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Igor Levit: in a class of its own / The Telegraph interview

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If you drew up a checklist of the world's most brilliant young pianists, Igor Levit would be near the top. This Russian-born, German-domiciled pianist is undoubtedly young – he's only 26. And anyone who's heard him play Beethoven's Diabelli Variations will know he has pianistic brilliance in spades. But Levit has something else, which for me and many others puts him in a class of his own.

I saw and heard that quality only a few months ago, when he played Beethoven's Triple Concerto at the Barbican with Maxim Vengerov and Antonia Meneses. The other two were wonderful in their way, but it was Levit who really riveted me. He nurtured and caressed every phrase, in a way that seemed to stamp the music with its ideal shape.

The same is true of his debut recording of Beethoven sonatas. Everything has that special clarity and freshness the world has when the sun comes out after rain. And mingled with this is another quality, a tact which humanises the clash of ideas in Beethoven's music. It's like a conversation where at first one person asserts himself, and the other one gives way – but later on they swap roles.

All this gives a feeling of profound insight, which is a long way from the impetuousness of youth. In fact when I meet Igor Levit just before the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards (where he carried off the Young Artist Prize), he bristles at the suggestion that his youth has any bearing on anything. READ THE FULL Telegraph INTERVIEW.