"Melnikov’s playing has wonderful colour and imagination ... His pianissimi are astonishing,
with long, meticulously nuanced passages often remaining very, very quiet, while, in the
sculpted fugues, the intensification of volume runs to a purposeful plan ... Everything is
testament to reflection and skill, yet the pianist is not lecturing, but laughing, dreaming,
lamenting and dancing."
JAN BRACHMANN – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
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 historical performance practice at an early age. His major influences in this field include Andreas Staier and Alexei Lubimov, with whom he collaborated on numerous projects. Melnikov performs regularly with such distinguished period ensembles as the Freiburger Barockorchester, Concerto Köln, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and Orchestre des Champs-Élysées.
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). The artists have also recently added a unique all-Schubert program of four-hand pieces to their repertoire. 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.
Alexander Melnikov’s recording of the complete 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, Melnikov’s discography features works by Brahms, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin; his recording of the Shostakovich piano concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Teodor Currentzis was also met with critical acclaim.
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.
In the 2014/15 season, Alexander Melnikov begins an artistic partnership with the Tapiola Sinfonietta over three seasons. In addition to concerts with the Trondheim Symfoniorkester under Krzysztof Urbanski, NDR-Sinfonieorchester under Pablo Heras-Casado and ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien under Teodor Currentzis, he continues his collaborations with such ensembles as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Freiburger Barockorchester.
Further highlights of the season include recitals with Jean-Guihen Queyras to coincide with the release of their recording of the Beethoven sonatas, duo recitals in the United States and Europe with Isabelle Faust, as well as a trio tour with both partners in Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy. Melnikov’s solo engagements will also take him to such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, Berlin’s Konzerthaus and Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan as well as Ishibashi Memorial Hall.
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