Performance Wednesday, January 27, 2016 | 8 PM

Denis Matsuev

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons is a collection of pieces that depict each month of the year. From January’s “By the Fireside” to the sleigh bells of November and December, Tchaikovsky’s sweet melodies and gentle tone delight. Schumann’s Kreisleriana is a collection of eight miniatures inspired by Johannes Kreisler, a fictitious character who appears in the writings of E. T. A. Hoffmann. Like the mercurial Kreisler, the music’s moods shift from the tempestuous to the darkly pensive. Stravinsky’s piano transcriptions of the “Russian Dance,” “Pétrouchka’s Room,” and “Shrovetide Fair” from his great ballet are stunning showpieces that make daunting technical demands of the performer.


  • Denis Matsuev, Piano


  • TCHAIKOVSKY The Seasons
  • SCHUMANN Kreisleriana, Op. 16
  • STRAVINSKY Three Movements from Pétrouchka

  • Encores:
  • LIADOV A Musical Snuffbox, Op. 32
  • SIBELIUS Etude, Op. 76, No. 2
  • SCRIABIN Etude in D-sharp Minor, Op. 8, No. 12
  • DENIS MATSUEV Jazz Improvisation

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late-seating before intermission.


  • Denis Matsuev

    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.

    Mr. Matsuev appears with the world's best-known orchestras, such as the Chicago, Pittsburgh, and London symphony orchestras; the New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles philharmonic orchestras; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Berliner Philharmoniker; the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; the BBC Symphony Orchestra; and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Mr. Matsuev also collaborates with the world's most prominent conductors, including Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta, Mariss Jansons, Yuri Temirkanov, Kurt Masur, Paavo Järvi, Leonard Slatkin, Myung-whun Chung, Antonio Pappano, Semyon Bychkov, Iván Fischer, Ádám Fischer, Gianandrea Noseda, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, James Conlon, Vladimir Spivakov, Mikhail Pletnev, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Yuri Bashmet, and Yuri Simonov, among others.

    Mr. Matsuev is a frequent guest at such music festivals as the Verbier, Lucerne, and Montreux festivals in Switzerland; BBC Proms and Edinburgh International festivals in Great Britain; Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau, and Baden-Baden festivals in Germany; Chorégies d'Orange and Festival de la Rogue d'Anthéron in France; Ravinia and the Hollywood Bowl in the US; Chopin Festival in Poland; Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and MITO Festival in Italy; Enescu Festival in Romania; Baltic Sea Festival in Sweden; and Stars of the White Nights in Russia. Mr. Matsuev has also been a soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra since 1995.

    Mr. Matsuev has led numerous musical festivals and educational projects. Since 2004, he has organized Stars on Baikal in Irkutsk, Siberia, and in 2009 he was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of Irkutsk. Since 2005, he has been the artistic director of Crescendo, a series of events held in international cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Tel Aviv, Kaliningrad, Paris, and New York. In 2010, he became the artistic director of the Annecy Classical Festival in France; in 2012, he became the artistic director of the first International Astana Piano Passion Festival and Competition; and in 2013, he became the artistic director of the International Festival and Competition Sberbank Debut in Kiev. In addition, Mr. Matsuev is the president of the charitable Russian foundation New Names, which discovers and supports talented children and helps develop music education throughout regions of his native Russia.

    At the invitation of Sergei Rachmaninoff's grandson Alexander Rachmaninoff, Mr. Matsuev has collaborated with the Sergei Rachmaninoff Foundation, performing and recording unknown pieces by Rachmaninoff on the composer's own piano at his house in Lucerne, known as Villa Senar. Mr. Matsuev has since become the artistic director of the foundation.

    Mr. Matsuev is the recipient of awards that include the Presidential Council for Culture and Art's Honored Artist of Russia, the prestigious Shostakovich Prize in Music, and the State Prize of the Russian Federation in Literature and Arts. He is a People's Artist of Russia and an honorary professor at Moscow State University, and was recently appointed head of the Public Council under the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. In February 2014, he performed at the closing ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi. In April 2014, Mr. Matsuev was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

    More Info


TCHAIKOVSKY The Seasons (Barcarolle)
Denis Matsuev, Piano
RCA Victor Red Seal

At a Glance


Although comparatively little-known and seldom heard in the concert hall, this suite of 12 short character pieces—one for each month of the year—is among Tchaikovsky’s most exquisitely crafted creations. When they were first published serially in a Russian music magazine in 1876, each piece was accompanied by a seasonally evocative snippet of poetry, selected by the magazine’s editor with Tchaikovsky’s approval.

ROBERT SCHUMANN  Kreisleriana, Op. 16

The eight fantasy-like pieces that make up Schumann’s Kreisleriana were inspired by Kapellmeister Johannes Kreisler, a fictional half-crazed musician created by the great German Romantic writer E. T. A. Hoffmann. The workpays homage to Kreisler and also reflects the contrasting personalities of Schumann’s fictitious alter egos: the stormy, impulsive Florestan and the dreamy, ruminative Eusebius.

IGOR STRAVINSKY  Three Movements from Pétrouchka

Pétrouchka is the second of three wildly successful ballets inspired by Russian folklore that made Stravinsky a household name in Paris before World War I. After the war, the composer collaborated with Arthur Rubinstein to create the brilliantly virtuosic piano suite Three Movements from Pétrouchka, based on episodes from the ballet. Rubinstein recalled that when Stravinsky played the work, he made “it sound as I heard it by the orchestra more than as a piano piece.”

Program Notes
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos I.