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BIOGRAPHY

Concerto highlights in Nikolai Lugansky’s 2013/14 season include his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra (Gianandrea Noseda), and returns to the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Jiří Bělohlávek), the Philharmonia Orchestra (Pablo Heras-Casado), St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (Yuri Temirkanov) and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

In recital and chamber performances, Lugansky makes his debut at the Berlin Konzerthaus, and performs at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire and the Great Hall of the St Petersburg Philharmonia, Chicago’s Symphony Center, Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and in the International Piano Series at the Queen Elizabeth Hall; his chamber music collaborations include performances with Vadim Repin, Mischa Maisky and Alexander Kniazev.

An acclaimed recording artist, Nikolai Lugansky records exclusively for the Naïve-Ambroisie label. His recording of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Deutsches-Symphonie Orchester Berlin and Kent Nagano is released in autumn 2013. This release follows on from his first two acclaimed solo recordings - of Liszt and Rachmaninov - for the label; the latter being awarded the “Solo Recording of the Year (20th/21st Century Music)” plaudit at the 2013 Echo Klassik Awards.

Nikolai Lugansky was given the honour “People’s Artist of Russia” in April 2013.

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REVIEWS

"Nikolai Lugansky refreshes, rejuvenates and, in terms of interpretation, replenishes each work with a whole range of perceptive refinements… In all sorts of little details theirs is a performance that indicates both care and sensitivity to style and scale… Then there is Lugansky’s pianism. And what a marvel that is. He can run the gamut of touch from the most limpid, silken of textures to the towering chords of the finale’s peroration, with a consistently astute ear for perspective in terms of colour, dynamics and pace. In the entirely different world of Prokofiev’s Third Concerto he is equally in complete command of the idiom... Lugansky is a pianist who makes the music, its wit, its bravura and its piquant lyricism come vividly alive... the arresting aspect of this interpretation is that it goes beyond and deeper than the mere notes, quantities of them though there are. Far from just skittering over the keys, Lugansky invests the music with real character, lending the musical ideas weight and physicality as well as sparkle. This is a must-have CD." (Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph, January 2014)

“His performance blazes with conviction, a propulsion and energy finely complemented with an innate sense of poetry.” (Bryce Morrison, Gramophone, January 2014)

“There was a naturalness about Lugansky’s technically impeccable playing which made the music stand out, not the performer." (Stella Lorenz, BBC Music Magazine, December 2013)

“The pianist's debut with the orchestra, playing Prokofiev's Concerto No 3, was sensational, even for an artist who has set the bar so high in Russian repertoire. In a work that resembles a virtuoso obstacle course, he was technically dazzling, every note clear and even. And there was constant depth underpinning it all; no passage was so driven that Lugansky could not find time for a tiny but meaningful nuance whenever Prokofiev's music arched an eyebrow or, more rarely, stifled a sob.” (Erica Jeal, The Guardian, September 2013)

“Highlight of the concert came before the interval, when Nikolai Lugansky played a breathtakingly no-nonsense account of Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto. It's hard to imagine the spectral opening better phrased, nor the ensuing storm of virtuosity more coolly articulated – not a single one of the dense multitude of notes seemed extraneous.” (Kate Molleson, The Guardian, August 2013)

“Nikolai Lugansky played with crystalline beauty as the soloist in Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3.” (Richard Fairman, The Financial Times, August 2013)

“Nikolai Lugansky in a compact, classical, yet thrillingly virtuosic performance of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto. Oundjian’s pacing and Lugansky’s legerdemain made the first movement fleet-footed, fastidious; and the Intermezzo and Finale both impetuous and skin-tight of control in its multivoiced fingerwork, audacity and wit.” (Hilary Finch, The Times, August 2013)

“Since his emergence as a young tiger on the international circuit twenty years ago, this Russian pianist’s artistry has mellowed, but he remains one of the last true representatives of Soviet pianism’s golden age. In his hands, sensitively abetted by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the direction of Peter Oundjian, Rach Three came over with its lyrical tenderness gloriously intact; by restraining its theatricality and avoiding the temptation to cheesiness, Lugansky gave it a memorable nobility.” (Michael Church, The Independent, August 2013)

“Lugansky's ability to pick out the melodic line, to nurture and shape it within a cloud of accompanying notes, was extraordinary… [His] encore, Medtner's Canzona Serenata, showed another, more wistful side to his playing, but still highlighted that amazing gift for sustaining a melody.” (Erica Jeal, The Guardian, April 2013)

“This is very exciting playing in two extremely taxing works… In the outer movements, Lugansky's playing suggests wild abandon but in fact derives from tremendously disciplined, focused attention to Rachmaninov's swathes of notes and pulverising rhythms. Lugansky produces plenty of fire and brimstone, but also creates a tender and refined sound in the slow movement… I rate this as the best recording of this work… his playing has a clarity and an utterly convincing sense of where every passage fits into the grand design. A really impressive disc.” (Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine, January 2013)

“This is Liszt playing of enormous power and transcendental technical command. We are in the super-pianist league and old Liszt would surely have nodded his approval…the thunderous bass is clear and properly threatening. As a recital this is among the finest”. (Pianist Magazine, February-March 2012)

“You will not easily locate a more poetic view of three of [Liszt’s] Transcendental Etudes, luminous and delectably light-fingered in ‘Feux follets’, menacing in the sinister snowscape of ‘Chasse-neige’ and masterly in every fierce demand in No 10 in F minor...” (Gramophone, January 2012)

“He is not afraid to build his programme out of well known pieces, but the result is poetry of delicate virtuosity and powerful narrative. Whether he is evoking the hallucinogenic paintings of mysterious landscapes (in Chasse-neige and Feux follets), conjuring mystical Italy in Sposalizio, or singing La mort d’Isolde, Nikolai Lugansky has entered the inner circle of great Lisztians.” (Le Monde, October 2011)

“The brilliant Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky recorded the complete Chopin études, dazzlingly, for his second album on Erato, released in 2000. Mr. Lugansky’s account is not just note perfect and incisive but also colorful and exciting.” (The New York Times, August 2011)