Denis Matsuev

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Too Much Matsuev Is Wonderful

It’s doubtful anyone could have wanted more from Denis Matsuev, who played to a full house in Jordan Hall on Saturday Night. A few might have, in rare moments, wanted less. But that’s quibbling. Matsuev’s near superhuman piano playing allows him to do as he wishes at the keyboard, and almost all that he wishes to do is in greater service of great music, making this music fresh and exciting.

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Pianist dazzles in Strathmore recital

Prokofiev does not go easy on the soloist in his Piano Sonata No. 7. Turning on a dime from brooding introspection to full-frontal assault, the piece demands a pianist who can forge a cogent path through the wild swings of emotion. Denis Matsuev, at his Strathmore recital Sunday, showed just the right temperament to honor the sonata’s bipolar moods, offering a cool, tension-filled beauty in the lyrical pages, and pounding home the relentlessly percussive final movement to thrilling effect.

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Blog from Ann Arbor

Some time before in my vlog I showed you Hill Auditorium from the stage and told you some interesting facts about this concert hall. And now, while I am waiting for my flight to Denver, I’d like to share my impressions after concert in Ann Arbor. Hill Auditorium is a legendary concert hall. With unique ambiance. There are only three or four concert halls in America, that have their unique ambiance. I can name Carnegie Hall, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco. And even among those famous halls Hill Auditorium stands out. Thanks to its audience, which come to concerts of Choral Union Series every year.

This audience amazes me every time. I’ve told you many times, how important first several moments on the stage right before a concert for me. This is when I “breathe in” audience’s energy and mood to see what kind of people are in this hall today. And 4000-people audience of Hill Auditorium is one of the brightest examples of that “understanding” audience, that very musician dreams about. The American audience, brought up on legendary concerts. Absolute understanding.

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Bachtrack review on Denis Matsuev and Yuri Temirkanov concert

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 3 in D minor is indeed the non plus ultra of the Romantic repertoire, famously difficult and never failing to impress. It begins unassumingly, however, with a theme in the piano likely of Russian monastic origin, to which Temirkanov’s batonless conducting provided a supple, keenly judged accompaniment. The piano writing gets very difficult very quickly, but under Matsuev’s big-boned playing, even the most severe challenges were brushed off with ease and aplomb. Projection was never an issue for him either, as he effortlessly overpowered the orchestra – there was really no contest.

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Excerpts from reviews of performances of Denis Matsuev in Chicago with Yuri Temirkanov, the Symphony Orchestra of the Baltimore and Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Tribune

No one denies that Matsuev commands as huge a technical arsenal as any pianist on the planet, or that he can vanquish Rachmaninov's most daunting keyboard writing with a nonchalant shrug. The crowd adored his virtuoso prowess…

Chicago Classical Review

Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 took up the first half of the evening—a rare occurrence since the beloved keyboard showpiece invariably winds up hard to top.

Matsuev’s technical arsenal is as complete as any pianist currently before the public yet the opening minutes of Thursday’s performance were so restrained as to seem almost offhand. Matsuev clearly sees the cadenza as the climax of the first movement–the “point” as Rachmaninoff called it–and his full-metal assault on the longer cadenza was explosive in its power and massive bravura.

The soloist brought stoic elegance to the main theme of the Intermezzo as well as a wry vivacity to the scherzando middle section. The solo burst that launches the finale was daunting in its fire and attack. Others have plumbed more light and shade in the concluding movement but Matsuev’s relentless buildup of momentum and sonority was undeniably thrilling, accelerating to a thunderous and virtuosic coda.

Matsuev earned one of the longest and most rousing ovations of the season with repeated curtain calls. Finally, he relented with an encore of Liadov’s A Musical Snuffbox, teasing out the music box delicacy with gentle charm and a deliciously halting rubato.

Baltimore Sun

The pianist, in an overdue visit 12 years after his last appearance with the BSO, made child's play of the score's ferocious technical demands and used the leftover energy to add welcome expressive nuance. There was an organic, inevitable quality to Matsuev's playing, which was warm-hearted without turning sentimental.


