Denis Matsuev

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Denis Matsuev Presented Tutorials and Printed Music to Novosibirsk Region's Music Schools

November became a memorable month for cultural life of Novosibirsk. Publishing House "Music"- "P.Jurgenson" with International Charity Foundation of P.I. Tchaikovsky and with participation of Bank Group ZENITH accomplished the joint project. All music schools of Novosibirsk got a considerable amount of tutorials, textbooks and sheet music from Publishing House "Music".

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The LSO and Gergiev in Brahms and Szymanowski 4

The first half of the 20th century must surely be one of the most richly creative periods in history. This was a time of great social and political change, spearheaded by two most devastating wars that saw death and destruction on a new level of cold efficiency. Rising from the ashes of this massive upheaval, the arts produced a glorious outpouring of works and ideas not seen since the renaissance and never on this scale. In the world of music, the flowering of talented composers born in the last quarter of the 19th century, produced an embarrassment of riches, to such an extent that it was possible to consign a composer as talented as Szymanowski to the second rank.

Following in the footsteps of Simon Rattle and Charles Dutoit, it is all credit to Valery Gergiev that he is also championing this miraculous, if still peripheral, composer. To hear this music so luxuriously played by the London Symphony Orchestra seemed like the perfect way to experience it. This music has a surface richness and virtuosity that cries out for a first-rate orchestra and a conductor in tune with the toughness at its core – certainly delivered in spades, in this most memorable concert.

Two works by Szymanowski occupied the substantial first half of the evening. Both late works, they show the composer at his most rounded and contained, while not losing that essential wildness and rapturous quality which are unique to him. The oddly categorised Symphony no. 4, “Symphonie Concertante” of 1932 is a piano concerto in all but name and as such easily stands up to comparison with the great works by Bartók and Prokofiev of the same period. As performed by Gergiev and his powerful pianist Denis Matsuev, this was a performance that struck one as energetic and bold, but also giving time for the work to breathe and expand as needed. In the first movement, the balance between the ruminative opening subject and the more dynamic second group of ideas was nicely maintained and the overall effect was passionate but organic. Matusev found just the right level of forcefulness and melting delicacy.

This latter quality was much in evidence in the second movement with its piano part gently accompanying solos from the strings and woodwind, while always being somehow in control of the musical flow. In the great central climax the sense of elation overflows into a great string melody, which once again melts into the piano roulades, all beautifully judged by Gergiev and Matsuev. In the final movement all these positive musical qualities once again surfaced to produce and an exciting and satisfying conclusion to an excellent performance of an inspired work. The frenetic Polish highland dance that ends the work took the breath away with its controlled power.

The secret to performing Szymanowski’s music, so clearly understood by Gergiev in these performances, is to hold onto that fine line between classical restraint and total abandon and then to make it all sound completely spontaneous. This he and his soloist Leonidas Kavakos achieved even more successfully in their performance of the Violin Concerto no. 2 that followed. Perhaps a greater work that the symphony and possibly its composer’s best work, this concerto has all the ingredients that make Szymanowski so exceptional. Gergiev and Kavakos certainly got to its core.

Once again, it’s all about balance, and Kavakos took as his starting point a reasonable mid-point of restraint. The opening passage was warm but not effusive, and this mesmerising stillness once created, he was able to return to it as the music required. At other times he opened out with a lusher sound, or in tougher folk dance passages, he would dazzle with rock-solid rhythmic impetus and thrilling double-stopping. The ebb and flow of this piece was so wonderfully captured, that I’m sure many of the audience left this performance wondering why the they hadn’t heard it before and or why it wasn’t in the repertoire of most concert violinists.

And then we ended with the Brahms. Odd bedfellows, you might think, but somehow it worked. Brahms is another composer that needs a fine balancing act between restraint and passion, and the Symphony no. 4 is the most perfect example of this duality in his orchestral music. If performed as it was by the Gergiev and the LSO, it sounded strangely reminiscent of Wagner or Bruckner, but with many fewer of the former’s longueurs or the obsessive “logic” of the latter. It certainly put paid to Britten’s insistence that Brahms’ music was “dull”, “stolid”, “pretentious”. There was not, as you might be forgiven for expecting, a touch of Tchaikovsky or even a Russian accent.

