor, sarangi, and sitar artists. Since 2003, Shawn has been affiliated with the Pandit Ram Sahai Foundation (UK/India), and in the summers of 2006 and 2008, hosted tabla maestro Pandit Sharda Sahai’s annual summer tabla workshop. Since 2011, Shawn has been hosting his own annual summer tabla workshop at McGill University. In recent years, he has been working closely with santoor player Jonathan Voyer, sitarist Uwe Neumann, and kathak dancer Sudeshna Maulik.
Shawn has performed numerous solo recitals, spanning Canada, the United States, the UK, and India and has been featured in series such as the Windsor Canadian Music Festival, Pontio / Music @ Bangor, New Music in New Spaces, Groundswell, Festival Montréal Baroque, Jusqu’aux Oreilles, Evolutions, Voyages: Montréal-New York, Festival International du Domaine Forget, New Works Calgary, Music Toronto, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. As an ensemble musician, Shawn Mativetsky performs regularly with violinist Parmela Attariwala’s cross-cultural Attar Project, Indo-fusion group Ragleela, Indian-folk group Galitcha, and the improv trio Of Sound, Mind and Body, with Tim Brady and Helmut Lipsky. A versatile studio musician, Shawn has appeared on albums by Yann Perreau, Elephant Stone, Suzie Leblanc, Ramachandra Borcar, and Daniel Lavoie. Regular performances with Galitcha have led to concerts across Canada and the US, as well as tours to France and Tunisia, the chance to play with guest musicians such as Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Salil Bhatt, Harry Manx, and Yves Lambert, as well as a performance for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during their visit to Canada.
“a model of poise and technical control… a first-rate contemporary pianist”
“one of the leading performers of contemporary, non-conformist music”
Described as “outstanding” (Tempo), “stunning” (Wales Arts Review), “ravishing” (Pizzicato) and “remarkably sensuous” (New Zealand Herald), pianist Xenia Pestova’s performances and recordings have earned her a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire of her generation. Lauded for “dynamic energy and crystalline precision” (RTE Nova Ireland), Pestova is featured at major festivals and venues around the world, including appearances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Glasgow Royal Concert Halls, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Festival Archipel (Geneva), Christchurch Arts Festival (New Zealand), Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival (Canada), Frontiers+ (Birmingham), Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Lanaudière (Canada), Festival Musica (Strasbourg), Sonorities (Belfast), Spark (USA) and Voix Nouvelles Royaumont (France). She is equally at home in experimental concert settings, and has performed in an underground World War II fortress, tropical gardens and a natural cave system inhabited by hibernating bats.
Pestova’s commitment and dedication to promoting music by living composers led her to commission dozens of new works and collaborate with major innovators in contemporary music. Her widely acclaimed recordings of core piano duo works of the Twentieth Century by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen with pianist Pascal Meyer are available on four CDs for Naxos Records. Her recording of Stockhausen’s “Mantra” was praised as “a highly accomplished presentation of one of the landmark pieces in the second half of the 20th century” in the Guardian. Her evocative solo debut of premiere recordings for the Innova label titled “Shadow Piano” was described as a “terrific album of dark, probing music” by the Chicago Reader. Currently, she is the Director of Performance at the University of Nottingham, and continues to mentor emerging musicians in workshops at conservatories and universities around the UK, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, USA and Brazil.