Mikhail Pletnev
Mikhail Vasilievich Pletnev ( - Mikhail Vasil'evič Pletnëv; born 14 April 1957) is a Russian
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

A pianist is a musician who plays the piano. A professional pianist can perform solo pieces, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers, solo instrumentalists, or other performers.-Choice of genres:...

, conductor
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

, and composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...


Life and career

Pletnev was born into a very musical family in Arkhangelsk
Arkhangelsk , formerly known as Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina River near its exit into the White Sea in the north of European Russia. The city spreads for over along the banks of the river...

, then part of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

; his father played and taught the bayan
Bayan (accordion)
The bayan is a type of chromatic button accordion developed in Russia in the early 20th century and named after 11th-century bard Boyan.-Characteristics:The bayan differs from western chromatic button accordions in some details of construction:...

, and his mother the piano. He entered the Central School of Music at the age of 13 and, in 1974, entered the Moscow Conservatory
Moscow Conservatory
The Moscow Conservatory is a higher musical education institution in Moscow, and the second oldest conservatory in Russia after St. Petersburg Conservatory. Along with the St...

, under the instruction of Yakov Flier
Yakov Flier
Yakov Vladimirovich Flier was a Russian concert pianist and teacher.Flier was born in Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Russia. He studied piano at the Moscow Conservatory with Konstantin Igumnov. By the 1930s he had become one of the most prominent Russian concert pianists...

 and Lev Vlasenko
Lev Vlasenko
World-renowned international concert pianist and teacher, Lev Vlassenko born in Tbilisi, 1928; died in Brisbane, 1996) He won the First Prize in the 1956 Franz Liszt Competition and was second to Van Cliburn at the I-st Tchaikovsky Competition two years later.In 1991 he was decorated a People's...

. At age 21, he won the Gold Medal at the VI International Tchaikovsky Competition
International Tchaikovsky Competition
The International Tchaikovsky Competition is a classical music competition held every four years in Moscow, Russia for pianists, violinists, and cellists between 16 and 30 years of age, and singers between 19 and 32 years of age...

  in 1978, which earned him international recognition and drew great attention worldwide. The following year he made his debut in the United States. He also taught at the Moscow Conservatory.

In 1988, he was invited to perform at the superpower conference in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

  At this conference, he met and befriended Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

. Because of this friendship, he gained the support to found two years later the Russian National Orchestra
Russian National Orchestra
The Russian National Orchestra premiered in Moscow in 1990.It was the first Russian orchestra to perform at the Apostolic Palace, Vatican and in Israel....

 in 1990, the first non-government-supported orchestra in Russia since 1917, and was its first principal conductor. He and the orchestra made their recording debut on Virgin Classics, releasing Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony and Marche Slave in 1991. He stepped down as Principal Conductor in the late 1990s, but remained the orchestra's artistic director. Mikhail Pletnev has been named first guest conductor of the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
The Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana is a Swiss orchestra based in Lugano. The orchestra's primary concert venue is the Auditorio RSI....

 in Lugano
Lugano is a city of inhabitants in the city proper and a total of over 145,000 people in the agglomeration/city region, in the south of Switzerland, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, which borders Italy...

, Switzerland from 2008 to 2010.

Pletnev has had an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon
Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical record label which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram. It is now part of Universal Music Group since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label...

 since 1996. His recordings are mostly of Russian works, though he has recently recorded the complete Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

 symphonies. The first works he recorded were for orchestra, including Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's The Sleeping Beauty, his Pathetique Symphony
Symphony No. 6 (Tchaikovsky)
The Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, Pathétique is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's final completed symphony, written between February and the end of August 1893. The composer led the first performance in Saint Petersburg on 16/28 October of that year, nine days before his death...

and Manfred Symphony
Manfred Symphony
The Manfred Symphony in B minor, Op. 58, is a programmatic symphony composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky between May and September 1885. It is based on the poem "Manfred" written by Lord Byron in 1817...

, and Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music...

