A protégé of Sviatoslav Richter, this Russian virtuoso’s 2011 Shostakovich recording was rated one of the “Best 50 recordings of all time” by BBC Music Magazine. His thoughtful programming and probing musicianship has made him a sought after pianist all over the world.
Rachmaninoff: Chopin Variations, Op. 22
Rachmaninoff: Corelli Variations, Op. 42
Debussy: Preludes (Book II)
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Alexander Melnikov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory under Lev Naumov. His most formative musical moments in Moscow include his early encounter with Svjatoslav Richter, who thereafter regularly invited him to festivals in Russia and France. He was awarded important prizes at such eminent competitions as the International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau (1989) and the Concours Musical Reine Elisabeth in Brussels (1991).
Known for his often unusual musical and programmatic decisions, Alexander Melnikov discovered a career-long interest in historically informed performance practice at an early age. His major influences in this field include Andreas Staier and Alexei Lubimov. Melnikov performs regularly with such distinguished period ensembles as the Freiburger Barockorchester, Concerto Köln, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and Orchestre des Champs-Élysées.
As a soloist, Alexander Melnikov has performed with orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Philadelphia Orchestra, NDR Sinfonieorchester, HR-Sinfonieorchester, Russian National Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic and the NHK Symphony, under conductors such as Mikhail Pletnev, Teodor Currentzis, Charles Dutoit, Paavo Järvi, Philippe Herreweghe and Valery Gergiev.
Together with Andreas Staier, Alexander Melnikov developed a program that sets excerpts from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (Andreas Staier, harpsichord) in musical dialogue with Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues (Alexander Melnikov, piano). Additionally, the artists recently recorded a unique all-Schubert program of four-hand pieces, which they have also performed in concert. Intensive chamber music collaborations with partners including cellists Alexander Rudin and Jean-Guihen Queyras, as well as the baritone Georg Nigl, also form an essential part of Melnikov’s work.
Alexander Melnikov’s association with the label harmonia mundi arose through his regular recital partner, violinist Isabelle Faust, and in 2010 their complete recording of the Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano won both a Gramophone Award and Germany’s ECHO Klassik Prize. This CD, which has become a touchstone recording for these works, was also nominated for a Grammy. Their most recent release features the Brahms sonatas for violin and piano.
Melnikov’s recording of the Preludes and Fugues by Shostakovich was awarded the BBC Music Magazine Award, Choc de Classica and the Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. In 2011, it was also named by the BBC Music Magazine as one of the “50 Greatest Recordings of All Time.” Additionally, his discography features works by Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich and Scriabin. Along with Isabelle Faust, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Pablo Heras-Casado and the Freiburger Barockorchester, Melnikov recorded a trilogy of CDs featuring the Schumann Concertos and Trios; the second installment, featuring the Piano Concerto and the Piano Trio No. 2, was released in September 2015.
The 2015/16 season sees the launch of Alexander Melnikov’s “The Man with Many Pianos” program, in which he performs a solo recital on three different instruments reflecting the periods in which the works were written, as well as a three-concert Shostakovich program with Cuarteto Casals. He continues his collaboration with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Freiburger Barockorchester and Tapiola Sinfonietta as its Artistic Partner. Further highlights include concerts with the Camerata Salzburg and Louis Langrée at the Mozartwoche in Salzburg, Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well as engagements in London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw aan’t Ij, Antwerp’s De Singel, Dijon’s Opéra and Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana.