Denis Matsuev

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"Brahms is given more glower than glow"

St. Petersburg Phil/Temirkanov in BARBICAN

It can be an interesting prospect when a visiting orchestra brings a repertoire that is not normally considered to be within its core. Brahms from St. Petersburg? He’s mainstream for all orchestras, of course, but it was always going to be worth hearing how the prime Romantic classicist fared in the hands of one of the world’s most volatile collections of musicians, alongside the more familiar exports of their fellow Russians.

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Denis Matsuev on "Culture" TV channel on New Year night

On the New Year night you can watch Denis Matsuev on “Culture” TV channel in the programme “New Year with Vladimir Spivakov”. Vladimir Spivakov, Sati Spivakova, Denis Matsuev, Svyatoslav Belza and the best musicians, opera singers, ballet dancers and drama actors will be creating the festive mood for “Culture” spectators.

Hibla Gerzmava, Sergey Bezrukov, Ekaterina Guseva, Anton Makarsky, Alexander Filippenko, Julia Rutberg, Veronika Dzhioeva, Alexey Tihomirov and Georgy Vassilyev, Vasily Ladyuk, Ekaterina Shipulina and Nikolay Tsiskaridze, violinist Sergey Krylov, Arkady Shilkloper and many more will take part in the show. Many artists have prepared surprises for their admirers and will assume unusual roles for this special occasion.


“I take part in “Culture” TV channel New Year programmes almost every year, - says Denis Matsuev, - they attract me because of their style, taste, humour and, of course, the level of professionalism of the participants. We shot all the programme in the burst of inspiration in Moscow International Performing Arts Centre. I am really glad that it happened there, - it is a grand occasion. I have different roles in the show: pianist, concertmaster and more… “Culture” channel will as always treat its audience with an outstanding New Year.

You can watch the trailer of “New Year with Vladimir Spivakov” on the web site of “Culture” TV channel.


Times Concert: St Petersburg PO/Temirkanov

…At least the soloist in Rachmaninov's Paganini Rhapsody was out to dazzle. Denis Matsuev, like many young Russian pianists, could never be accused of reticence. The Steinway takes a hell of a pounding, even in places where you suspect that Rachmaninov might have wanted the orchestra to be heard. But his technique is phenomenal: blistering passagework, steely chords. Perhaps he is the new Horowitz. His encore, Grigori Ginzburg's outstandingly tasteless but breathtaking transcription of Rossini's Largo al factotum, certainly suggested the same penchant for outrageous showmanship…

Richard Morrison, "Barbican"


Denis Matsuev debuts with the New York Philharmonic at 15.000th concert together with Valery Gergiev

Denis Matsuev, the fast-rising young Russian pianist, made his Philharmonic debut in the Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra, which usually comes across as a perky work alive with jazzy energy and ornate piano writing. But Mr. Matsuev, wielding his athletic virtuosity and steely power, gave a chiseled, hard-driving yet transparent performance, matched in character and cool brilliance by Mr. Gergiev and the orchestra. The ovation was enormous, so Mr. Matsuev played an encore, showing his delicate side in a gently tinkling account of Liadov’s “Music Box.”

Anthony Tommasini, "The New York Times"


“Greatest” wins over hearts and minds

The label “greatest orchestra in the world” always needs living up to end, on the evidence of last night, the St Petersburg Philharmonic are certainly the last surviving 19th century orchestra in the world — and that’s something to be proud of.

Their playing has heart, and is a thrill to hear, even if not militarily perfect.

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Matsuev: A Pianist Aglow

St Petersburg Philharmonic in Bridgewater Hall, Sunday

Denis Matsuev is a pianist you write home about—immediately. His technique has reached such an inexorably virtuosic height that it passes you by, endowing you instead with his commanding presence and a glowing sense of revelations.

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Denis Matsuev became Honorary Professor of Moscow State University

December, 25 Denis Matsuev became Honorary Professor of the Moscow State University. For the second year running the pianist takes part in the public concert for students and professors in terms of the series “MSU Chancellor invites…”.  When the cloak and the medal were presented to the new professor, he confessed that he was not ready for the lecture. Instead of delivering a lecture Denis Matsuev and the Tatarstan Symphony Orchestra headed by Alexander Sladkovsky performed Liszt, Piano concerto. The Assembly Hall of the Moscow State University with 1500  persons capacity was full, the Chancellor of the MSU, Victor Sadovnichy, also came to listen to the new Honorary professor.

Video broadcasts from the event were made by “Russia 24” TV channel and "Culture" TV channel.

Denis Matsuev performs in Moscow State University

Today you can listen to Denis Matsuev in the Assembly Hall of the Moscow State University at the public concert for the students and professors of Moscow universities. The concerts takes place in terms of the series “MSU Chancellor invites…”. Denis Matsuev and the Tatarstan Symphony Orchestra headed by Alexander Sladkovsky will perform Liszt, Piano concerto no.2, and New Year waltzes.


