He is not just a pianist but also a musician. The critic who wrote that was referring to the virtuosity that is a central element in Vesselin Stanev's playing style. For a pianist whose essential influence was that of Dmitri Bashkirov at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, and hence one who belongs to the Russian school of pianists, that comes as no surprise. Yet Vesselin Stanev aims beyond the acrobatic; his most important concern is the emotion he senses in the works and tries to pass on to the audience using the means of his art. That is why Romantic compositions occupy a special place in his repertoire. It is also why his playing style has a suppleness and a richness of color that point beyond pure virtuosity. They testify to an inward gaze-which is precisely the gaze of a musician.