Denis Matsuev

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Norman Lebrecht thinks that Denis Matsuev has solved the puzzle of Shostakovich's concertos.

Norman Lebrecht, the famous music expert, critic and writer, the author of “Who killed classical music” bestseller, has listened to the latest Denis Matsuev’s release and named it “the CD of the week”. On this CD Denis and the Mariinsky orchestra headed by Valery Gergiev perform Shostakovich, Piano concerto no.1 and no.2 and also Shchedrin, Piano concerto no.5. Norman Lebrecht states in his review that Matsuev managed to come close to the solution of the Shostakovich’s concertos puzzle.

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Asian tour finishing triumphantly

March, 5, Denis Matsuev and the London Symphony Orchestra headed by Valery Gergiev will give the final concert of the triumphal Asian tour. During the tour that embraced Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai Denis Matsuev, one of the best Russian pianists, played Sergei Prokofiev, one of the most often performed Russian composers.

The concert in South Korea was especially meaningful because the London Symphony Orchestra visited the city for the first time in 6 years. The press noticed that Denis “enthralled the audience with a rendition of Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3”.

No less meaningful was the visit of Denis Matsuev and the London Symphony Orchestra headed by Valery Gergiev in Beijing and Shanghai. The critics state that there are more and more connoisseurs of classical music in the country. Performances of famous musicians are in growing demand, new concert halls are constantly being built throughout the country.

Denis’ concert geography in 2012 has been impressive: he has performed in New York and Los Angeles, in Irkutsk and Saint Petersburg, in Zurich and London, in Tokyo and Seoul and many other cities. Soon the musician will be heading to Kazakhstan and Germany and then he will devote the first half of April to Russia – Orenburg and Chelyabinsk.


"New Names" is a matter of honour"

The “New Names” foundation events took place in Voronezh for the 7th time already. Teachers from Moscow held an audition for 15 young musicians and named the new grant holders. Personal grants were given to Polina Makhina, Maria Arteeva, Alexey Kardash and Alexey Nemykin.

February, 24 a concert in terms of the “New Names” project took place in Voronezh Philharmonic. In the first part there were performances by the young talents who had just joined the “New Names” family: Ariana Mokhammad (flute, Lipetsk), Andrey Kapitsyn (trumpet, Gubkin), Roman Boldyrev (piano, Moscow), Valentin Mingalev (cello, Voronezh) and Alexey Nemykin (accordion, Voronezh). In the second part Denis Matsuev and the Voronezh Youth Symphony Orchestra headed by the Honoured Artist of Russia Yuri Androsov performed Tchaikovsky, Piano concerto no.1

Denis Matsuev says that Voronezh has long ago become a native town for him: “When I come here I always have a nostalgic feeling: I remember my first visit to this town. I played Tchaikovsky, Piano concerto no.1 with Vladimir Verbitsky. And musicologist Bronislav Tabachnikov, a man with a bright mind and an incredible sense of humour, predicted my victory at the Tchaikovsky competition when he introduced me as a future laureate. It happened a few months before the competition and I didn’t take it serious. But when I came back in a year he said we should have made a bet”.

You can watch the video from Voronezh here.


New videos from Amsterdam

February, 4, 2012, Denis Matsuev performed in Amsterdam. Director Joost Honselaar made a promo movie for this concert.

Denis Matsuev plays an encore: "Musical snuffbox" by Lyadov. February, 4, 2012, Amsterdam, Concertgebouw.


Reviews on London concert on February, 21

February, 21 Denis Matsuev and the London Symphony orchestra headed by Valery Gergiev performed at Barbican hall. The critics praised Denis’ technique and emotionality and mentioned the fascinating mutual understanding of the pianist and the conductor.

"...Prokofiev wrote his Third Piano Concerto for his own formidable technique; 1998 Tchaikovsky Competition winner Denis Matsuev was ready for all of its formidable challenges in a performance that dazzled and danced, pianist and conductor mining some darker seams and brittle edges. Matsuev’s effortless spin through the first movement suggested a reading of smooth brilliance, but much more bite emerged in the theme-and-variations second movement: rarely has its curiously unsettled final rumble sounded so disquieting. He picked obstinately at the oddly directionless interlude that prefaces the third movement’s central episode before tearing hell-for-leather toward the work’s conclusion, keeping orchestra and conductor in tow – just. More effortless brilliance – but of a totally different sort – came with Liadov’s delicate Musical Snuffbox, painted by Matsuev with the gentlest of touches in his now-familiar encore..."

