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234th Season

Maestro Grigory Sokolov


“ At heart he’s a colorist, an intimist, melancholic, with astonishing tonal nuances and an endless, much-trafficked variety of touches… the Preludes were the true revelation: profoundly original, magisterial, heartfelt. The audience sat through them in complete, rapt silence. Long lines breathed to an elastic rhythm. Preludes like the one in B flat minor galloped and raced. Those in F sharp and D flat produced moments of faraway, unearthly beauty. I can’t at the moment recall anything like them. Here was a great artist.”
-Berlin, April 2008 New York Times

“A recital by Grigory Sokolov is like a vision of a lost age of Russian pianism.”
-London, June 2007 The Guardian

“Piano cosmique”. Car tout comme Glenn Gould, mais dans des esthйtiques opposes, on peut dire: “Il y a Sokolov, et il y a les pianistes”.
—Paris, November 2007 Le Figaro

At the moment I do not see any other pianist in this class 
— Peter Lemken Berlin

“Sokolov is for many the greatest pianist alive today. … Sokolov is a pianistic Dostoyevsky, his music-making vast in scope, visionary and revelatory, squeezing out every last drop of meaning.”
—International Piano, Sept. 2006

In the 40 years since the 16-year-old Grigory Sokolov was awarded first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1966, the world has been blessed with what one American critic recently called "a kind of pianism, musicianship and artistry one thought had vanished forever". Championed at a young age by Emil Gilels and a prominent figure on the Russian music scene since his early teens, Sokolov has gained an almost mythical status amongst music-lovers and pianophiles throughout the world. He is considered by many today to be the world‘s greatest living pianist. Ever since his first major piano recital in Leningrad at the age of 12, Sokolov has amazed everyone again and again with the enormous breadth of his repertoire and his huge, almost physical musical strength. Using little pedal, and thus superior finger-work, he draws from the concert grand an immense variety of sounds; he has an unlimited palette of colours, a spontaneous imagination and a magical control of line. His interpretations are poetic and highly individual, and his rhythmic freedom and elasticity of phrase are perhaps unequalled among pianists today.

Those who are used to his art are most particularly attracted by the naturalness of his performing manner, which is part of his artistic credo. His playing betrays no influence from past masters, his style and approach are entirely his own, and are completely unique. Whatever Grigori Sokolov performs, be it a Pavane of William Byrd, a Bach Fantasia, Chopin Mazurka or a Prelude of Ravel, it suddenly sounds completely new. Even a familiar Beethoven Sonata can be rediscovered as a new piece. But all this magic has its earthly roots: Sokolov knows more about a Steinway than many piano technicians, and before he sits down to play a strange instrument, he first examines its inner mechanics, taking it to pieces. He is used to studying for many hours every day, and even on the day of a concert, practices on stage for hours, “getting to know” the piano. That he prefers his CDs to be recorded live is not surprising, since he likes to capture the sacred moments of a real, live concert and avoid the sterile atmosphere of a studio. The London Times wrote after a recent 2004 recital: "Sokolov‘s fingers can do anything required of them: the clarity of articulation is total; the power of a crescendo seemingly infinite; the sheer strength at the forging point of mental observation and physical realisation breathtaking".

Grigori Sokolov is a regular guest of the most prestigious concert halls and festivals of Europe. He has performed in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, Salzburg, Munich, Rome and New York, and worked with many of the world’s most prominent conductors including Myung-Whun Chung, Neeme Jarvi, Herbert Blomstedt, Valery Gergiev, Sakari Oramo, Trevor Pinnock, Andrew Litton, Vassilly Sinajskij, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Alexander Lazarev, John Storgards, Moshe Atzmon, Walter Weller, Evgeny Svetlanov. He has worked with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Munchner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Philharmonia, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Detroit Symphony. Sokolov has made a number of live recordings for the Melodya and Opus 111 labels. These include works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin, and Tchaikovsky, and most recently a critically acclaimed DVD of a 2002 Paris recital directed by Bruno Monsaingeon.

Mariinsky Theatre:
1 Theatre Square
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street
St. Petersburg

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