Andrei Malashenko

Andrei Malashenko has been the principal timpanist of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra since 1999.

Timpanist Andrei Malashenko

My thoughts about being a timpanist

I cannot identify with one particular aspect of being a timpanist in a symphony orchestra that I like the most. Rather, it is the entire experience that I find exhilarating. Producing different sounds, dynamics, musical moods, a driving rhythmical energy, or that one note ff punch, are all aspects that I enjoy immensely.

With the position of timpanist in an orchestra comes great responsibility. The sheer power and presence of this instrument can greatly influence a performance. Therefore I am always prepared and equally important, always musically conscious of my surroundings during a performance, as there is very little room for error. Finally it is a profession that I find extremely rewarding, gratifying, and there is never a dull moment.

My career

Andrei Malashenko has been the principal timpanist of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra since 1999. Prior to his appointment in Montreal, he was the principal timpanist of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra where he also taught at the University of Victoria in Wellington. He has also played timpani and percussion with various ensembles such as The New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, Imusici de Montreal and the McGill Chamber Orchestra.

Andrei Malashenko studied percussion at McGill University with Pierre Beluse. After graduating with high distinction in percussion, he continued his studies in timpani repertoire at the University of Montreal with Louis Charbonneau.

Andrei has taught at both McGill University and University of Montreal and is currently director of timpani and percussion at the Centre D’Arts Orford Orchestral Summer program.

My timpani

Hardtke Berlin Classic with classic heavier bowls in four sizes:  81-74-66-62 cm (32″ 29″ 26″ 24 ½”)

Why I play Hardtke Timpani

I’ll never forget how I discovered these marvelous drums. I was in Ottawa listening to a National Arts Center Orchestra rehearsal. The first entrance from the timpani was one pianissimo note. That was it!

I was immediately sold on these drums. I had never heard such a beautiful note coming from a timpani. I had to have them! Hardtkes’ richness of sound, the darkness of color, and what I like to call character, is simply the best. Furthermore what I find very unique with Hardtke timpani is the wonderful dynamic range that these drums posses.

The ppp’s are always clear and audible, and the quality of sound and pitch remain beautiful throughout the dynamic spectrum.

Another aspect of the Hardtke company worth noting is the sales and after sales service. Excellent and professional in all aspects! This is very unique in this day and age.

As you can see there are many reasons why I play on these drums. But the main reason – I’m never disappointed.

My mallets

Various models of Louis Charbonneau and Jens-Peter Kappert mallets from Germany.

My timpani heads

I use Kalfo calf skin heads.