The first movement tempo seemed initially to be a little leisurely, but then it became obvious that Gergiev’s overall conception was to emphasise the grand sweep, leading the inevitably to the climatic coda.

Submitted by Chris Garlick on 17th December 2012


Classical Review: IPO No Mere Substitute

Except for regretting Kurt Masur’s unfortunate accident that prevented him from conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert last week, there was no reason for disappointment with Doron Salomon as substitute.

Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s performance of Brahns’ Piano Concerto No. 1 was electrifying. He is a veritable bombshell of temperament, radiating passion, intensity of expression, and excitement. Powerfully convincing though his outbursts are, there is nothing exaggerated or showy about them. Not even the slightest fleeting detail is neglected, tempi are subtly flexible with no trace of rigidity, climactic highlights are significantly accentuated, nuances of dynamics are abundant, and technically demanding runs are meticulously polished.

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ICMA nomination

Shostakovich Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 and Shchedrin Piano Concerto No 5 has been nominated for an International Classical Music Award (ICMA) in the Concerto category. The Award Ceremony and Gala concert will take place in Milan, 18 March 2013.


The composition of the Culture and Arts Presidential Council was approved

Today the decree of the President of Russia V. Putin about the composition  

of the Culture and Arts Presidential Council was published.

58 cultural figures form it. The presidium consists of 15 members. Among them the adviser to the President Vladimir Tolstoy, the director of cinema concern "Mosfilm" Karen Shakhnazarov, the Hermitage Museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky, the president of the Moscow Performing Arts Centre Vladimir Spivakov.

Among members of the Council are the Director of the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg Valery Gergiev, the president of the Union of Theatrical Figures of Russia Alexander Kalyagin, the artistic director of the Moscow Art Theatre Oleg Tabakov, the conductor Yury Bashmet, the editor-in-chief of "Kultura" TV-channel Sergey Shumakov and the pianist Denis Matsuev.

And traditionally all those members form the Board of trustees of "Kultura" TV-channel.

Broadcast of the Concert from Carnegie Hall

Medici.TV starts free live broadcast of my concert in Carnegie Hall with Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under baton of V.Gergiev. Thanks to AVC Charity Foundation live webcast will be available free of charge and without any subscription to anyone from anywhere in the world, on the home page as well as on the webcast page during 90 days.

Denis Matsuev at Royal Festival Hall – Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons, Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz, Schumann’s Kreisleriana and Rachmaninov’s Second Sonata

Recent experiences of Denis Matsuev have not been that positive, so it was a pleasure that his International Piano Series recital went a long way to confounding expectations. True, Matsuev’s stage manner isn’t exactly ingratiating and his pragmatic engagement with the piano (here a beautifully voiced Steinway) gives very little away. Also, both halves of his programme were organised to keep the fans waiting for Denis the arsonist-as-virtuoso, which, to judge from the amount of coughing and phone-checking, was the audience’s prime interest.

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Concert in Carnegie Hall

Finally, great news! Concert in Carnegie Hall as part of our great American tour will be broadcast live by the amazing team of Medici.TV, which works with many famous festivals, including my festival in Annecy. Channel Medici.TV is famous for the fact that each broadcast of a concert of classical music, thanks to the professionalism and passion of the team, turns into a great theatrical performance. And now, thanks to our partner - AVC Charity Foundation music lovers around the world have the opportunity to see live the best concerts from Carnegie.

For each musician performance at Carnegie Hall is one of the most significant acmes, which is not surprising, because P. I. Tchaikovsky took part in opening ceremony of the hall, and S. V. Rachmaninoff played there a record number of times.

We, together with Maestro Gergiev, will perform here the Second Piano concert of P. I. Tchaikovsky. It, of course, incomparable in popularity among pianists with the First Piano concert, but we were glad to return it to posters of famous halls, and it became very popular and loved by audiences around the globe. Our record with this concert is of great success.