Denis Matsuev to give his 10th solo recital at Carnegie Hall

Russian virtuoso pianist Denis Matsuev will give on Wednesday his jubilee tenth solo recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He disclosed the details of the upcoming concert in an interview with TASS. "For me the American tours have been one of my favorite performances over the past 15 years, especially on such a significant stage as Carnegie Hall," Matsuev said. "Today’s performance is special. This is my tenth solo recital on this stage. In all, I’ve performed at Carnegie Hall more than 20 times, including my concerts with orchestras." According to Matsuev, every performance in this musical theater is a special honor for him. "It was opened in 1891 with a concert of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of [Pyotr] Tchaikovsky. [Sergey] Rachmaninoff and [Igor] Stravinsky also performed there," he said. "Carnegie Hall has its own special aura, special atmosphere.

Every time the musician draws up a new program for Carnegie Hall audiences never repeating himself. At this concert he will perform Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons, Robert Schumann’s Kreisleriana and three fragments from Stravinsky’s Petrushka ballet. A Carnegie Hall spokesman told TASS that it was a great honor for the American audiences to welcome Matsuev to New York city, so the leadership of this well-known musical theater often asks the pianist to perform there. Carnegie Hall wrote on its website, "Since his triumph in 1998 at the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition, Denis Matsuev has become a virtuoso in the grandest Russian tradition of pianism and has quickly established himself as one of the most prominent pianists of his generation."



Sonorous Monuments: A Recital by Denis Matsuev

A substantial portion of the Russian musical community attended the spectacular piano recital by Denis Matsuev at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, Sunday, January 24, given under the auspices of The Cherry Orchard Foundation. Mr. Matsuev (b. 1975), winner of the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, 1998, offered three works on his original program, of alternately salon and virtuosic character: Tchaikovsky’s 1876 suite “The Months” (also known as “The Seasons”); Schumann’s suite after E.T.A. Hoffmann, Kreisleriana, Op. 16; and Stravinsky’s arrangement (for Artur Rubinstein) of Three Scenes from the 1911 ballet Petrouchka. 

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UCLA’s Royce Hall Welcomes Back Acclaimed Piano Virtuoso, Denis Matsuev

Enjoy a Night of Live Classical Piano Music Featuring Denis Matsuev

Experience a musical performance like no other when The Cherry Orchard Festival presents acclaimed piano virtuoso Denis Matsuev performing at two special West Coast engagements at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Friday, Jan. 22 and San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 24. 

Matsuev’s piano recital will feature famous works including Tchaikovsky’s Seasons, Schumann’s Kreisleriana, and Stravinsky’s Petrouchka.

Matsuev has prospered as one of the most sought-after pianists of his generation, earning widespread praise from fans and critics alike after winning gold at the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1998.

Matsuev has prospered as one of the most sought-after pianists of his generation, earning widespread praise from fans and critics alike after winning gold at the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1998. This performance will be Matsuev’s second appearance at Royce Hall, the first was in front of a sold-out crowd in 2012.

Matsuev’s enthusiastic and passionate approach has garnered special acknowledgement from numerous respected critics: The New York Times named him, “the successor to Russian keyboard lions like Evgeny Kissin, Arcadi Volodos, and Vladimir Horowitz.” The Washington Post calls him, “an absolute powerhouse of a pianist capable of vanquishing the most technically demanding music in the repertory.” His brilliant and unique talent is evident throughout his performance.

Matsuev tours internationally, appearing before the likes of the Queen of England, the Pope and former President Bill Clinton, and has played with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony. Matsuev also had the honor of performing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The Cherry Orchard Festival, a production of the Cherry Orchard Festival Foundation, is an organization that promotes artistic activity and the exchange of views and ideas while aiming to enlighten, reveal and engage audiences through educational programs and events. The Cherry Orchard Festival’s vision is to create an ongoing connection between American audiences and international artists, thus promoting greater cultural understanding and encouraging family participation in the arts. Since the foundation held their first International Arts Festival in New York City in 2013, the festival has expanded to Boston and Washington, D.C.

The event will be held on Friday, Jan. 22, at Royce Hall at 8 p.m. You can purchase tickets at or through the UCLA Central Ticket Office: 310.825.2101.

These not-to-miss recitals will be held on Friday, Jan. 22, at Royce Hall at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at Herbst Theatre.

Event: Denis Matsuev Piano Recital at Royce Hall (Los Angeles)

Date: Friday, Jan. 22

Time: 8 p.m. 

Cost: $55-$95 Orchestra Seating and $55-$85 Balcony Seating


 Event: Denis Matsuev Piano Recital at Herbst Theatre (San Francisco)

Date: Sunday, Jan. 24

Time: 7 p.m.

Cost: $95-$105 for orchestra seating, $55-$65 for balcony seating


Randa Akeel


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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