's Second
Symphony No. 2 (Rachmaninoff)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 is a music piece by Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, created in 1906–07. The premiere was conducted by the composer himself in St. Petersburg on 8 February 1908. Its duration is approximately 60 minutes when performed uncut; cut performances can be as...

 and Third
Symphony No. 3 (Rachmaninoff)
Sergei Rachmaninoff composed his Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44 between 1935 and 1936. The Third Symphony is considered a transitional work in Rachmaninoff's output. In melodic outline and rhythm it is his most expressively Russian symphony, particularly in the dance rhythms of the finale...

 Symphonies. His piano repertoire is extensive and includes The Seasons
The Seasons (Tchaikovsky)
The Seasons, Op. 37a is a set of twelve short character pieces for solo piano by the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Each piece is the characteristic of a different month of the year in the northern hemisphere. The work is also sometimes heard in orchestral and other arrangements by...

, many Scarlatti
Domenico Scarlatti
Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti was an Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Portuguese and Spanish royal families. He is classified as a Baroque composer chronologically, although his music was influential in the development of the Classical style...

 sonatas, Pictures at an Exhibition
Pictures at an Exhibition
Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite in ten movements composed for piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874.The suite is Mussorgsky's most famous piano composition, and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists...

as well as his own transcriptions of suites from The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St...

and The Sleeping Beauty.

Pletnev, who lives in Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, was questioned on 6 July 2010 for allegedly procuring under-age boys for sexual purposes and one instance of alleged rape of a 14-year-old male in Pattaya
Pattaya is a city in Thailand, located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 165 km southeast of Bangkok located within but not part of Amphoe Bang Lamung in the province of Chonburi....

. Pletnev, who was released on bail, denied the charges. The pianist cancelled appearances at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh International Festival
The Edinburgh International Festival is a festival of performing arts that takes place in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, over three weeks from around the middle of August. By invitation from the Festival Director, the International Festival brings top class performers of music , theatre, opera...

 in order to prepare his defence, but the charges were dropped on 28 September, and he resumed his career two months later.

In February 2011 Pletnev conducted Staatskapelle Dresden in A German Requiem by Brahms in memoriam of the firestorm on Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 in the Semperoper
The Semperoper is the opera house of the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden and the concert hall of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden . It is located near the Elbe River in the historic center of Dresden, Germany.The opera house was originally built by the architect Gottfried Semper in 1841...


Awards and recognitions

  • 1978: Gold Medal and First Prize Tchaikovsky Competition Moscow
  • 1995: State Prize First Class of the Russian Federation by President Boris Yeltsin
    Boris Yeltsin
    Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

  • 1999: Echo Klassik (Skrjabin)
  • 2001: Echo Klassik (Live at Carnegie Hall)
  • 2002: State Prize First Class of the Russian Federation by President Vladimir Putin
    Vladimir Putin
    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

  • 2005: Grammy Awards of 2005
    Grammy Awards of 2005
    The 47th Grammy Awards were held on February 13, 2005 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. They were hosted by Queen Latifah , and televised in the United States by CBS. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the previous year...

     Best Chamber Music Performance with Martha Argerich
    Martha Argerich
    Martha Argerich is an Argentine pianist.-Early life:Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and started playing the piano at age three...

  • 2005: European Conductor's Prize
  • 2005: Triumph, Prize by the independent Russian foundation Triumph-Nowy-Wek
  • 2006: State Prize First Class of the Russian Federation for the year 2005 by President Vladimir Putin
    Vladimir Putin
    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

Notable compositions

  • 1978: Quintet for Piano, Flute, Violin, Viola and cello
  • 1979: "Triptych" for Symphony Orchestra
  • 1988: Classical Symphony
  • 1997: Viola Concerto
  • 2000: Variations on a theme by Rachmaninov
  • 2000: Adagio for five Double basses
  • 2006: Cello sonata
  • 2006: Fantasia Elvetica (First performance: December 09 2006 Orchestra Musikkollegium Winterthur Switzerland; Mikhail Pletnev, Conductor; Sascha und Mischa Manz)
  • 2009: Jazz suite


  • 1976: Rodion Konstantinovich Shchedrin: 2 Concert Pieces from „Anna Karenina“ (Transcription for piano)
  • 2005: Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev: Suite from Cinderella op. 87 (Transcription for two pianos)

External links


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