From Andrew Morris’ review for

"...No less assured was Prokofiev's spiky, dance-like Piano Concerto no. 3, and in this we had the added pleasure of Denis Matsuev's assured playing. Between them, Matsuev and Gergiev conjured a performance that balanced virtuosity and atmosphere, especially in the second movement's variations. Their approach worked well for this music of schizophrenic contrasts and releases of pent-up energy. The breathless work-up to the end of the first movement had Matsuev challenging the violinists to keep up with his furious pace. In quieter moments one was able to discern beautifully characterised phrases. Prokofiev's angular melodies were played with all the insouciance that the young virtuoso himself must have displayed in the early days of his brilliance, when this concerto was first performed in 1921. Matsuev was welcomed back for an encore: the frivolous filigree of Anatoly Liadov's Musical Snuffbox, played with delicate restraint..."

From James Potter’s review for

The new CD by Matsuev and Gergiev is "definitely recommended" by the most demanding critics

February, 6, a new CD was released on “Mariinsky” label: soloist Denis Matsuev  and the Mariinsky orchestra headed by Valery Gergiev perform Shostakovich, Piano Concertos No. 1 & 2 and Shchedrin. Piano Concerto No. 5. After listening to the CD, the critics called it “one of the most impressive advances in recent years”.

The British site wrote: “Denis Matsuev's account of the Piano Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings leaves one breathless in admiration for his formidable technique and the accuracy of his playing … All three works are performed by the gifted Russian virtuoso Denis Matsuev accompanied by the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev whose affinity with the music of both composers is clearly evident in the performances on this disc … There is no doubt that this recording will further enhance the growing reputation of this outstanding Russian virtuoso. Definitely recommended”

The French ResMusica gave just as high praise: “We particularly admire the combination of strength and variety of colour which perfectly suits these concertos... the pianist twirls the notes into constant musical fireworks ... One of the most impressive advances in recent years”.

The CD with the concertos by Shostakovich and Shchedrin is the second collaboration of the Mariinsky label and Denis Matsuev. The first one, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, was released in February 2010. BBC Music Magazine characterized it as “darting unerringly between the music’s extremes of fantastical virtuosity and tight-reined lyricism”. Classics Today gave the highest point (10 out of 10) both to its artistic values and technique and exclaimed: “What a pianist! Denis Matsuev is a phenomenon. Here he proves that he can associate his virtuosity with a real sense of style and aesthetic!”.

You can buy the CD with concertos by Shostakovich and Shchedrin on Mariinsky label official web site.


“The Independent” named the CD “Matsuev. Liszt” album of the week

“This impressive double CD of Liszt concertos, plus his Orpheus and Heroide, is an all-Russian effort. Matsuev’s pianism has heroic force and highly calibrated control; Pletnev, who is a magnificent pianist in his own right, shows off the excellence of his orchestra he founded an 1990” – wrote the newspaper.


Broadcast from London concert

February, 21, at 19 30 (London time) BBC 3 radio will be broadcasting from Barbican Hall. Denis Matsuev and the London Symphony Orchestra headed by Valery Gergiev will perform Tchaikovsky, Overture 'Romeo and Juliet', Prokofiev: Piano Concerto no.3 and Shostakovich, Symphony no.5.

Denis Matsuev played Rachmaninov at the Astrakhan opera and ballet theatre

The Tchaikovsky symphony orchestra headed by Vladimir Fedoseev performed for the first time in Astrakhan. The concert was held at the new Astrakhan opera and ballet theatre, whose long-expected opening took place last year. Denis Matsuev was the first musician to touch the new piano given to the theatre as a sponsor gift. That evening Denis played Pachmaninov, Piano concerto no.2. The video coverage is available on the “1st channel” official site.


Denis Matsuev’s II International music festival in Perm is over

Denis regularly comes to play in Perm, but the event of such a scale happened in the Perm Philharmonic for the second time only. During the festival Denis appeared in diverse roles: he gave a recital, played together with orchestra and took part in a chamber music concert.

February, 9, the festival started with a concert in which Denis Matsuev and the State Symphony Orchestra “New Russia” headed by the Honourary Artist of Russia Alexandr Sladkovsky performed Rachmaninov, Piano concerto no.3. Denis played this concerto in Perm for the first time. He says that Rachmaninov’s concerto no.3 is a true work of genius and an indicator of the shape a pianist is in.

The next day, February, 10, Denis gave a recital which consisted of Schubert, Sonata a minor, op. 143, Beethoven, Sonata #23 “Appassionata”, Grieg, Sonata e minor and Stravinsky, Three movements from “Petrouchka”. This programme was previously unfamiliar to the Russian audience, but it was the exact programme of Denis’ USA tour in January 2012, including his recital in Carnegie Hall.

