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 March 6, 2020 | harmonia mundi
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
After recording Rachmaninov's 24 Preludes and a recital dedicated to Claude Debussy for his new publisher harmonia mundi, pianist Nikolai Lugansky extends his repertoire even further with a monographic album dedicated solely to César Franck. The list of piano works by this organ-playing composer was not very extensive, so Lugansky chose to perform the Prelude, Fugue and Variation Op. 18, and theChorale No. 2 , on the piano, both in the same key. Written specifically for the piano, the two triptychs Prélude, Choral et Fugue and Prélude, Aria et Final are inspired by both Bach and Liszt and had an obvious influence on later French music, particularly with Albéric Magnard (Symphony No. 3) and all the way up to Francis Poulenc (Concerto for organ ). Nikolai Lugansky constructs these pieces like a builder, with unfailing solidity. He brings out the architecture and the projections with power and fullness, while looking for what he calls "a French sound, a beauty of sonority and refined sound without lourdeur". © François Hudry/Qobuz