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 12, he performed Chopin's Piano Concertos Nos. 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.
Mr. 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 which 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 Mr. 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.
Musical awards and tributes from around the world have been showered upon Mr. Kissin. In 1987 he received the Crystal Prize of the Osaka Symphony Hall for the best performance of the year 1986 (which was his first performance in Japan). In 1991 he received the Musician of the Year Prize from the Chigiana Academy of Music in Siena, Italy. He was special guest at the 1992 Grammy Awards Ceremony, broadcast live to an audience estimated at over one billion, and became Musical America's youngest Instrumentalist of the Year in 1995. In 1997 he received the prestigious Triumph Award for his outstanding contribution to Russia's culture, one of the highest cultural honors to be awarded in the Russian Republic, and again, the youngest-ever awardee. He was the first pianist to be invited to give a recital at the BBC Proms (1997), and, in the 2000 season, was the first concerto soloist ever to be invited to play in the Proms opening concert. In May 2001 Mr. Kissin was awarded an honorary doctorate of music by the Manhattan
School of Music.
Mr. Kissin's recordings have also received numerous awards and accolades, including the Edison Klassiek in the Netherlands and the Diapason d'Or and the Grande Prix of La Nouvelle Academie du Disque in France, as well as awards from music magazines throughout the world. His first studio recording, in 1988 for RCA Red Seal, was of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Gergiev conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, and six Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 39.
Among other works recorded for RCA Red Seal are two Chopin recital programs, one with the four Ballades, Barcarolle, Berceuse, and Scherzo No. 4, Op. 54, and another with the 24 Preludes Op. 28, Sonata No. 2, and Polonaise in A-flat Major; Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata, Brahms's Variations on a Theme of Paganini, and Franck's Prelude, Choral and Fugue; Schumann's Fantasy, Op. 17, and five Etudes d'execution transcendante by Liszt; Schumann's Kreisleriana and the Bach-Busoni Chaconne; Bach-Busoni Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, Glinka-Balakirev The Lark and Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition; and Schumann's Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp Minor and Carnaval. His most recent recording is an all-Brahms disc including the Sonata No. 3 in F Minor and five Hungarian dances.
Other recital albums include Schubert-Liszt's Four Songs; Schubert's Wanderer Fantasie; Brahms's Seven Pieces, Op. 116; Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 (Deutsche Grammophon); and Haydn's Sonata No. 30 in A-Major, Sonata No. 52 in E-flat Major, and Schubert Sonata in A Minor D.784 (Sony).
Among concerto recordings are the Schumann Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic and Guilini (Sony Classical); Beethoven's Concertos Nos. 2 and 5 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Levine (Sony Classical); Prokofiev's Concertos Nos. 1 and 3 with the Berlin Philharmonic and Abbado (Deutsche Grammophon) and Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3 with the Boston Symphony and Ozawa (RCA Red Seal); Mozart's Concertos Nos. 12 and 20 and Rondo in D Major, KV.382, Haydn's Concerto in D Major, and Shostakovich's Concerto No. 1 with the Moscow Virtuosi and Spivakov (RCA Red Seal); and Beethoven's "Choral" Fantasy with the Berlin Philharmonic and Abbado (Deutsche Grammophon).
Christopher Nupen's documentary film, Evgeny Kissin: The Gift of Music, was released in 2000 on video and DVD by
RCA Red Seal.
Mr. Kissin's musicality, the depth and poetic quality of his interpretations, and his extraordinary virtuosity have placed him at the forefront of the world's new generation of young pianists. He is in demand the world over, and has appeared with many great conductors, including Abbado, Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Dohn?nyi, Giulini, Levine, Maazel, Muti, Ozawa, Svetlanov, and Temirkanov, as well as all the world's major orchestras. He makes regular recital tours to the US, Japan, and throughout Europe.
During the 2004 05 season, Mr. Kissin will perform complete cycles of the Beethoven concertos with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony, Sir Neville Marriner and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Sir Andrew Davis and the Santa Caecilia Orchestra, Kurt Masur and the Orchestre National de France and Lawrence Foster and the Gulbenkian Orchestra both in Lisbon and on tour in Europe. In spring 2005, he will perform recitals in Carnegie Hall, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Baltimore's Meyerhoff Hall, the new Strathmore Hall in Bethesda, Maryland, and in Bologna, Milan, Naples, Lisbon, Madrid, Brussels, and Amsterdam. In addition, he will perform with James Levine in duo recitals in Boston and New York.
In the 33 years since his Metropolitan Opera debut, James Levine has developed a relationship with that company that is unparalleled in its history and unique in the musical world today. All told, he has led more than 2,000 performances of 80 different operas there. This season at the Met he conducts 48 performances of eight operas, including new productions of Die Zauberflte and Faust and revivals of Otello, Carmen, Pellas et Mlisande, Le nozze di Figaro, Nabucco, and La clemenza di Tito, as well as the company's annual Pension Fund concert (a gala in May for the 50th anniversary of Mirella Freni's stage debut) and three programs each with the MET Orchestra and MET Chamber Ensemble here at Carnegie Hall. Also in 2004 05, Mr. Levine gives a master class at Zankel Hall for the Marilyn Horne Foundation, leads the Chicago Symphony in its annual Pension Fund Concert (with soloist Daniel Barenboim), and leads the Cincinnati Symphony and the May Festival Chorus in Berlioz's Requiem.
Mr. Levine became Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2004. He is the orchestra's 14th music director since the BSO's founding in 1881, and the first American-born conductor to hold that position. Mr. Levine opened his first season as BSO Music Director in October with Mahler's Eighth Symphony, the first of a dozen programs in Boston, three of which also came to Carnegie Hall. The season also includes appearances at Symphony Hall as pianist with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and in an all-Schubert four-hand recital with Evgeny Kissin. At Tanglewood in July he will lead concerts with both the Boston Symphony and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. Mr. Levine made his Boston Symphony debut in April 1972 and his Tanglewood debut that July; he has led the orchestra in repertoire ranging from Haydn, Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak, Verdi, Mahler, and Debussy to music of Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Elliott Carter, John Harbison, Gyorgy Ligeti, Roger Sessions, and Charles Wuorinen.
Mr. Levine was music director of the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra from its founding in 2000 until 2004, and, before coming to Boston, was chief conductor for five seasons of the Munich Philharmonic. In the United States he led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 20 summers as music director of the Ravinia Festival and was music director for six summers of the Cincinnati May Festival. Besides his many recordings with the Metropolitan Opera and the MET Orchestra, he has amassed a substantial discography with such leading ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, London Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonic. Over the last 30 years he has made more than 200 recordings of works ranging from Bach to Babbitt. Maestro Levine is also active as a pianist, performing chamber music and in collaboration with many of the world's great singers. He was the subject of a Time cover story in 1983, was named Musician of the Year by Musical America in 1984, and has been featured in a documentary in PBS's American Masters series. The recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and international awards, he will receive the 2005 Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts this May from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Also in May, he will be one of 15 Centennial Honorees at
the graduation ceremonies of
The Juilliard School.
Schubert: Characteristic March No. 1 in C, D968b (Live)
Schubert: Military March No. 1 in D, D733 (Live)
On May 1, 2005, pianists Evgeny Kissin and James Levine joined forces for the Live Carnegie Hall concert of Franz Schubert's piano music for four hands, captured in its entirety on RCA Red Seal's live recording of the unforgettable, sold-out event.
1 New "ON" this week: 8 "Total Stations/Shows" Direct:Worldspace
Crossover Media Projects with: Evgeny Kissin and James Levine