Performance Saturday, May 16, 2015 | 8 PM

Evgeny Kissin

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Evgeny Kissin is always exciting, but never more so than when he performs music by composers with whom he is most closely associated. Kissin returns to Carnegie Hall with works by his repertoire staples—Chopin and Liszt—as well as sonatas by Beethoven and Prokofiev. The nocturne form was conceived by Irish composer John Field, but Chopin reinvented it with an inspired infusion of song-like melodies. While based on a traditional Polish dance, Chopin’s mazurkas are dazzlingly original showpieces that offer striking harmonic invention and breathless flights of technical brilliance.


  • Evgeny Kissin, Piano


  • BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53, "Waldstein"
  • PROKOFIEV Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor
  • CHOPIN Nocturne in B-flat Minor, Op. 9, No. 1
  • CHOPIN Nocturne in B Major, Op. 9, No. 3
  • CHOPIN Nocturne in C Minor, Op. 48, No. 1
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in F-sharp Minor, Op. 6, No. 1
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in C-sharp Minor, Op. 6, No. 2
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in E Major, Op. 6, No. 3
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 7, No. 2
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 7, No. 3
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in C-sharp Minor, Op. 41, No. 1
  • LISZT Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 in A Minor, "Rákóczi-Marsch"

  • Encores:
  • CHOPIN Waltz in B Minor, Op. 69, No. 2
  • LISZT Etude No. 5 in E Major, “La Chasse” (after Niccolò Paganini, Caprice No. 9 in E Major)
  • PROKOFIEV March from The Love for Three Oranges

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Evgeny Kissin

    Evgeny Kissin's musicality, the depth and poetic quality of his interpretations, and his extraordinary virtuosity have earned him the veneration and admiration deserved only by one of the most gifted classical pianists of his generation and, arguably, generations past. He is in demand the world over, and has appeared with many of the world's great conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Christoph von Dohnányi, Carlo Maria Giulini, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, and Seiji Ozawa, as well as all the great orchestras of the world.

    Mr. Kissin was born in Moscow in October 1971. He began to play by ear and improvise on the piano at the age of two. At six years old, he entered a special school for gifted children, Moscow's Gnessin School of Music, where he was a student of Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who has been his only teacher. At the age of 10, he made his concerto debut, playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466, and gave his first solo recital in Moscow one year later. He came to international attention in March 1984 when, at the age of 12, he performed Chopin's First and Second piano concertos in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Moscow State Philharmonic under Dmitri Kitaenko. This concert was recorded live by Melodia, and a two-LP album was released the following year. Given the astounding success of this recording, Melodia proceeded to release five more LPs of live performances in Moscow over the following two years.

    In 1990, Mr. Kissin made his North American debut, performing both Chopin piano concertos with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta. The following week, he opened Carnegie Hall's centennial season with a spectacular debut recital, recorded live by BMG Classics.

    Musical awards and accolades from around the world have been generously bestowed upon Mr. Kissin over the years. He was special guest at the 1992 Grammy Awards ceremony, broadcast live to an audience estimated to be larger than one billion, and three years later became Musical America's youngest-ever Instrumentalist of the Year. He is also an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London and has received an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music and the Shostakovich Award (one of Russia's highest musical honors). Mr. Kissin's recording of works by Scriabin, Medtner, and Stravinsky (RCA Red Seal) won him a Grammy Award in 2006, and he won another Grammy in 2010 for his recording of Prokofiev's Second and Third piano concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy (EMI Classics). 

    More Info

At a Glance

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53, “Waldstein” 

The “Waldstein” Sonata, named for one of Beethoven’s noble patrons, followed hard on the heels of the “Eroica” Symphony, and both works exemplify the boldly heroic style of the composer’s middle period. A distinctive feature of the C-Major Sonata is its brief, highly unconventional slow movement, which Beethoven substituted for its original full-length Andante.  

SERGEI PROKOFIEV  Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 29

Known for his precision and refinement at the keyboard, Prokofiev wrote some of the 20th century’s most brilliant and percussive keyboard music. He premiered the bracingly virtuosic Fourth Sonata in Petrograd in early 1918, shortly before he left the Soviet Union for nearly two decades of self-imposed exile in the United States and Europe.

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN  Selected Nocturnes and Mazurkas

Chopin revolutionized piano writing in a large body of nocturnes, mazurkas, waltzes, and other solo pieces that imbued the brilliance of the salon style with unprecedented poetic depth. The nine pieces on tonight’s program illustrate the increasing complexity of Chopin’s music as he expanded his stylistic horizons in the 1830s, partly under the influence of Franz Liszt.

FRANZ LISZT  Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 in A Minor, “Rákóczi-Marsch”

A seminal figure in the Romantic movement, Liszt was a musical visionary who prefigured many of the major compositional developments of the 20th century. His vast catalogue includes some 1,000 works in many genres, but he is best known for his piano music, including this characteristically virtuosic rhapsody inspired by a popular march from his native Hungary.

Program Notes
Please note that if you purchase stage seating, please arrive one hour before concert time. Purchased tickets must be picked up at the Box Office the day of the concert from 11 AM–6:45 PM. There will be no late seating.
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos II.