The most remarkable thing is that this year, the year of 175-anniversary of P. I. Tchaikovsky, the year of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow this summer, in the hall, which was opened by Peter Ilyich his incredibly powerful and beautiful music will sound.

Watch the broadcast of the concert on January 28, 2015 at 20:00!/valery-gergiev-mariinsky-orchestra-denis-matsuev-carnegie-hall



New Record on ITunes

Our new record with Mariinsky Theatre orchestra and Valery Gergiev Rachmaninoff. Piano Concerto #1, first of three discs Mariinsky Label is to release this year, is available now on ITunes: 



Blog #54. Recital in London

It’s a great pleasure to invite you to my concert in London on 20 January at 19:30 at the Royal Festival Hall. London is one of my favourite cities, I love London atmosphere, the audience, orchestras, with whom I was fortunate enough to play. Luckily, I have formed great relationship with all of them, but still I would like to tell several words about London Symphony Orchestra, with which Maestro Gergiev and I have already planned a lot of interesting projects. 

However, this time I come to London with a recital, which will be held at the Royal Festival Hall - a glorified hall, within one of the most famous series - International Piano Series. I have already performed here many times, but for me, this place is still primarily associated with the legendary concert in 1982 by the great Vladimir Horowitz. Vladimir Samoylovich ended his performance with Rachmaninoff's Second Sonata, and your humble servant this time will finish the concert with the same musical composition. I am very excited about this evening and looking forward to it!

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Happy New Year!

The most fantastic, the most amazing time is approaching - the time the Christmas holidays. 

And for me a holiday feeling is much more stronger, because I went back to my home town, to my homeland, to my snow, my taiga, my Baikal, my friends, my audience, my Siberians who will come tomorrow, December 31, at our concert (my outstanding friends and I), which for all of us is becoming a good Christmas tradition in Irkutsk. 

I want to wish to everyone to be the same as the Siberians: kind, generous, willing to help each other in the most difficult situation. Unity will help us overcome any obstacles and difficulties we can face.

I want to wish to everyone that everything, you have planned and dreamed about, comes true. And I have absolutely no doubt that this year will be brilliant for those who want, dare and do not despair.

I want to wish you all to become romantic. I'm sure romanticism sooner or later will come back into our lives, and this is, undoubtedly, will make these lives beautiful.

I want to wish to everyone to be calmer and to live in peace with everyone, because friendships are radiating good energy and make us all better. Friendship unites the world, and now need it more than ever.

I want to wish you all to go to concerts of classical music more often, because it heals and comforts, if you have a bad mood or any problems. Believe me, after the concert you will feel better physically and definitely much happier. The positive the emotions that you get from contact with this art, are impossible to replace.

I want to wish you all to have our Siberian health. We, Siberians, virtually offer you this unique Siberian energy, and if it is not enough, we are waiting for you here, on the shores of lake Baikal, to charge yourself from its beauty, power and strength.

We, Siberians, congratulate you all and hope that this year will bring only the most happy and unforgettable moments and brilliant improvisations! 


Denis Matsuev


Blog #52. Moscow-Tumen-Moscow

My short visit to Moscow turned out to be extremely fruitful. First there was a meeting of Tchaikovsky Competition 2015 organizing committee in Bolshoi Theatre, where we (with Valery Gergiev and Olga Golodets) made several really important decisions. First of all, we’ve formed the jury of the competition for 90%. The whole list will be announced in January. But now, I can assure you, there are outstanding musician, soloists and professors, in it. Secondly, it was decided that the first selective audition (video-presentations of candidates) will be judged by the main jury of the contest. Due to present-day internet-technologies, they can do it easily without necessity to gather in one place. And third, the voting system’s been transformed as well. Now a member of jury votes “yes” or “no” simply. And this makes the process more transparent and unbiased. Moreover, prizes are really attractive this year. Grand Prix amounts 100 000 US dollars. And laureates will have  an opportunity to perform their debut recitals in the most famous halls with the most famous orchestras and conductors. Media coverage of the Contest will be shared by our old and world famous partner (I’ll tell you its name later) and Kultura TV Channel.

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