New video added to Denis Matsuev's YouTube channel: Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev in the documentary “Symphony accompanied by the rumble of wheels”

The 10th Easter festival headed by Valery Gergiev turned into a marathon for the musicians: 18 cities, 4 borders, 2 concerts a day. The spectators perceive the festival as a festive occasion but very few of them think about what a distance have the participants covered, how long have they slept, how their instruments were transported. In the documentary “Symphony accompanied by the rumble of wheels” you can watch the festival from Valery Gergiev’s, Denis Matsuev’s and the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra’s point of view. In the movie you can hear compositions by Ravel, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Verdi. The documentary was shot in 2011. Direction and script by Alexey Burykin.

You can watch the video here.


OSM review: Virtuoso duet from Denis Matsuev, Mikhail Pletnev

MONTREAL - My Moscow relatives were jealous when I told them I would hear Denis Matsuev play Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto at the Maison symphonique Thursday, and these are not easy people to impress. I had one cousin train an elephant to walk a tightrope between two balconies at a party — a three-ton beast, bejazzled in every way, who loped across with a triumphant teenager on top — and nobody noticed.

Turns out they were right to be jealous, but first there was the matter of The Seasons, the ballet by Glazunov — the same Glazunov who allegedly ruined the première of Rachmaninoff’s first symphony by conducting it drunk. Not a Russian tradition, in this case — it’s just what I think of whenever these two share a concert program.

Glazunov was a wunderkind, like Rachmaninoff, but from St. Petersburg instead of Moscow. He even managed to ride out the revolution, which comes to mind because there is something shrewd about his music, even with Mikhail Pletnev leading the OSM. It was a vivid performance and its more brilliant parts, like the Autumn Bacchanal, made me glad there weren’t dancers trying to keep up with Pletnev. He conducts like a man launching a yacht in a tuxedo, careful-don’t-get-mud-on-it movements bursting into Christ-I’ll-do-it-myself. But most of the suite just ran prettily past. No matter how finely the material is worked, it’s still not gold.

Expectations were high when Matsuev arrived. At 38, he looks like a big, rosy-cheeked Siberian boy, but he moves like a gallant; he could have entered in a litter. Pletnev and he passed for two men ignoring each other while performing a virtuoso duet; the opening theme’s octaves glided into the orchestral line as if they were played by one hand, and the first cadenza (the piano solo) was volcanic, a freakish release that cast Matsuev’s elegant composure into self-conscious relief. The finale was sublime, but the best was their wondrous Intermezzo, as balanced as a watch spring and as full of discoveries as the ocean in the dead of night.

This much beauty was almost a knockout after Glazunov’s pretty slapping, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the massive audience from giving the champion six trips to the door before he realized an encore was necessary. So he played two.

Lev Bratishenko

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Famous American Pianist Van Cliburn Died

He personified a whole epoch of piano art, winning the Tchaikovsky competition in 1958. The victory was a truly landmark event – an American pianist won the first contest of P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Soviet Moscow. It really was a breakthrough in all respects, including politics, but politics in this case were relegated to second place because his playing was just so brilliant.

It is important that Van Cliburn was a follower of the Russian piano school. He graduated from the famous Julliard teacher Rosina Lhévinne, herself a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory. He subsequently was awarded the diploma of the Moscow Conservatory and it’s certainly a sign of recognition, because Russian pianist school is felt in his playing: the art of singing at the piano and an absolutely amazing romantic style of execution that captivated audiences in the Soviet Union. All were in love, and the love was mutual. He adored the Soviet Union, Russia, the Russian audience. He was absolutely out of politics, has always been at the forefront of his art.

Very hard to speak in the past tense about such person. I remember my personal impressions from meeting him, we compared the purely visual aspects of winning the Tchaikovsky competition. This was an infinitely touching, sensitive, kind and helpful person who dedicated his entire life to the service of art and proved by his example that talent has no nationality, that there are artists all around the world. Such a bereavement. A true legend. Legends such as he, you can count them on one hand. Eternal memory …


Symphony superb in performances of classics

Pittsburgh Symphony music director Manfred Honeck returned Friday night to a packed house at Heinz Hall, where he conducted a blockbuster program of great and popular music. 

Honeck, who has been busy making his debuts with the New York and Berlin Philharmonics in 2013, began with an interpretation of Modest Mussorgsky's “Night on Bald Mountain” that would test any orchestra.


The performance played to extremes of all kinds, including a tempo for the main section of the piece that was so fast it was reminiscent of Soviet conductor Yevgeny Mravsinky in other repertoire. 

Although the tempo was anything but out of place for frenzied debauchery, only a great orchestra could make it work. 

No doubt Honeck pushed the limit, but the orchestra rose to the occasion in many ways — and not with only stunning articulation, dynamic contrasts and impressively concentrated brass sonorities. 

The end of the piece, ushered in by morning's bell, was quite slow and featured beautiful wind solos by Michael Rusinek and Lorna McGhee. Her flute tone was instantly captivating in a special way and her phrasing included nice individuality. 

Russian pianist Denis Matsuev followed with an astonishing performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2. This is music written for a pianist with big sound and stunning virtuosity, and has been played by countless great pianists. Even so, Matsuev's power and velocity were jaw dropping. 

