Natasha Korsakova visits NWA as writer, violinist

Natasha Korsakova visits NWA as writer, violinist

You might link the name of promoter Dave Thomas to legends like Jubilant Sykes, but he’s currently impressed by an artist named Natasha Korsakova, who is not only a violinist but also the author of a series of best-selling mysteries.

“A friend had strongly suggested that I should see this ‘phenomenal’ artist in concert,” Thomas remembers. “I was certainly impressed with her musicality, virtuosity and stage presence, and after speaking with her following the concert, it was obvious that she was a quality individual as well. We stayed in touch following that performance and eventually, this evolved into management as well.

“On this tour, Natasha is in the U.S. for three performances, two at Butterfield Trail Village Performance Hall and one presented by UAFS in Fort Smith,” he continues. “In addition, Natasha will also be presenting a lecture at Butterfield Trail Village on what it’s like maintaining two world-class careers as a writer and a musician simultaneously.”

Korsakova took time to answer these question for What’s Up!

Q. I read that you started playing the violin very young and studied with both your grandfather and your father. Was music your first love?

A. Since I was born into the musical family — fifth generation from my father’s side, third generation from my mother’s — the path was indeed expected for me. I got my first piano lessons at 3 and violin at 5 years old. My father Andrei, great violinist, wanted me to play the piano; my mother, Iolanta, wonderful pianist, wanted me to become a violinist. After all, my mom has “won.”

Q. Was there a moment that music really became your passion?

A. Definitely [when] I was listening to the rehearsals of my parents at home. I particularly fell in love with Brahms’ Sonatas for violin and piano, and Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” whereas thanks to my mother I discovered the infinite beauty of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov piano pieces. My parents often rehearsed in the evening, and instead of going to sleep, I was secretly listening to them behind the door.

Q. Please tell me about your violin!

A. It’s made by the wonderful French luthier J.B. Vuillaume in 1870 in Paris. The violin is a perfect and rare imitation of the Stradivarius “Messiah” from 1716.

The “Messiah” Stradivarius, which is kept in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, is appreciated as the most valuable, expensive and mysterious violin. It’s the only Stradivarius in perfect state — by now the violin is 307 years old — but it’s a so-called “mute” violin, since nobody knows how it sounds — a true mystery. It’s never been performed in concert. J.B. Vuillaume got the “Messiah” violin in his hands in 1855 and built gorgeous copies of the instrument.

When the “Messiah” was finally brought to Cremona after more than 100 years, in order to be part of the extraordinary exhibition, my J.B. Vuillaume violin was exposed next to the Stradivarius, as one of the most beautiful and precise imitations.

Q. How did the writing come about? And why mysteries?

A. I always was an avid reader of crime novels, mysteries and detective stories. The thing that fascinated me most of all is the tension (best if it lasts till the very last page), the art of investigation, the “game” with the reader as when it comes to search the suspects and finally to find the assassin and particularly the reason of his or her actions. I knew it was a huge project, but I obviously took a risk and wrote three of them by now, very much enjoying it, and am certainly planning more.

Q. And which passions calls you the most now — your music or your writing?

A. Definitely both! As a musician, my work is to interpret the pieces written by old and new composers. As an author, I am creating my own story from the beginning till the end. Both are very creative and inspiring, and I’d say they can co-exist really nicely!


In Concert:

Natasha Korsakova

WHEN & WHERE — 7 p.m. Aug. 25 at Butterfield Trail Village performance hall in Fayetteville & 7 p.m. Aug. 26 at First Presbyterian Church, 116 N. 12th St. in Fort Smith

COST — $20 in Fayetteville; free in Fort Smith (presented by the UAFS Music & Theater department)

INFO — To buy tickets for Fayetteville, email

Categories: Music