How many of you have heard of Nikolai Kapustin?

I had not – until recently, when pianist Richard Sherman shared the above video with me. Ukrainian-born Nikolai Girshevich Kapustin (*1937) studied with Avrelian Rubakh – who also taught Vladimir Horowitz – and initially pursued a classical career, both as performer and autodidact composer.

“Kapustin regards himself as a composer rather than a jazz musician. He has said, “I was never a jazz musician. I never tried to be a real jazz pianist, but I had to do it because of the composing. I’m not interested in improvisation – and what is a jazz musician without improvisation? All my improvisation is written….”

Immigrating from China in 1991, Shan-shan Sun studied at Cleveland Institute of Music. Her interpretations of the Kapustin Jazz speaks volumes. Nothing short of tantalizingly stunning – technically and musically!