February, 11, the young musicians of Perm, the grant holders of the “New names” foundation gave a charity concert in the Philharmonic. The activities of the foundation headed by Denis Matsuev are aimed at finding and supporting young gifted musicians from all around Russia. Some time ago Denis was in the “New names” care himself. Now under his guidance the teachers from Moscow hold auditions of the talented children from Russian regions and name the new grant holders. The new “sparkles” (Denis does not like the word “stars” – he thinks it grates upon the ears) receive the material support like music instruments as well as the educational: a chance to go to the creative school in Suzdal, an invitation to Moscow.

February, 12, there was a chamber music concert with Denis Matsuev, in which also took part Sergey Krylov, violin (Italy), Boris Brovtsyn, violin (UK), Julia Deyneka, viola (Germany) and Alexandr Buzlov, cello (Russia). The programme of the concert consisted of Rachmaninov, Elegiac trio no.1 g minor, Shostakovich, Trio no.2 and Bartok, Quartet for piano and strings. This concert acknowledged the international importance of the festival, because it gathered on the stage world famous musicians who came to Russia especially for the event.

Denis believes that the Perm audience is very receptive and sensitive, but also fastidious. The musician is planning to come back to Perm many times: next year will see his jazz concert in Perm. And the prepartions for the music festival in 2013 have already started.

You can watch the piece of news from the “Rifey Perm” TV channel here.


Denis Matsuev in New York

Denis Matsuev, an extraordinary pianist, offers, as part of the 140th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Rachmaninoff an album that confronts the Concerto No. 2 with the Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin. A confrontation at first somewhat unexpected between the romanticism of the Russian and the American jazz rhythm. Yet these two composers are closely related to New York City where this album was recorded in collaboration with the orchestra of this city, under the baton of Music Director Alan Gilbert.

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Rachmaninoff's piano

I can't tell you how overwhelmed I was, what shock I experienced today in the city of Lucerne, where I will perform the concert with Lucerne Orchestra, organized by the Foundation of Rachmaninoff tomorrow. I am going to play Third Piano Concerto by Sergei Vasilyevich. 

Music Hall in Lucerne is unique per se. But today when I came on the stage, I was shocked, because the piano of Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff stood there. That very piano from Villa Senar, I played 6 years ago when  I recorded unknown Rachmaninoff’s works.

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Diary of Leonard Slatkin. Russian Connections (About Moscow concerts with Denis Matsuev on 1st and 2nd of April 2013

Rather than wait, I felt compelled to write sooner regarding my sojourn to Moscow at the beginning of the month. It is important to have some background in several areas. First, my family origins are in Russia with my mother’s family coming from Belarus and my dad’s from Odessa. Those of you who have read “Conducting Business” will know the story. My great-uncle, Modeste Altschuler, founded the Russian Symphony Orchestra of New York in 1903. He conducted many U.S premieres of important scores from his homeland, including the 2nd Symphony by Rachmaninov.


Rachmaninov à Moscou avec Denis Matsuev

A l’occasion des 140 ans de la naissance de Rachmaninov, la philharmonie de Moscou, l’orchestre symphonique d’Etat de Moscou et la salle Tchaïkovski offraient au public, deux soirées de prestige : Denis Matsuev, la grande star russe du piano, était dirigé par Leonard Slatkin dans des programmes évidement consacrés au grand compositeur. C’était également l’occasion pour Matsuev de présenter son dernier disque, naturellement consacré à Rachmaninov et à son Concerto n°2.


Adulé du public moscovite qui lui réserve un accueil des plus enthousiastes avant de le couvrir de fleurs, Denis Matsuev osait affronter, sur un même concert, les deux concertos de Rachmaninov les plus célèbres : les Concertos n°2 et n°3, sorte de soirée orgiaque à laquelle peu de pianistes oseraient se confronter. Bien évidement Mastuev combine la technique et la puissance digitale pour transcender ces deux partitions. Pourtant, le pianiste peine un peu à entrer dans le Concerto n°2. En dépit d’une aisance et d’une dynamique toujours phénoménales, Matsuev semble un peu sur la réserve, quant à Leonard Slatkin, il impose un accompagnement attentif et assez souple, en dépit d’une salle à l’acoustique très généreuse, qui fait étinceler la masse orchestrale. Changement d’ambiance avec un Concerto n°3 porté par une électricité  indubitable.  Soliste et chef font bloc pour imposer une lecture échevelée du concerto, transcendé par des musiciens touchés par la magie des très grands soirs. La force dramatique traverse cette interprétation qui prend place dans la droite ligne des lectures des grandes figures légendaires du piano.


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