Pianist Andrey Gugnin has succeeded in both Britain and the U.S., recording for the Hyperion and Steinway & Sons labels. He has won awards both as a solo pianist and playing chamber music. Gugnin was born in Moscow on May 3, 1987. His father and one brother were mathematicians, and he showed some enthusiasm for that field, but his first piano teacher, Natalia Smirnova, recognized his talent. Gugnin attended the Moscow Conservatory, studying with Vera Gornostayeva and graduating in 2010. He went on for further studies at the Lake Como International Piano Academy in Switzerland. In the mid-2010s, Gugnin was a reliable prizewinner at the top levels of international piano competition. At the 2013 Beethoven International Piano Competition in Vienna, he took home second prize, followed by top prizes at the 2014 International Gina Bachauer Piano Competition, and the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition, where he swept the best overall concerto, best 19th or 20th century concerto, and best violin-and-piano sonata, among other awards. By that time, Gugnin was earning major concert bookings both in Russia and abroad. He has performed with the Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra in St. Petersburg under Valery Gergiev, as well as with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Utah Symphony. He is noted as a duo pianist, performing with Vadym Kholodenko, and as a chamber player with, among other musicians, violinist Tasmin Little, the Israel Camerata Jerusalem, and Camerata Salzburg. Even before graduating from the Moscow Conservatory, Gugnin was in demand as a recording artist. He recorded the Shostakovich concertos with the State Academic Chamber Orchestra of Russia as early as 2007. Gugnin recorded the album Pictures, featuring music by Ibert and Mussorgsky, for Steinway & Sons in 2016, moving to Piano Classics in 2018 for an album of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes in 2018, and to Hyperion for a recording of Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and two piano sonatas the following year.
© James Manheim /TiVo
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Classical - Released July 22, 2011 | Delos
Can an 18-year-old kid with red hair and freckles really play the piano concertos of Dmitry Shostakovich? Sure, why not? The Second Concerto was written by a composer with red hair and freckles for a 19-year-old kid who happened to be his son to show off his technique while the First Concerto was written by a 27- year-old composer who happened to be young, in love, and newly married to impress his blushing bride -- what, then, could be more appropriate for an 18-year-old Russian than to turn to Shostakovich's piano concertos? Andrey Gugnin, the freckled redhead in question, has a huge tone, a polished technique, and an apparently inexhaustible passion for playing the piano. His performances here are breathtaking in their virtuosity -- listen to his steely fingered double octaves in the First Concerto's Moderato -- and awe-inspiring in their audacity -- listen to his full-throttle tempo changes in the First Concerto's closing Allegro con brio. The Moscow Chamber Orchestra led by Constantine Orbelian accompanies Gugnin with skill and tact, going with him wherever he decides to go, and Delos catches the performances in its trademark big, bold, and deep sound. The addition of Nine Preludes from Shostakovich's 24 Preludes for piano, Op. 34, transcribed for chamber orchestra by Rudolf Barshai -- the violist turned conductor who has also orchestrated several of Shostakovich's string quartets -- is interesting enough for an occasional listening, but nowhere near on the same level as Gugnin's concerto performances. © TiVo