Matsuev enjoys being the soloist, and if he sometimes overplayed and covered melodies he's actually accompanying, it must be admitted at other time he brought out inner ornamentation against the orchestra that is usually overlooked and provided freshness. 

After intermission Honeck brought back Ludwig van Beeethoven's Symphony No. 7, a piece for which he has a particularly superb interpretation. 

Honeck conducted this piece at his New York Philharmonic debut in early January. The interpretation he led Friday night was in most respects very similar to the one he led here in 2009. The energy and rhythmic focus carries all before it. His tempo relationships are excellent.


Yet there were new elements, most significantly more sustained and warmer string playing at the start of the second movement — which only served to deepen the expression without in any way losing the dignity of the feeling. 

By Mark Kanny

Published: Saturday, February 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Updated 10 hours ago

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Today I start my world concert tour!

Now I'm in Israel already, in the anticipation of a new performance with the genius world known conductor Kurt Masur and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. We will perform Piano concerto No.1 of J. Brahms. Eighteen months ago we were performing a concert of Prokofiev in Paris and right after the concert he personally asked me to learn Piano concerto No.1 of J. Brahms. During the last year I have performed it very often in many cities. For today it is one of my favorite concerts. I am looking forward to our performances in Israel. Performance of Piano concerto No.1 of J. Brahms with Kurt Masur, an expert in German music, one of the greatest conductors of our time, of course, is a significant event for me.

After a tour in Israel, I move to the American continent, where I will give concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Manfred Honeck. We will perform Rachmaninoff's Piano concerto No. 2.

Then it will be Montreal - performing with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Mikhail Pletnev Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No.3.

Then I fly back to Rome, where we will perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano concerto No. 1 with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and maestro Yuri Temirkanov.

Wait for more news from the tour!

Сongratulations on the anniversary, Rodion Konstantinovich!

I would like to congratulate one of the greatest composers of our time on his anniversary. A composer with unique, original style of composing. I was lucky enough to know him for the last ten years. I performed his Piano concerto №5 and recorded it twice, once with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra with Mariss Jansons and the second time not long ago with Valery Gergiev. These records have a great success all over the world, like all his work, that, in my opinion, because of his genius. They are simply destined for success. My Congratulations to Rodion Konstantinovich and his muse, Maya Plisetskaya. This is a unique couple that proves that so talented, ambitious persons, like Rodion Konstantinovich and Maya Michailovna, can live happily together in one family.

Upon the request of Rodion Konstantinovich I gladly began rehearsing his Piano concerto № 2, which will be presented to the public on December 22nd in St. Petersburg, and on December 25th in Moscow. He had a feeling that this concert, devoted to Maya Plisetskaya, perfect fit for my style of performing. At the moment I am rehearsing the concert. I must say that rehearsals, when Shchedrin in a concert hall, or concerts, when he is in the auditorium, are very special rehearsals and concerts. And I have a very special feeling during performance, when the composer is in the hall. I wish him good health and prosperity for many years to come, I wish him energy to go along in the same vein, the same pace, in the same rhythm. I admire him and I am looking forward to these concerts.

Galina Vishnevskaya Died

Vishnevskaya was a stunning example for young people. That’s amazing how much she did for the young, for opera as a performing art. She created the Opera Center, where master classes and performances took place. She understood that Russia needed such centers. Many talented people were leaving the country at that time. It was extremely important to keep them here, to open talents who were born here. Best professors, best performers, best conductors come to the Center to give master classes to share their experiences with audience. The main goal of the Center’s activities was to show that we have continuity in the opera school, because there was the impression that our Russian vocal school was dying. She proved that it is not.

Fantastic woman, one of the most distinguished performers in Russian art. A woman with a steel character, sincere and straightforward, who always said what she thought. She was married to Mstislav Rostropovich and this couple survived a lot of troubles. They left the Soviet Union and then returned here triumphantly. Amazing singer, a powerful woman with a great character and fantastic life aspirations.

Galina Vishnevskaya left the stage in her prime. Only a truly great person can make such a decision. We will always remember her at the peak of her career.


Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra Open the Symphonic Masters Series at Lincoln Center

The second Brahms program by Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra was at once more challenging and more satisfying. The choice of repertoire was less popularly appealing, more demanding, and much darker in palette. The choice of soloist — Russian pianist Denis Matsuev — in the titanic first piano concerto was much more felicitous, insofar as there was a greater sense of coherence and unity of interpretation between solo and orchestra than had been the case with the violin concerto.

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DENIS MATSUEV/MARIINSKY ORCHESTRA. Shostakovich Piano Concertos (Mariinsky)

Here is 20th-century Russian music at its most charismatic. The two piano concertos of Shostakovich contrast the expansive grin of a 27-year-old composer in the flush of his first fame with the jaded smile of a 51-year-old. Young Russian pianist Denis Matsuev is masterful at overcoming the works’ many technical demands. He lends the piano forward-moving power while giving his overall interpretation smoothly rounded corners. Conductor Valery Gergiev and his Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra are magnificent in achieving the same kind of balance, giving the music weight without ever making it ponderous. The slow movements in both concertos are magical as they waft gently by.

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