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Mikhail Pletnev
Mikhail Pletnev
Pletnev is not just a pianist. He also enjoys a career as a renowned conductor. In 1990, he founded the Russian National Orchestra, the first Russian orchestra to be independent from the government since 1917.

In the 12 years since, the ensemble has become one of the world's leading orchestras. After a three year hiatus from the RNO, Conductor Laureate Pletnev becomes the orchestra's first Artistic Director in January 2003. In this role, Pletnev will lead a group of conductors who conduct most of the RNO's Moscow season.

C.P.E. Bach Sonatas and Rondos
Tom Manoff reviews pianist Mikhail Pletnev's CD of Sonatas and Rondos by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Deutsche Grammophon CD 289 459 614-2. From September 2002, NPR's All Things Considered.

Mikhail Pletnev -- Live at Carnegia Hall
In this CD review, Tom Manoff says Pletnev looks for the musical essence in every piece he plays, and probes the piano for every inch of sound and color, as if it were an orchestra. Deutsche Grammophon CD 471 157-2. From March 2001, NPR's All Things Considered.

Related Links

  • The Unofficial Mikhail Pletnev Web site

  • The Russian National Orchestra Web site

  • Deutsche Grammophon

    Pletnev Biography
    Mikhail Pletnev is an artist who defies simple classification, whose technique and genius as pianist, conductor and composer continue to enchant and amaze. The child of musicians, Pletnev was born in Archangel, Russia and displayed exceptional musical talent from an early age. Growing up in Kazan, he transferred to the Central School of Music at the age of 13 and, in 1974, entered the Moscow Conservatory, studying under Jakob Flier and Lev Vlasenko. Pletnev was the Gold Medal and First Prize winner of the 1978 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow when he was only 21. His prize earned him early international recognition and, in 1988, an invitation from President Mikhail Gorbachev to perform at the superpower summit in Washington.

    The resulting friendship with Gorbachev gave Pletnev the historic opportunity to realize his long-held dream of forming an orchestra independent of the government. Attracted by Pletnev's reputation and his vision of a new model for the performing arts in Russia, many of the finest musicians in the country joined him in launching the Russian National Orchestra in 1990. Under his artistic leadership as Music Director and Principal Conductor, the RNO in less than a decade has become known as one of the world's leading orchestras. While his conducting career is primarily focused on the RNO, he also makes appearances as guest conductor with such prestigious orchestras as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In September 1999 Pletnev became the RNO's Conductor Laureate and continues his collaboration with the orchestra in many of its recordings and concerts at home and on tour.

    Renowned as one of the great pianists of our time, Pletnev continues to perform regularly as soloist and recitalist in the musical capitals and major festivals of Europe, Asia and in his native Russia. Having toured the USA extensively as conductor, the new millenium marks his return to the country as pianist performing recitals in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall in November 2000. He has appeared as soloist with Spivakov and the Russian National Orchestra for the ensemble's 10th anniversary US tour in early 2001. He has also appeared with Michael Tilson Thomas in San Franciso and the National Symphony Orchestra under Slatkin in Washington and on tour throughout Europe's most prestigious music centers in May 2002.

    Pletnev's recordings and live performances as pianist have proved him to be an outstanding interpreter of an extensive repertoire. His unrivalled transcriptions for piano of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and Sleeping Beauty (both works he also performs as conductor) were selected, along with his performance of Tchaikovsky's Second Piano Concerto and The Seasons, for the 1998 anthology "Great Pianists of the 20th Century" (Philips Classics). His album of Scarlatti's Keyboard Sonatas(EMI-Virgin Classics) received a Gramophone Award in 1996. BBC Music Magazine called this recording "piano playing at its greatest... this performance alone would be enough to secure Pletnev a place among the greatest pianists ever known." Of Pletnev's Chopin Recital CD (1997), his debut as an exclusive artist for Deutsche Grammophon, the well-known critic Joachim Kaiser wrote: "...it is the record of the year." Pletnev's virtuoso recital disc - Homage to Rachmaninov - was recorded on the composer's own magnificent Steinway at Rachmaninov's family home near Lucerne. This event, together with Pletnev's interpretion of Rachmaninov's music as soloist and as conductor with the RNO, are featured in the documentary "Sergei Rachmaninov - Memories" (NVC Arts).

    Since 1996, Mikhail Pletnev's highly praised releases for Deutsche Grammophon have included an all-Chopin disc and recordings devoted to Liszt's B-minor and Dante Sonatas as well as works of Edvard Grieg. "Pletnev live at Carnegie Hall" - his stunning and enthusiastically acclaimed New York recital in November 2000, recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon, was released worldwide in 2001. The 2002 release of his recording devoted to the imaginative creativity of C.P.E.Bach's works for Keyboard marks a new highlight in Pletnev's discography.

    As a composer, Pletnev's works include Classical Symphony, Triptych for Symphony Orchestra, Fantasy on Kazakh Themes for Violin and Orchestra and Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra. In December 1998, the world premiere of his Concerto for Viola and Orchestra took place in Moscow with Yuri Bashmet as soloist. The world premiere recording of Beethoven's Violin Concerto arranged by Pletnev for clarinet (Michael Collins, soloist) was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2000 to rave reviews.

    His stature in Russia was formally recognized in 1995 when he was awarded the First State Prize of the Russian Federation by President Yeltsin an honour, that was again bestowed on him in 2002 by President Putin.

    May 2002, Courtesy of Konzertdirektion Hans Ulrich Schmid