Mikhail Vasilievich Pletnev (born 14 April 1957) is a Russian concert pianist, conductor and composer.
He entered the Central School of Music at the age of 13, studying under Evgeny Timakin, and, in 1974, entered the Moscow Conservatory, studying under Yakov Flier and Lev Vlassenko. At age 21, he won the Gold Medal at the VI International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1978, which earned him international recognition and drew great attention worldwide. The following year he made his debut in the United States. He also taught at the Moscow Conservatory. Pletnev has acknowledged Sergei Rachmaninoff as a particularly notable influence on him as a musician.
Pletnev is an artist whose genius as pianist, conductor and composer enchants and amazes audiences around the globe. His musicianship encompasses a dazzling technical power and provocative emotional range, and a searching interpretation that fuses instinct with intellect. At the keyboard and podium alike, Pletnev is recognized as one of the finest artists of our time.
Today he is one of Russia’s most respected and influential artists. An advisor on Russia’s Cultural Council, in 2007 Pletnev was awarded a Presidential Prize for his contributions to the artistic life of the country. Pianist, conductor, composer and cultural leader — all are significant facets of Mikhail Pletnev’s life as an artist.
As a solo pianist and recitalist, Pletnev appears regularly in the world’s music capitals. His recordings and live performances have proved him to be an outstanding interpreter of an extensive repertoire. The London Telegraph remarked, «from Pletnev’s fingers and brain come ideas that vitalise the music and make it teem with freshness and wit. [He] made the music positively leap for joy.» The Times describes his playing as «born of a prodigious virtuosity of imagination outrageous in its beauty.»
The Guardian – »Pletnev’s playing here is almost shocking in its delicacy… ‘
New York TImes – Michael White – In the 21st-century culture of oversupply and underdemand, it’s small wonder that every second musician in the marketplace is sold by agents, impresarios and record companies as unique. It doesn’t mean much. But just occasionally it does. And Mikhail Pletnev — arguably the most distinctive and idiosyncratically remarkable of living pianists — is a case in point.
Wenneke Savenije – NRC Handelsblad – His physical machinery functions with astounding perfection. Also, he is a magician with sound and colour, so he can rightfully be described as a master of tone control. Pletnev conjures up Chopin in an exquisitely beautiful vision of sound. Mikhail Pletnev was compared with legendary predecessors such as Rachmaninoff, Godowsky and Horowitz.
Sandra Kooke – Trouw − Rarely has the sound of the Concertgebouw’s grand piano been so beautiful. There are more pianists with a refined touch, but the way in which Pletnev uses subtleties in sound for his interpretations is extraordinary. The Russian maestro astounded his audience with the variations in sound. Frequently the harmonies took over the leading role from the melody. That way he shed an entirely new light on the structure of the composition.
Christo Lelie − Trouw – The unique sound of Pletnev Pletnev is a representative of the Russian school which above all else is about tonal beauty and individuality. Pletnev likes to play things differently than others do… a tonal beauty that hadn’t been heard in this concert hall since Cherkassky and Horowitz. Pletnev makes you forget that a piano is a percussion instrument. His sound is unique.
Please listen also to my other posts of Michail Pletnev…. playing works of Scarlatti, Tchaikovski, Grieg, C.P.E. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin…