“Galina Ulanova told me that when she was young she went to Agrippina Vaganova’s master classes, which she taught in this very room; and on the grand piano, one after the other, were the future great composer, Dmitry Shostakovich, and the future great conductor, Evgeny Mravinsky. That means that in this place, in this studio, Shostakovich himself performed, and he would be 110 this year. The first time I stepped onto the Bolshoi stage was to the music of Shostakovich and in my first state exam, in his 110th year, I felt I should honour the composer somehow, so the entire exam is set to his music. The only thing I did was add three pieces by the composer Alexander Tsfasman to Shostakovich’s music. It really suits the style.”
– Nikolai Tsiskaridze on preparing his first graduation exam at Vaganova Ballet Academy.