INTRODUCTION

Pianist Evgeny Kissin is one of the most distinguished musicians of his generation, revered the world over by audiences and critics alike for the virtuosity and eloquence of his pianism and the imagination and insight of his interpretations. He is in high demand by the world’s leading orchestras and conductors of the caliber of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, and Sir Antonio Pappano.

RECENT AND FUTURE ENGAGEMENTS

In the 2022-2023 season, Kissin performs Rachmaninoff Concerto #3 in Bordeaux, Paris, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrart, Munich, Aalborg, Rome, and Leipzig. In 2024 he embarks on a world tour (Beethoven’s Sonata # 27, Brahms’ 4 Ballades, Rachmaninoffs’ 6 Moments Musicaux, and Prokofiev’s Sonata # 2) with concerts in Spain, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Poland and the USA.

Kissin began the 2021–22 season with recital appearances in Athens and Jerusalem before taking the same programme of Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin to Japan and South Korea. His world tour continued in Europe, with performances in Madrid, Barcelona, Toulouse, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Düsseldorf, before taking him to North America in the spring. While in the US he took part in Carnegie Hall’s star-studded Concert for Ukraine. He gave three more recitals back in Europe before embarking on this year’s festival season, whose highlights will include two performances at Salzburg: a solo recital (5 August 2022) and a duo recital with Sir András Schiff (9 August).

BIOGRAPHY

Evgeny Kissin was born in Moscow in October 1971 and began to play by ear and improvise on the piano at the age of two. At six years old, he entered a special school for gifted children, the Moscow Gnessin School of Music, where he was a student of Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who has remained his only teacher. At the age of ten, he made his concerto debut playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K. 466 and gave his first solo recital in Moscow one year later. He came to international attention in March 1984 when, at the age of twelve, he performed Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1 and 2 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Moscow State Philharmonic under Dmitri Kitaenko. This concert was recorded live by Melodia, and a two-LP album was released the following year. During the next two years, several Kissin performances in Moscow were recorded live and five more LPs were released by Melodia.

​Kissin’s first appearances outside Russia were in 1985 in Eastern Europe, followed a year later by his first tour of Japan. In 1987 he made his West European debut at the Berlin Festival. In 1988 he toured Europe with the Moscow Virtuosi and Vladimir Spivakov and also made his London debut with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. In December of the same year, he performed with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic in a New Year’s concert that was broadcast internationally, with the performance repeated the following year at the Salzburg Easter Festival. Audio and video recordings of the New Year’s concert were made by Deutsche Grammophon.

​In 1990 Kissin made his first appearance at the BBC Promenade Concerts in London and that same year made his North American debut, performing both Chopin piano concertos with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta. The following week he opened Carnegie Hall’s Centennial season with a spectacular debut recital, which was recorded live by BMG Classics.

Awards

​Evgeny Kissin’s achievements have been recognized with many prestigious awards and prizes. He received the International Prize of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in 1991 and became Musical America’s youngest Instrumentalist of the Year in 1995. Two years later Kissin received the Triumph Award for his outstanding contribution to Russian culture, among the Russian Federation’s highest cultural honors, and became the first pianist to give a solo recital at the BBC Proms since the festival’s foundation in 1895. His other honors include the Shostakovich Award (2003), Honorary Membership of London’s Royal Academy of Music (2005), the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize (2005), the Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Award (2007), and the Klavier-Festival Ruhr Prize (2020).

Recordings

​Mr. Kissin’s recordings have also received numerous awards and accolades, having contributed significantly to the library of masterpieces recorded by the world’s greatest performers. Past awards have included the Edison Klassiek in The Netherlands, Grammy awards, the Diapason d’Or, and the Grand Prix of La Nouvelle Academie du Disque in France.​

In June 2017 Kissin signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and the launch of this renewed relationship with DG was marked by the release in August 2017 of a double-disc set comprising live recordings of popular sonatas and other piano works by Beethoven. His next album, issued in April 2019, was The New York Concert. Made at Carnegie Hall, the recording captures the last of the eight concerts Kissin gave with the Emerson String Quartet in the early months of 2018, and features music by Mozart, Fauré, and Dvořák.

The pianist’s latest album is The Salzburg Recital, a strikingly original program of works by Berg, Chopin, Gershwin, and Khrennikov, as well as encores by Chopin, Debussy, Mendelssohn and Kissin himself. Recorded live at the Salzburg Festival in August 2021, this almost two-hour-long recital is set for release on 5 August 2022. The album is dedicated to the memory of Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who died at the age of 98 on 27 July 2021.

AUDIO & VIDEO

Evgeny Kissin – Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor Op. 30 + Encores (Munich, Nov. 2023)

REVIEWS

Concert at Auditorium Parco della Musica di Roma: Sala Santa Cecilia, Rome – Feb. 2023

“(…) Kissin’s touch, already brilliant in the Mozart, became ever brighter in Chopin’s Scherzo in B flat minor, Op.31, which ended the first half of the recital; it was here that Kissin displayed his pianism’s expressiveness and boldness, which was certainly necessary to approach the spirit of this composition.”

– Alissa Balocco, bachtrack.com

Concert at Barbican Hall, London – Mar. 2018

“The Barbican website described him as a “lion” of the keyboard, The Economist as the “greatest living pianist”. Both statements are, of course, subjective… while also being true. He is “great”, in the sense of possessing an ineffable multi-faceted talent which makes the reviewer’s job so hard, for how can one truly describe what he does?

(…) What you get with Kissin is pure music with the sense that the performer is secondary to the music yet also fully present.”

– Frances Wilson, bachtrack.com

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