TAMARA KONSTANTIN (b 1961 )
Tamara Konstantin had learned the piano during her childhood in Georgia, attending a special music school for gifted children, and then went on to complete her studies at the Tbilisi Music Academy. There she performed with the State Symphony Orchestra of Georgia, and gave many solo recitals.
After graduation, she felt she had reached a crossroads in her musical life, and decided to try something else. ‘I knew music would always be a part of me, part of my existence, but I had to see what else I could do. So I stopped practising eight hours a day, and looked around for new opportunities.’
‘Something else’ was a career on Georgian TV. For three years, Konstantin worked on a daily programme reading the latest political news, and twice a month hosted in-depth interviews with local celebrities. She worked regularly on radio too.
Seeking a new challenge, she moved to England in 1990. Already having fluent English, she found a job with an oil company, and reinvented herself once again. She stayed in the oil industry for 23 years, helping companies negotiate their strategies in the former Soviet Union and Central Asia, and eventually rose to become vice president of business development.
The work involved long hours and lots of travel, but music was still always in the background. She still played for her own pleasure, and performed many times for charity events.
A great part of her inspiration stems from her deep love for her adopted country—and more particularly, for her home county of Dorset. ‘I love this country, and I’m very proud to be British,’ she says. ‘Britain gave me the opportunity to achieve my dreams and goals. In the former Soviet Union, you had to know someone to get ahead. Here you are given a chance on your own merits. People sometimes take that for granted—they don’t realise how extraordinary that is.’
Konstantin—who calls herself ‘a miniaturist’—has created a style which, with its gentle melodiousness and invocation of an elegiac melancholy peculiar to English pastoral music, pays homage to her love for Britain. Several of the pieces are part of a collection she calls Dorset Sketches.