Nikolai Lugansky is one of Russia's major pianists, especially known for his performances of Romantic music. He has won several of Russia's major national artistic awards. Lugansky was born in Moscow on April 26, 1972. His parents were scientists, but when they heard their son play a Beethoven sonata by ear, they signed him up for lessons with their neighbor, composer/pianist Sergei Ipatov. Lugansky went on to the Moscow Central Music School and then the Moscow Conservatory, studying with Tatiana Kestner, Tatiana Nikolaeva, and Sergei Dorensky; the latter became a mentor through Lugansky's postgraduate studies. Major prizes launched Lugansky's performing career successfully; he won the All-Union Competition in Tbilisi, Georgia, and the silver medal at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig, East Germany in 1988. The breakup of the Soviet Union and the East Bloc proved propitious for Lugansky, who in 1992 won the Best Pianist Award at the Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria. He began to record for the Melodiya label and also for Vanguard. In 1994, he was the top finisher at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, taking a silver medal (no gold was awarded). Lugansky has appeared as a concerto soloist with major orchestras in both Russia and the West, collaborating with such conductors as Valery Gergiev, Christoph Eschenbach, and Riccardo Chailly. An enthusiastic chamber music player, he has accompanied internationally renowned singers and instrumentalists, including Anna Netrebko, Yuri Bashmet, and Joshua Bell. Lugansky's recording catalog is large, encompassing releases on Challenge Classics, Naïve, Harmonia Mundi (with which he signed an exclusive contract in 2018), and many smaller labels. He has focused on core Russian repertory, especially Rachmaninov, as well as on the music of Chopin, but has also recorded works of Mozart, Beethoven, Grieg, and many other 19th century composers, as well as appearing on recordings as an accompanist. In 2020, for Harmonia Mundi, he recorded an album of solo keyboard music by César Franck. Lugansky is on the piano faculty at the Moscow Conservatory. He was named a People's Artist of Russia in 2013 and received the State Prize of the Russian Federation in 2019.
© James Manheim /TiVo
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Classical - Released October 16, 2015 | naïve
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Described by the prestigious British music magazine Gramophone as ‘the most innovative and transcendent interpreter of all’ for his work in Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, as well as being capable of a grand refinement and a ‘crystalline beauty’ (The Financial Times) in Mozart and Schubert, Nikolai Luganski is an extraordinarily deep and versatile pianist. His CD recital of sonatas for piano by Rachmaninov won him a Diapason d’or and an ECHO Klassik prize, whilst his recording of the concertos of Grieg and Prokofiev was awarded an ‘Editors Choice’ by Gramophone. His previous recordings were also greeted with many awards, including a second Diapason d’or, the BBC Music Magazine Award, and a prize from ECHO Klassik. Here, he performs one of the ultimate Schubert sonatas, the incredible and titanic Sonata in C minor, which was written in the summer of 1828, a few months before the death of the composer. We hear – and Luganski emphasizes – the resonant impact of the last sonatas by Beethoven, by which Schubert was so fed and freed. The symphonic dimensions of this sonatas require an interpreter with strong shoulders, therefore: enter Luganski. Shortly before this work, Schubert composed his second collection, Impromptus, which hit somewhere between poetry and sombre savagery, as the Russian interpreter endorses here.