PianoGrigory Sokolov
© AMC VeronaArtist

„Sokolov verwandelt Zwischenspiele in Höhepunkte.“

Süddeutsche Zeitung
26 / 31

Biography

The unique, unrepeatable nature of music made in the present moment is central to understanding the expressive beauty and compelling honesty of Grigory Sokolov’s art. The Russian pianist’s poetic interpretations, which come to life with mystical intensity in performance, arise from profound knowledge of the works in his vast repertoire.

His recital programmes span everything from transcriptions of medieval sacred polyphony and keyboard works by Byrd, Couperin, Rameau, Froberger to the music of Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Brahms and landmark twentieth-century compositions by Prokofiev, Ravel, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Schoenberg and Stravinsky. He is widely recognized among pianophiles as one of today’s greatest pianists, an artist universally admired for his visionary insight, spellbinding spontaneity and uncompromising devotion to music.

Grigory Sokolov was born in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) on 18 April 1950 and started to play piano at the age of five. His prodigious talent was recognized in 1966 when at 16, he became the youngest musician ever to receive the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow.


 

While Grigory Sokolov undertook major concert tours to the United States and Japan in the 1970s, his artistry evolved and matured away from the international spotlight. His live recordings from Soviet times acquired near-mythical status in the West, evidence of an artist at once entirely individual, like no other, yet nourished by the rich soil of the Russian tradition of piano playing. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Sokolov began to appear at Europe’s leading concert halls and festivals. He performed extensively as concerto soloist with orchestras of the highest calibre, working with among others the New York Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Philharmonia London, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Munich Philharmonic, before deciding to focus exclusively on giving solo recitals. Sokolov performs around 70 concerts each season, immersing himself fully in a single programme and touring extensively throughout Europe.

Unlike many pianists, Sokolov takes the closest interest in the mechanism and set-up of the instruments he plays. He spends hours exploring their physical characteristics, consulting and collaborating with piano technicians to achieve his ideal requirements. The partnership between artist and instrument is critically important to the flow of Sokolov’s musical ideas. Critics regularly draw attention to his uncanny ability to articulate individual voices within a complex polyphonic texture and project seamless melodic lines.

Grigory Sokolov’s charismatic artistry holds the power to cultivate the concentration necessary for audiences to contemplate even the most familiar compositions from fresh perspectives.

Deutsche Grammophon has recently released Sokolov’s first new album for almost twenty years, a sensational recital recorded live at the 2008 Salzburg Festival.

SEASON 2016/2017

Quotes

“Im Trauermarsch,…. lotet Sokolov die dynamischen Grenzen des Flügels aus, im Fortefortissimo wie im äussersten Piano des lichteren Trios. Doch vergeblich: Wie ein Strudel reisst das Unisono-Delirium des Finalsatzes alles mit sich in die Nacht. Ovationen, sechs Zugaben.”

NZZ, Christian Wildhagen 07.03.2016

“Grigory Sokolov ist und bleibt der wesentlichste Pianist unserer Tage. Und wie er da mit den ersten Tönen und Girlanden, ohne die Verzierungen zu "überzieren", in Bachs Partita Nr. 1 in B-Dur, BWV 825, sofort die Schwerkraft des Steinway aufhebt, abhebt in sphärische Gefilde des Feinklangs, das hatte vom ersten Moment an magische Aura.”

Karl Harb, Salzburger Nachrichten 02.08.2015

“„Sokolov ist zurecht Kult, ein großer Musiker!“”

Clemens Goldberg, KulturRadio RBB, 21.04.15

“"Keine Frage, Grigory Sokolov hat die Macht, Menschen mit seiner Kunst zu verzaubern.“ „In den besten Momenten entlockt er dem Flügel einen aller Erdenschwere enthobenen Klang“”

Andreas Kunz und Mario-Felix Vogt, FonoForum, 02/2015

“„A magical encounter with a near-mythical creature””

Geoff Brown, The Times, 16.01.2015

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Discography

Mozart Rachmaninov Concertos& A Conversation That Never WasMar. 2017, Deutsche Grammophon, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Sokolov: Schubert / BeethovenRecital program based on two live recordings (2013) from Warsaw and SalzburgJan. 2016, Deutsche Grammophon (Universal Music), CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
The Salzburg RecitalLive recording of a recital at the Salzburg Festival 2008 with works by Mozart and ChopinJan. 2015, Deutsche Grammophon, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
SokolovComplete Recordings of works by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert a.o.Nov. 2011, Naive Classique, CD, Available on: Amazon