Our Christmas cover is … Lola

Our Christmas cover is … Lola


norman lebrecht

November 20, 2019

Readers of Pianist magazine – a generally quiet lot of pianophiles who crack open the mag to learn new fingerings – may be slightly alarmed when the Christmas issue of their favourite journal drops through the letterbox.

The cover personage is the flamboyant Lola Astanova, not previously associated with the drier pursuits of music education or the heights of concert stardom.

Anything else you’d like in your stocking?

See how she plays here.

UPDATE: Lola in teaching mode, this summer:

Fb page pic


  • Mike says:

    ”not previously associated with the drier pursuits of music education or the heights of concert stardom.” hahahaha. Nice touch Norman!

  • YS says:

    Are you sure, she is not working at Reeperbahn in Hamburg 🙁

  • Piano fan says:

    For their next issue, Pianist magazine will feature Daniil Trifonov in a speedo!

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Are you behind a bike shed giggling, fingering? Grow up.

    • RW2013 says:

      When the conductress of our school orchestra would say “give me your part and I’ll finger it”, we would giggle too.

  • mary says:

    Magazines sell to their customer base and the customer base of classical music is precisely that demographic that still buys glossy nudie magazines in print.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, the customer base of classical music looks a lot more like Placido Domingo than Lola Astanova.

  • Geoff says:

    Her performance of the Rach. 2 at the Concertgebouw in 2012 has had 23,395,882 views! Is she doing something right? Some purists don’t like her. At least she has generated much interest in the Rach.2 apparantly followed by the Tchai. No.1

  • Geoff says:

    And she was wearing a floor length gown, very proper.

  • Sarah says:

    Well done to Pianist Magazine for daring to step outside the often snobby norm of the piano world. Lola is a brilliant pianist and wears what she wants. Power to her! Too many men on here telling her what she can and can’t wear. Find something more worthy to spend your time on…

    • sam says:

      “Too many men on here telling her what she can and can’t wear.”

      She’s not dressed like that to please other women. So as long as she’s doing it to please men, we’re doing her a favor by giving her pointers, since she’s so eager to please.

      So typical of women. “Don’t look at my décolleté just because I bare it down almost to the nipples, that’s just how I dress for my mother.”

      • Sarah says:

        Bleugh listen to yourself. She’s not doing it to please men. She’s doing it for herself. Not everything is about men and for men.

        Maybe, just maybe, you should listen to what she has to say on the subject (in her caption here) and then come back to me. https://www.instagram.com/p/B4NpsYDgYhb/

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          What a staggeringly naive comment. This pianist is a narcissistic tease and you boys betta watch out!!

        • John Borstlap says:

          Self-defeating idiocy.

          Why would a female pianist try to appear as physically-inviting as possible if not for male interest? If she would (un-)dress like that merely for herself to feel comfortable, also that is the wrong motivation, since it has nothing to do with playing the piano. Either it is the usual indulgence in vulgarity and attention seeking, or it is unbearable and embarrassing narcisism, and both are abject and have nothing to do with music.

          • Sarah says:

            “Why would a female pianist try to appear as physically-inviting as possible if not for male interest?” Forgive me but that is the most uneducated and naive quote on this entire thread.

            You are honestly saying that women appear physically inviting all for the pleasure of men. Hint: Not everything is about you! Educate yourself John, it’s the 21st Century, not the 1950s.

            It’s about empowerment and confidence, and taking control of yourself.

          • John Borstlap says:

            But this appears to me to be a truly ‘uneducated and naive quote’. The 2nd picture under this post obviously shows an attempt to loudly underline physical attractiveness, and again: that has nothing to do with playing the piano. In fact, it is a prostitute-style appearance, dehumanizing the beauty of the female form. So, exactly because we are now in an age with increasing awareness of the dehumanizing of women, such (un-) dressing belongs to a social / cultural context where women are playthings and nothing more.

            If she wants to make her physique ‘functional’ as such, apart from the obvious thing, she should try to become a model for some decent figurative painter.

  • Calvin says:

    For reasons that are hardly obscure, she has the distinction of being tRump’s favorite musician and has … played .. at the White House.

