Performance Thursday, May 3, 2012 | 8 PM

Evgeny Kissin

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Evgeny Kissin has earned a reputation as one of the most remarkable musicians of our time, and his Carnegie Hall performances are always extraordinary occasions. On this program, he opens with two sonatas by Beethoven and Barber, and concludes with the music of Chopin, a composer whose music put Kissin on the path to being a legend.


  • Evgeny Kissin, Piano


  • BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, "Moonlight"
  • BARBER Piano Sonata, Op. 26
  • CHOPIN Nocturne in A-flat Major, Op. 32, No. 2
  • CHOPIN Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58

  • Encores:
  • CHOPIN Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 67, No. 4
  • BEETHOVEN Six Variations on an Original Theme in D Major, Op. 76
  • PROKOFIEV March from The Love for Three Oranges


  • 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 Abbado, Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Dohnányi, Giulini, Levine, Maazel, Muti, and 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 K. 466 Piano Concerto 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 concertosin the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Moscow State Philharmonic under Dmitri Kitaenko.

    Mr. Kissin's first appearances outside Russia were in 1985 in Eastern Europe; his first tour of Japan took place in 1986; and in December 1988, he performed with Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker in a New Year's concert broadcast internationally. In 1990, Mr. Kissin made his first appearance at the BBC Proms in London and, in the same year, 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 tributes from around the world have been showered upon Mr. Kissin. He received the Crystal Prize of the Osaka Symphony Hall for the best performance of the year in 1986 (his first performance in Japan). He was a special guest at the 1992 Grammy Awards ceremony, broadcast live to an audience estimated at more than one billion, and three years later became Musical America's youngest Instrumentalist of the Year. In 1997, he received the prestigious Triumph Award for his outstanding contribution to Russia's culture-one of the highest cultural honors to be awarded in the Russian Republic-and he is the youngest-ever awardee.

    Mr. Kissin's recordings have also received numerous awards and accolades. Past awards have included the Edison Klassiek in the Netherlands, Grammy Awards, and the Diapason d'Or and Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Academie du Disque in France.

    Mr. Kissin's 2011-2012 season includes engagements in major cities across Australia and Asia, including Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taipei, followed by a tour of major European cities. He then embarks on an extensive tour of the Americas that includes recitals and orchestral appearances across the US and Canada, as well as summer performances throughout South America.

    More Info


Beethoven's Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, "Moonlight", Allegretto
Evgeny Kissin, Piano
RCA Victor

At a Glance

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, "Moonlight"

The "Moonlight" Sonata (so named not by the composer, but by a poet and critic) is so familiar today that it is easy to forget how innovative it was when Beethoven composed it in 1801. The first movement is not, as expected, a dramatic sonata-allegro form, but a slow meditation that begins a narrative journey through a lyrical second movement and on to a most dramatic and weighty finale.

SAMUEL BARBER  Piano Sonata, Op. 26

Barber's Piano Sonata was composed in fits and starts between 1947 and 1949, and was belatedly premiered by Vladimir Horowitz in January 1950. Though often vaunted as a great "American" sonata, in fact the work is truly international in style, owing much to the atonal modernism of Schoenberg and his circle in its use of 12-tone techniques.

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN  Nocturne in A-flat Major, Op. 32, No. 2

Like other works in this genre that made Chopin popular, the Nocturne Op. 32, No. 2, features a long, cantabile melody in an Italian operatic style paired with utterly pianistic flourishes and poignant chromatic inflections, all in a compact A-B-A form.

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN  Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58

Chopin's third and final effort in the sonata genre, Op. 58 is written in a traditional four-movement form. The composer proved to himself and his critics that he could successfully triumph in this prestigious genre. Composing a piano sonata inevitably conjured up the specter of Beethoven, and his contrapuntal writing harkened back to Bach.

Program Notes
Please note that if you purchase stage seating, please arrive one hour before concert time. There will be no late seating.
KPMG 124X46
Sponsored by KPMG LLP
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos I.