Interpreting the piano sonatas of Anatoly Alexandrov
: a performer’s approach

  • Wei Ting Clarisse Teo

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (DPerf)


The Soviet composer-pianist and pedagogue Anatoly Nikolayevich Alexandrov (also transliterated as Anatolii Nikolayevich Aleksandrov) (1888-1982) was the longest-lived and one of the most prolific composers amongst his Soviet contemporaries. Despite considerable success in his homeland as a pedagogue and children’s music composer during his lifetime, Alexandrov and his music have since faded into obscurity.

This research project explores Alexandrov’s fourteen piano sonatas (1914-71) from a performer’s perspective. These sonatas form one of the most substantial contributions to the piano sonata genre in the 20th Century and demonstrate the evolution of Alexandrov’s compositional style. This heart of this research project comprises a critical commentary and four Artistic Projects. Since theoretical approaches to the analysis of music have predominantly characterised research on Alexandrov’s music and little has been written about the sonatas from a performer’s perspective, this critical commentary aims to fill this lacuna by providing interpretative insights to each sonata. These insights were derived from applying a hermeneutics-inspired approach which I formulated through the studying of the sonatas’ scores and an investigation into Alexandrov’s pianism.

Consequently, the interpretative insights which are detailed in the critical commentary are manifested through my Artistic Projects, where I performed all fourteen of Alexandrov’s sonatas over four live recitals. These performances also served the dual purposes of promoting awareness of these relatively obscure works within the 20th Century and Soviet piano sonata repertoire and possibly establishing a performance tradition for future interpretations.
Date of Award13 Jun 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorSinae Lee (Supervisor) & Christina Guillaumier (Supervisor)


  • Piano sonata
  • Interpretation
  • Soviet
  • Russian
  • Music performance
  • Practice-based research
  • Anatoly Nikolayevich Alexandrov
  • Anatolii Nikolayevich Aleksandrov
  • 20th century
  • Piano music

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 7 May 2029
  • Redacted version of full text open
  • Permanent embargo on video recordings of professional projects

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