  • For the record, I have no desire to tell her what she should or shouldn’t wear when giving public performances; to me, she doesn;t even generate sufficient interest to warrant that. Yes, she has had a reliable training but that does not turn her into a pianist of the front rank deserving of the attention that she presumably seeks – and the fact that she so transparently seeks that attention by means other than her piano playing, which is at best mediocre speaks eloquently (if also depressingly) for itself. Her presentations are often distinguished by their comical nature (although I am not convinced that this is her intention) but there’s nothing so wearisome as a joke that wears off before it’s even been fully told. The world is full of pianists with immensely greater talent than she is blessed with. I’m trying (not to) imagine Martha Argerich conducting herself as Lola does, even when she was Lola’s age. As a matter of fact, I don’t even find Lola remotely attractive, but that’s only a personal view and not intended to be taken as any kind of value judgement.

    • Sarah says:

      You men need to stop obsessing over her look. Calm yourself down. She’s not even doing it for you men. That may come as a surprise to you!

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Yes, Brunnhilde, she’s doing it for you!! You need to get out more.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        “She is not doing it for men but for herself”

        Women dress like that since they like the attention. In that sense it is for herself; but she definitely knows that her way of dressing gets attention.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    I need help with my upcoming piano jury.
    I would enjoy private lessons with her.

  • Bruce says:

    Obviously, since clothing choice (i.e. square footage of bare skin) is more important than musicianship, it’s only a matter of time till her career eclipses Yuja’s — and everybody else’s.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Since cultural anthropology teaches us that every extreme provokes its extreme reaction, it is to be expected that at some stage there will be female pianists appearing on stage in a burka.

  • aonono says:

    Maybe the spelled the name of the magazine wrong…

  • Karl says:

    Whatever Lola wants Lola gets! I think I’m in love.

  • Anon says:

    Why is it that whenever the topic of Yuja or some other scantily dressed woman like this Lola comes up in Slipped Disc, the comments section lights up like the 4th of July with comments from men who want to get their 2 cents in?

    Women don’t really care much about what Yuja or Lola are wearing or doing. It’s like fine, whatever. It’s men who seem to want to debate this. Like they want to justify their lust or talk about it or something.

    From a female perspective, I am much more interested in what someone like Stjepan Hauser is doing and wearing. I only know about Lola because Hauser did some videos with her. He pretty much left her in the dust musically and aesthetically IMHO.

    Who cares about Lola. Let’s talk about Stjepan Hauser. Who is he collaborating with this week? What repertoire is he performing? Has he gone too commercial? Is he totally solo or is 2cellos still happening? Why is Senorita’s head always cut off in their videos?


    More Hauser, less Lola, guys. The discussions about what Lola and Yuja are wearing are getting really old.

    • mary says:

      I’d love to be Hauser’s cello for one hour.

    • Sarah says:

      You are the only person on this thread actually talking any sense. All of these men are still living in the 1950s!

      • Anon says:

        They sure are!

        The demographic of these Yuja & Lola commenters looks to be mostly old retired guys who are enthralled with the idea that they can combine their interest in classical music with soft porn viewing. And for some reason they all want to discuss it here on Slipped Disc every time Yuja or Lola are mentioned. And I mean Every Single Time.

        Geez. Old guys – can y’all just go watch a porn flick or something? This is a fascinating topic for a few of you who are retired with time on your hands and who are determined to justify your lust in a classical music context, but truthfully, do you see many women obsessing on Slipped Disc about Hauser or Roberto Alagna or Charlie Siem or Andreas Ottensamer or Emmanuel Pahud? It’s not like we don’t have subject matter, too.

        Yuja’s outfits & Lola’s cleavage are a niche topic. Other women really don’t care what they are wearing or not wearing. It’s all you old guys. It’s a dated theme and it places you squarely, as Sarah astutely mentions above, in a 1950’s mentality. We understand that you want to debate every aspect of this topic, but it’s all been said. Enough already!

        • John Borstlap says:

          That’s a bit silly…. it is exactly the Lola types of classical music who live in the fifties, when women, if beautiful, were sex objects and nothing more.

  • Alexander Tarak says:

    Yuja had better watch out !!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    This is just the latest incarnation of female bait and switch.

  • pianist says:

    References to ‘fingering’ should be made with great care – they might give some dirty old pervs the wrong idea…