Essentia (2018)

Paganini, Bloch, Brahms, Kugel, Bartók

Dana Zemtsov, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

Daniel Raiskin

One of the biggest dilemmas of our generation is where are we from, who are we, what is our identity? Globalization has made the whole world closer, bringing our cultures more and more together. I myself am a product of this mix, being born in Mexico to Russian parents with a Jewish background, having studied at a French school in Norway and grown up in Holland. Consequently I have often thought about these questions: which culture is closest to me? What am I? I could feel at home and relate to all these cultures and yet I am not really part of any of them.

The music on this album explores the opposite perspective; each piece is very strong influenced by the composer’s culture. One can immediately smell the Hungarian landscape in Bartok’s Viola Concerto, Italian roots in the Carnevale di Venezia, the Jewish soul in Bloch’s Nigun and Russian Orthodox chants in Kugel’s Preghiera. However, there is a deeper meaning to the title of this album, as the programme also touches the spiritual and carnal nature of the human being. During the process of compiling this programme I suddenly realized the strong religious connection between the second movement of the Bartok concerto and the two prayers that follow. This is followed by the contrasting ‘danse macabre’ in the third movement, which for me is very much associated with the carnal ritual of a carnival, when one is allowed to release one’s most primitive instincts. I believe each of these pieces explores the deepest roots of humankind, that core that will be there, no matter where we go or what we do.

I am eternally grateful, primarily to Jared Sacks, for the opportunity of going through this unforgettable experience. I could not be happier to have done so with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and one of the best musicians I could have wished to collaborate with, the conductor Daniel Raiskin.

- Dana Zemtsov

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Dana Zemtsov

Winner of numerous competitions and developing an outstanding career, Dana Zemtsov is one of the most promising international viola soloists of her generation. 

Dana Zemtsov was born in 1992 in Mexico City. She comes from a family of musicians. At the age of 5 she received her first music lessons from her grandmother and from her parents, both viola players, Mikhail Zemtsov and Julia Dinerstein. Since 2012 she studies with the famous viola virtuoso Michael Kugel. 

Highlights in the 2012 / 13 season include Dana’s performance of the Bartók Viola Concerto in the Great Hall of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, chamber music with Janine Jansen and Martin Frost during the Utrecht Chamber Music Festival and a recital in Carnegie Hall of New York. 

Dana is First Prize laureate of several competitions in Luxemburg, Italy, Austria, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands. In 2010 she won the Dutch Television competition ‘Evening of the Young Musician’ becoming the ‘Young Musician of the Year’ and representing The Netherlands at the Eurovision Young Musicians Competition in Vienna. 


Dana is regularly appearing on the most important international stages including the Great and Small halls of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Doelen in Rotterdam, Dr. Anton Philips Hall in The Hague, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, The Opera Hall in Tel Aviv, Carnegie Hall of New York among others. During the Christmas Concert in the Philharmonie in Haarlem she was presented by and performed with the world famous pianist Boris Berezovsky. She has also been chamber music partner to among others Janine Jansen, Giovanni Sollima, Martin Frost and Ilya Gringolts. As a soloist, Dana performed with the Ukrainian National Philharmonic Orchestra (Ukraine) Holland Symfonia, Sweelink Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Rotterdam, (Holland) F. Busoni Chamber Orchestra (Italy). 

Dana toured Denmark, Peru, USA, and participated in the Stars of Tomorrow tour in Germany, together with the most promising young talents of Europe. She performed at the Delft Chamber Music Festival, Storioni Festival, Grachten Festival, the International Janine Jansen Chamber Music Festival Utrecht and Three Day Music Festival The Hague. She also performed in festivals in Germany, Italy and Britain. 

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Essentia (2018)

Paganini, Bloch, Brahms, Kugel, Bartók

Dana Zemtsov, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

    NRC -

(...) mighty tone and compelling narrative power (...)

Joep Stapel

    Opus Klassiek

Her Bartók grabs you by the throat. But she is also very happy to praise the music with so many outstanding musicians around her including the National Symphony Orchestra of Estonia under Daniel Raiskin. The performances are riding the one jewel with the others. And the recording by Jared Sacks magnifies it in Tallinn.

Aart Jan van der Wal

    Darko Audio

Zemtsov’s viola was harmonically rich as well as delicate in tone and texture, all reproduced inside a soundstage that captured an open and airy orchestra sound.

Steven Plaskin

    Pizzicato LU

(...) Dana Zemtsov’s playing optimally combines structural thinking and emotional expression. (...)

Essentia (2018)

Paganini, Bloch, Brahms, Kugel, Bartók

Dana Zemtsov, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

Digital Converters: DSD Super Audio/Horus-256FS | Pyramix Editing/Merging Technologies
Mastering Room: Grimm LS1 Speakers | Van den Hul Cables
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer 4006, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis, custom design
Producer: Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn - December 2017
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD256
Speakers: Audio Lab, Holland

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41018: Essentia
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Concerto for Viola and Orchestra - I. Moderato
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Concerto for Viola and Orchestra - II. Adagio Religioso - Allegretto
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Concerto for Viola and Orchestra - III. Allegro Vivace
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Preghiera for Viola and String Orchestra
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Hungarian Dance No. 5
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Baal Shem - 3 Pictures of Hassidic Life
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Variations on - O mamma, mamma cara
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