MSU Shines Bronze at Major Competition
Doctoral student chamber duo garners high praise for innovative style.
A husband-wife chamber duo from Russia working on doctorates at the MSU College of Music took third prize at the prestigious International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition in December 2016 through the Chamber Music Foundation of New England.
Performing as the Class&Jazz Duo, Oleg Bezuglov and Natalia Bezuglova received a bronze medal for performances that fused musical styles at the biannual event held for the seventh time at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. With Oleg on violin and Natalia on piano, the two formed the duo in 2005 and have garnered significant success at international competitions and festivals worldwide.
While experienced and accomplished as a chamber duo in Europe, Oleg explains that the recent event in Boston, Mass., expanded the recognition of their chamber group in the U.S.
“Our goal is to promote the duet repertoire and to show that it’s an essential form of chamber music,” says Oleg. “It’s more than just a soloist with a piano, and is definitely within the chamber music genre.”
Oleg and Natalia began collaborating as students at the Rostov State SV Rachmaninoff Conservatory. The two pursued careers in chamber music after graduation, competing and taking high honors at renowned competitions in Russia, Austria, Germany, Poland and Ukraine. Both musicians came to MSU to continue their study of music performance — Oleg in 2010, Natalia in 2012 — and have received grants from prestigious foundations on the international, national and local levels to support their work.
The Class&Jazz Duo is built on the idea of performing classical and contemporary music repertoire alongside jazz masterpieces. Oleg explains that he and Natalia wanted to broaden the listening audience for classical music and began exploring how to combine jazz and classical genres into traditional musical forms like sonatas.
“We commissioned several arrangements and did a couple ourselves,” says Natalia. “Some were purely jazz inspired.”
Besides their work in Class&Jazz, the couple actively collaborate with other musicians on chamber music projects. The Bezuglovs are the co-founders of the ION Trio with cellist and MSU Alumni Igor Cetkovic (DMA 2015). Oleg is a contracted member of several symphony orchestras in Michigan. He is also a violin and viola instructor at the Flint Institute of Music. Natalia is on the piano faculty of the MSU Community Music School. The two are completing the doctoral performance programs at MSU—Oleg with Professor Dmitri Berlinsky, violin, and Natalia with Professor Deborah Moriarty, piano.
“It’s wonderful that the MSU College of Music has been able to attract and support such talented and accomplished musicians like Oleg and Natalia,” says Berlinsky. “Having our students participate at prestigious music festivals and competitions helps promote our college further and bring advanced students here to MSU.”
Moriarty also applauded the achievements of the duo that contribute to the culture of excellence at the MSU College of Music.
“Natalia and Oleg truly represent the kind of innovative entrepreneurship that is an integral part of the College of Music,” says Moriarty. “This national recognition of their creativity, talent and dedication is well deserved.”