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Denis Matsuev, Piano

Sunday, October 20, 2019 2 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Denis Matsuev
It takes a pianist with “epic technique … superhuman speed, power, and agility” (The Boston Globe) to successfully embrace Liszt’s flash and Stravinsky’s high-octane excitement. Denis Matsuev is just the artist. Liszt’s Sonata unfolds in one massive movement with a deliriously virtuosic central section and whispering finale, while his Mephisto Waltz No. 1 is a rollicking showpiece. Stravinsky’s piano transcriptions of the “Russian Dance,” “Pétrouchka’s Room,” and “Shrovetide Fair” from his great ballet are stunning showpieces that also make daunting technical demands of the performer.


Denis Matsuev, Piano


LISZT Piano Sonata in B Minor

LISZT Mephisto Waltz No. 1

TCHAIKOVSKY Dumka in C Minor, Op. 59

STRAVINSKY Three Movements from Pétrouchka

SCRIABIN Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 53

LIADOV A Musical Snuffbox, Op. 32

RACHMANINOFF Etude-tableaux in A Minor, Op. 39, No. 2

SIBELIUS Etude (Leggiero) from 13 Pieces for Piano, Op. 76, No. 2

GRIEG "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Peer Gynt (transcr. Grigory Ginzburg)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission.

In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.

At a Glance

LISZT  Piano Sonata in B Minor

A key figure of the Romantic era, Liszt was a musical visionary who prefigured many of the major compositional developments of the 20th century. This massive single-movement sonata illustrates the technique of thematic transformation that he also employed in his many symphonic poems.


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.


TCHAIKOVSKY  Dumka in C Minor, Op. 59

Passion and drama are seldom far from the surface in Tchaikovsky’s music. A short character piece written toward the end of the composer’s life, Dumka centers on impassioned climaxes that are surrounded and set off by music of a tenderly ruminative and somewhat passive nature.


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 this brilliantly virtuosic piano suite based on episodes from the ballet.


Denis Matsuev

Since his triumph at the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1998, Denis Matsuev has become a virtuoso in the Russian pianistic tradition and established himself as one of the most prominent pianists of his generation.

Mr. Matsuev regularly performs with the New York and Munich ...

Since his triumph at the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1998, Denis Matsuev has become a virtuoso in the Russian pianistic tradition and established himself as one of the most prominent pianists of his generation.

Mr. Matsuev regularly performs with the New York and Munich philharmonics; the Chicago, London, Pittsburgh, and Bavarian Radio symphony orchestras; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Berliner Philharmoniker; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Filarmonica della Scala; and Lucerne Festival Orchestra. As Capell-Virtuosen of the Staatskapelle Dresden during the 2017–2018 season, he performed in Dresden and on tour in concerts conducted by Christian Thielemann. Mr. Matsuev also performs regularly with legendary Russian orchestras, including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariinsky Orchestra, and Russian National Orchestra. He is an artist-in-residence at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal during the 2019–2020 season.

As a recitalist, Mr. Matsuev can be heard in the world’s great concert halls, including his annual appearance at Carnegie Hall. His extensive discography includes highly acclaimed recital recordings, as well as concerto recordings with the New York Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and cyclical recordings of the great Russian concertos with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev.

As one of Russia’s preeminent musicians and prominent public figures, Mr. Matsuev is a member of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art. He was also Russia’s official ambassador for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which he opened with a globally broadcast performance in Moscow’s Red Square. Mr. Matsuev is the artistic director of Switzerland’s Sergei Rachmaninoff Foundation, and he curates and directs his own prestigious concert series, Denis Matsuev Invites, at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. He also served as the piano jury chair of the 2019 International Tchaikovsky Competition.

Since 2008, Mr. Matsuev has presided over New Names, a charitable foundation that selects and supports talented young Russian musicians, artists, and poets in the achievement of their professional goals. More than 10,000 children have received monetary grants and/or the opportunity to perform on professional stages through the foundation. Mr. Matsuev was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for his work with New Names.

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