Born in Moscow in 1990, Hana Gubenko is emerging as a viola-player of outstanding creative artistry, constantly breaking new ground for her instrument through new music, transcriptions, and innovative interdisciplinary projects.
Gubenko’s musical journey began at Moscow’s Central School of Music, where she studied violin and viola under esteemed professors Galina Tourchaninova and Yulia Tomanova. She broadened her studies of the viola in Austria (with Wolfgang Klos), Spain (with Igor Sulyga), Germany (with Hartmut Lindemann), and Switzerland (with Alexander Zemtsov).
Gubenko is passionate champion of her instrument. To that end, she has dedicated her artistic life to enriching the musical literature of the viola by commissioning new works by leading compositional voices of the present day. Numerous composers have dedicated works to Gubenko, including Uri Caine, Garth Knox, Frank Ezra Levy, Daniel Schnyder, Wolfgang Andreas Schultz, and Graham Waterhouse.
As a result of this, Gubenko has made a number of world-premiere recordings, released on the Guild Music label. Her first disc (Sonata Ebraica) contains first-time recordings of sonatas by Ernst Levy and Graham Waterhouse. Her second recording (made with the Orchestre de Chambre de Toulouse, conducted by Gilles Colliard) is a portrait of the Swiss composer Frank Ezra Levy, who composed several works specifically for this occasion.
Gubenko’s third album (Jewish Music in Switzerland) was recorded in collaboration with Swiss Radio SRF2. True to Gubenko’s mission to bring new or unheard music to a wider audience, this double-disc release contains works by neglected composers such as Max Ettinger, Boris Mersson, and Aaron Yalom. Two new works were commissioned for this project – both dedicated to Gubenko – by leading Swiss composer Daniel Schnyder.
Gubenko explores transcriptions extensively in her artistic work, where she is an active advocate for existing transcriptions for viola (such as those by Alan Bonds, Gilles Colliard, Hartmut Lindemann, Ernst Naumann, and Thomas Riebl). Her fourth recording (not yet released) not only features new music composed in reaction to Ysaÿe’s music by leading composers, but also explores the art of transcription – with Gubenko committing to record Ysaÿe’s famously virtuosic Six Sonatas for Violin Solo Op.27, in transcription for solo viola.
Gubenko also creates her own transcriptions, giving a new lease of life to works by such composers as Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Fauré, Saint-Saëns, and Ravel. In her forthcoming Beethoven Project, Gubenko creates a new edition of Beethoven’s cello sonatas and variations transcribed for viola. This will not only be published as an edition in itself, but will also form the basis of Gubenko’s fifth studio recording – alongside the Haydn Cello Concerto (transcribed for viola by Alan Bonds), and a world premiere recording of Michael Fine’s Viola Concerto.
In addition to commissions and transcriptions, a further aspect of Gubenko’s extensive creative approach to music is her development of a new genre of interdisciplinary performance art: bringing classical music, literature, cinematography, and theatre together on one stage. Her first such project is a screenplay based on Schubert’s Winterreise.
Gubenko lives in Switzerland, and performs regularly throughout Europe and the United States. In recital with her long-time sonata partner Timon Altwegg, she enjoys exploring canonical works of the viola literature alongside contemporary repertoire – such as giving the world-premiere performance of Daniel Waterhouse’s Sonata Ebraica at the Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich.