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The son of an engineer and a pianist, Evgeny Kissin was born in Moscow in 1971 and began playing piano pieces by ear at the age of two. He started his training at the Gnessin Music School in his hometown in 1977; Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who instructed him then, remained his only teacher. Kissin showed his extraordinary talent at an early age. He was only ten years old when he made his soloist debut in a symphony concert; he gave his first solo recital in the following year. Evgeny Kissin was invited in 1988 to audition for Herbert von Karajan, who immediately engaged him for the Berlin Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve Concert. He made his U.S. debut in 1990 with Chopin’s piano concertos, which he performed with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. Since then, Evgeny Kissin, who currently holds British and Israeli citizenship, has worked with the leading orchestras and conductors. In addition to these appearances and his solo recitals, he also gives chamber concerts: as, for example, last season with violinist Itzhak Perlman. Since 2002 Kissin has additionally performed recitations of Yiddish poetry. His recordings have garnered such awards as the Diapason d’or, the Grand Prix du Disque, and the Edison Prize, and his accounts of Prokofiev’s Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 won a Grammy Award (2009). His most recent releases include an album of Beethoven sonatas and, in June 2019, a collection of piano quartets and quintets by Mozart, Fauré, Shostakovich, and Dvořák with the Emerson String Quartet. Evgeny Kissin holds honorary doctorates from the Manhattan School of Music and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music (2005); and has received the Shostakovich Prize (2003), the Karajan Prize (2005), and the Premio Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (2007).
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 30 August 1993 in the First Piano Concerto of Sergei Prokofiev, with Claudio Abbado conducting the Berlin Philharmonic.