Denis Matsuev

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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's festival in Perm

Denis Matsuev's II International Music Festival in Perm has begun. From February, 9 till February, 12 in Perm and Berezniki there are concerts, showcases, selection of the new grandholders for the "New names" foundation. You can watch the video by "Culture" TV channel here.

The American tour is over

Denis Matsuev’s solo American tour, which lasted from January, 22 till January, 27 is over. The musician tours the USA every year, which is a privilege only of the most asked-for musicians. Matsuev performs in the best concert halls of the country, invariably with a sold-out. Both the admirers and the professional music community are looking forward to his arrival.

Anticipating the Hill Auditorium recital in Ann Arbor on January, 23 the local press described Matsuev’s playing as “jaw dropping” and his technique as “titanic”. Their expectations were fully met: “The concert showcased an artist who can put the depth and plushness of his sound to as good use in crystalline, intimate moments as in bravura ones” – such was the praise of the critics.  “Los Angeles Times” after the concert in Royce Hall expressed its opinion in set terms, calling Matsuev “a virtuoso in the tradition of Gilels, Richter and Horowitz”.

The programme of the tour consisted of Schubert, Sonata a minor, op. 143, Beethoven, Sonata #23, Appassionata, Grieg, Sonata e minor and Stravinsky, Three movements from “Petrouchka”. In the encores the musician played jazz for a change.

The finale of the tour was the recital in Carnegie Hall – the hall to perform in which is the dream of probably every pianist. The photos from Carnegie Hall will appear on this site soon.


Blog # 69. Astana Piano Passion

One of the most waited and favourite events for me is coming. Astana Piano Passion Festival-Competition, which became famous all around the world in these three years for its high level of participants, unique atmosphere, and wonderful Kazakh hospitality. The format we worked out with Imangali Tasmagambetov turned out to be absolutely successful. We decided to organize a contest for young musicians (younger than 18) in three groups (younger, middle and senior). And it was more festival, than a competition. 

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Medici.TV Became an Official Partner of Tchaikovsky Competition

We have great news! Our friends from Medici.TV will perform live broadcast of Tchaikovsky Competition this summer. I’ve told you a lot of times how Medici.TV team works, how it treats classical music more fiction than traditional concerts. They managed to find new meaning in each of the concerts they shoot. The highest rating, outstanding quality, original style of broadcasting. Once I’ve been in the sanctum sanctorum – the trailer from which the broadcasting of Medici.TV is carried out. There were  6 men and I was astonished by the creative atmosphere, tempo and quality of the recording they make. That’s just unbelievable.

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Calme et tempête à l'Auditorium de Lyon : premier opus du cycle Brahms

Qu’il est difficile de commencer un concert avec une pièce comme l’Adagio pour cordes de Barber ! Surtout lorsque la salle attend avec impatience la déferlante annoncée en la personne de Denis Matsuev. Cette œuvre de Barber est un véritable tube de la musique classique, ce qui rend l’exercice d’autant plus compliqué. On ne peut pas reprocher à l’Orchestre National de Lyon de ne pas jouer sur la fluidité et la continuité du discours, notamment dans le souffle et les silences qui ont une véritable importance dans cette musique. Alors que les coups d'archet sont censés favoriser l'échange entre les pupitres et permettre que la musique file sans accroc, ils ne sont pas ici uniformisés, à l'inverse de la plupart des pièces d'orchestre. Et pourtant, les accords à l’unisson sont d’une magnifique pureté. Un grand crescendo, puis le thème revient et disparaît comme il est arrivé, sans qu’on s’en aperçoive réellement.

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Examiner Review on the Concert in Philharmony of Paris

It wasn’t the first time they’d stood on stage together and it probably won’t be the last, but this past Sunday afternoon at the Philharmonie de Paris, Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev and the London Symphony Orchestra generated a little more magic than usual. It was the kind of performance where there was a crackle of electricity in the air because everyone knew they had just heard something special that wasn’t about to be replicated anytime soon.

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Digest of reviews on American tour of Denis Matsuev

Mr. Matsuev boasts a prodigious technique and interpretive flair.

…he also revealed a lyrical, reflective side. He certainly has masterly command of this formidably difficult work.

Tchaikovsky packs a lot into the short, restless, almost giddy finale, which Mr. Matsuev played with uncanny ease.

Anthony Tommasini

New York Times


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