Denis Matsuev

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Denis Matsuev brings young pianists contest to Kazakhstan

March, 6 Denis played “Rhapsody of love” concert in Astana. The musician announced that a contest for the young pianists will be launched soon in Kazakhstan under his patronage. The contest is planned for the autumn 2012.

It was the 4th time that Denis has visited Kazakhstan in 2.5 years. He enjoyed playing with the Symphony orchestra of the Astana Philharmonic, especially given the fact that there are a lot of young musicians in the orchestra. The concert hall “Kazakhstan”, opened not so long ago, produced on Denis a most favourable impression: “Your hall has amazing acoustics that, in my opinion, will become better and better. A hall is a living being, it must get roots, it must live, it must breathe. A hall must live on music… I remember playing my first recital here, and now we have been rehearsing Rachmaninov’s concerto: the hall breathes in a completely new manner, the sound spreads in a totally new way, it has got more air”.


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.


Szymanowski: Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Stabat Mater

This second, star-studded instalment of Gergiev’s Szymanowski cycle features Toby Spence as soloist in the Third Symphony, ‘Song of the Night’ and internationally renowned pianist, Denis Matsuev in the virtuosic ‘Symphonie concertante’, Symphony No 4. Szymanowski’s deeply personal choral work, Stabat Mater, completes the cycle and stars Sally Matthews and Ekaterina Gubanova, and introduces the young baritone, Kostas Smoriginas to LSO Live listeners.

For decades Szymanowski’s music was rarely heard outside Poland. Today, he is recognised as one of Poland’s greatest musical figures. His desire to embody the music of his native land and his incorporation of the folkloric sounds of the Polish mountains make his orchestral works a must for anyone with an interest in Polish culture and music.

London Symphony Orchestra


Le Pianiste

A 38 ans, le musicien fait partie du club restreint de l'élite mondiale du piano. Arpentant les scènes d'un continent à l'autre, dirigeant plusieurs festivals, ce passionné incarne autant qu'il la revendique la grande tradition russe. Une bonne école pour les pianistes, s'il en est, à laquelle pourtant il serait faux de le cantonner. Improvisateur hors pair, Denis Matsuev est aussi un amoureux du jazz. Rencontre avec un personnalité attachante que l'on écoutera cet été en France, à l'Annecy Classic Festival.

La Orquesta del Royal Concertgebouw en el Teatro Colón : Matices sinfónicos

La Rapsodia sobre un tema de Paganini (1934) de Sergei Rachmaninov fue la obra común a los dos programas presentados este año, que permitió por un lado conocer al brillante pianista ruso Denis Matsuev, pero también volver a percibir que la concentración de cada atril, la perfecta afinación y el justo equilibrio sonoro siguen siendo una marca distintiva de la orquesta holandesa. 

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Blog #15

In the evening I performed a concert with the famous Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and a brilliant maestro Mariss Jansons, its chief conductor for many years already.

I was deeply impressed by the Royal Concertgebouw Hall, where we performed and of course by the orchestra, as it is one of the best orchestras in the world, with an long history, incredible sound and rich in tradition. We performed Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini by S. Rachmaninoff. I’ve had honour to work with Mariss Jansons for many years already, but it was the first time when I performed with him and the Concertgebouw orchestra. Now we are off to South America. I know that there are waves of protest on the streets. But we decided not cancel the tour and I really hope that classical music will help public there to be more optimistic and positive thinking and smooth the conflict.


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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