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Denis Matsuev

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
You shouldn’t dare miss a Denis Matsuev recital. Audiences have gone wide-eyed for his “epic technique … superhuman speed, power, and agility” (The Boston Globe). Don’t miss this great “virtuoso in the tradition of Gilels, Richter, and Horowitz” (Los Angeles Times) when he returns to Carnegie Hall.


Denis Matsuev, Piano


BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110

SCHUMANN Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13

LISZT Mephisto Waltz No. 1, S. 514

TCHAIKOVSKY Méditation, Op. 72, No. 5

PROKOFIEV Sonata No. 7


LIADOV A Musical Snuffbox, Op. 32

SIBELIUS Etude in A Minor, Op. 76, No. 2 from Thirteen Pieces

RACHMANINOFF Étude-tableau in A Minor, Op. 39, No. 2

MATSUEV Jazz Improvisation

Event Duration

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

At a Glance

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110

One of Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas, the A-flat–Major Sonata is full of strong and unpredictable contrasts. Throughout the work, one often has the sense that the composer is feeling his way from one idea to the next, the notes forming themselves soundlessly under his fingers, detached from their auditory moorings.

ROBERT SCHUMANN  Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 (with posthumous etudes)

Like many of Schumann’s solo piano works of the 1830s, the Symphonic Etudes contrast the personalities of Schumann’s fictitious alter egos: the stormy, impulsive Florestan and the dreamy, reflective Eusebius. Although the composer was engaged to Clara Wieck when the Symphonic Etudes came to fruition in 1837, they were originally intended to memorialize his first love, a young pianist named Ernestine von Fricken.

FRANZ LISZT  Mephisto Waltz No. 1 (Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke), S. 514

Like much of the music Liszt wrote to show off his transcendental virtuosity at the keyboard, his four Mephisto Waltzes are equal parts inspiration and unabashed showmanship. The first depicts a boisterous wedding feast at a village inn at which Mephistopheles steals the show.

PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY  Méditation, Op. 72, No. 5

Although Tchaikovsky wasn’t considered a pianist of the first rank, his concertos and solo works for the instrument are both technically and musically challenging. The short but emotionally potent character piece Méditation was written near the end of the composer’s life, shortly after he wrote the death-haunted “Pathétique” Symphony. 

SERGEI PROKOFIEV  Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83

Prokofiev completed his powerful B-flat–Major Sonata in the Soviet Union during some of the darkest days of World War II. Alternatively percussive and tender, the music expresses what pianist Sviatoslav Richter called “the anxiously threatening atmosphere of a world that has lost its balance.”


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. ...

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 Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Mariinsky Orchestra. Mr. Matsuev also collaborates with the world's most prominent conductors, including Valery Gergiev, Mariss Jansons, Myung-whun Chung, Zubin Mehta, and Yuri Temirkanov.

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 SettembreMusica 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 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 Classic Festival in France, and in 2012, he became the artistic director of the first Astana Piano Passion festival and competition. In addition, Mr. Matsuev is the president of the Russian charitable foundation New Names, and will serve as chairman and artistic director of the organizing committee for the Grand Piano International Competition for Young Pianists in Moscow this year.

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 prestigious Shostakovich Prize and the State Prize of the Russian Federation in Literature and Arts. He is a People's Artist of Russia and a member of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art, and was recently appointed head of the Public Council under the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. In February 2014, Mr. Matsuev performed at the closing ceremony of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, and in April 2014, he was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. He will serve as Russia's FIFA World Cup Ambassador in 2018.

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