Evgeny Kissin

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Evgeny Igorevitch Kissin
Evgeny Kissin TA 2011.jpg
Evgeny Kissin (2011)
Born (1971-10-10) 10 October 1971 (age 47)
NationalityRussian, British, Israeli
Years active1981–present

Evgeny Igorevitch Kissin (Russian: Евге́ний И́горевич Ки́син, Yevgeniy Igorevich Kisin; born 10 October 1971) is a Russian classical pianist. He has been a British citizen since 2002[1] and an Israeli citizen since 2013.[2] He first came to international fame as a child prodigy. He has a wide repertoire and is especially known for his interpretations of the works of the Romantic era, particularly those of Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Franz Liszt. He is commonly viewed as a great successor of the Russian piano school because of his virtuosity and powerful key touch.


Early life and career (birth to 2000)[edit]

Kissin was born in Moscow. Recognized as a child prodigy at age six, he began piano studies at the Gnessin State Musical College in Moscow. At the school, he became a student of Anna Kantor, who remained Kissin's only piano teacher.[3]

At the age of ten, Kissin made his debut performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor with the Ulyanovsk Symphony Orchestra. The year after that, Kissin gave his first recital in Moscow. Kissin's talents were revealed to the international scene in 1984, at the age of twelve, when he played and recorded both of Chopin's piano concertos with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire. Kissin's first appearances outside of Russia were in 1985 in Eastern Europe, followed a year later by his first tour of Japan. In 1987, at age sixteen, he made his West European debut at the Berlin Festival as well as his United Kingdom debut, alongside conductor Valery Gergiev and violinists Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin, at The Lichfield Festival. In 1988 he toured Europe with the Moscow Virtuosi and Vladimir Spivakov and also made his London debut with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. In December of the same year he played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Herbert von Karajan at the Berlin Philharmonic's New Year's Eve Concert which was broadcast internationally, with the performance repeated the following year at the Salzburg Easter Festival. In September 1990, Kissin made his North American debut playing Chopin's two piano concertos with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta and the first piano recital in Carnegie Hall's centennial season. In 1997, he gave the first solo piano recital in the history of The Proms in London.[4][5]

Kissin makes regular recital tours of Europe, America and Asia. He has performed with nearly all the leading orchestras of the world, under such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Myung-Whun Chung, Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Carlo Maria Giulini, Mariss Jansons, Herbert von Karajan, Dmitri Kitaenko, Jan Latham-Koenig, James Levine, Sir Andrew Davis, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Georg Solti, Vladimir Spivakov, Yevgeny Svetlanov and Yuri Temirkanov. Kissin has also performed chamber music with Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, James Levine, Mischa Maisky, Thomas Quasthoff, Isaac Stern, Yuri Bashmet, and others.[citation needed]

Many musical awards and tributes from around the world have been bestowed upon Kissin. In 1987 he received the Crystal Prize of the Osaka Symphony Hall for the best performance of the year in 1986 (his first performance in Japan). In 1991 he received the Musician of the Year Prize from the Chigiana Academy of Music in Siena, Italy. He was special guest at the 1992 Grammy Awards Ceremony, broadcast live to an audience estimated at over one billion, and became Musical America's youngest Instrumentalist of the Year in 1995. In 1997 he received the prestigious Triumph Award for his outstanding contribution to Russia's culture, one of the highest cultural honors to be awarded in the Russian Republic, and again, the youngest-ever awardee. He was the first pianist to be invited to give a recital at the BBC Proms (1997), and, in the 2000 season, was the first concerto soloist ever to be invited to play in the Proms opening concert.

Later career (2001 to present)[edit]

In May 2001 Kissin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the Manhattan School of Music. In December 2003 in Moscow, he received the Shostakovich Award, one of Russia's highest musical honors. In June 2005 he was awarded an Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London. In March 2009 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Hong Kong.[6] Recent reviews have remarked on changes in Kissin's playing. His early reputation as a full-throttle virtuoso still pertains, but now in his forties, the pianist has provoked recent critics to comment on qualities of reflection and severity, even to the point of charges of monochromaticism with no sense of a bigger musical picture—yet they sense "a relaxed player delivering refinement and gravitas."[7] [8]

In addition to classical music, Kissin has given recitations of Yiddish and Russian poetry.[9] A CD compilation of Kissin's recitals from the contemporary Yiddish poetry was issued by the Forward Association in 2010.[10] In 2007 he became Honorary Patron of a professional chamber opera company, City Opera of Vancouver, led by conductor Charles Barber.[11][not in citation given][12] In 2013, Evgeny Kissin received an Artist's Award from the Jewish Children's Museum in Brooklyn and became a citizen of Israel in December. He is noted for "publicly championing the Israeli state".[13]

In Prague on March 10, 2017, Kissin married Karina Arzumanova, a childhood friend. [14] Thus, Kissin's family has grown with the addition of Arzumanova's three children described by her as: "Danya is now in Year 12 and doing his IB program, his favorite subjects are art, physics, mathematics and history. Nika is in Year 10 preparing for his IGCSE exams - he likes math and science subjects. Alyosha is in Year 6 - the last year of the Primary school. He likes math and sports most of all areas."[15] In 2018, Kissin's book was published under the title of Memoirs and Reflections.[16]

Awards and recognition[edit]


  1. ^ "Pianist Kissin protests against BBC anti-Israel bias". Thejc.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  2. ^ "I do not want to be spared of the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter". Tomgrossmedia.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  3. ^ Vadim Prokhorov (2 January 2004). "The prodigy". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2008.
  4. ^ Nicholas Wroe (4 March 2000). "An ordinary genius". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2008.
  5. ^ Jack, Adrian (11 August 1997). "PROMS Evgeny Kissin Royal Albert Hall, London/ Radio 3". The Independent. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  6. ^ a b "HKU Honorary Graduates – Graduate Detail". 4.hku.hk. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  7. ^ Ashley, Tim (23 March 2015). "Evgeny Kissin review – reflection and severity from former prodigy". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  8. ^ Clements, Andrew (11 June 2014). "Evgeny Kissin review – a monochrome sound and no bigger picture". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Kissin stuns with Jewish music, Yiddish recitation at Kennedy Center". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  10. ^ "On The Keys of Yiddish Poetry: Poems by Yiddish Poets Read by Evgeny Kissin". Yiddish.forward.com. Archived from the original on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  11. ^ Geoffrey Norris (31 July 2006). "Magical music in the mountains". Telegraph. Retrieved 20 April 2008.
  12. ^ "Who's Who Honorary Patron". Cityoperavancouver.com. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Evgeny Kissin is the world's most acclaimed classical pianist". The Economist. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  14. ^ "World- famous pianist Yevgeny Kissin marries Armenian from Prague". Armenia News. 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  15. ^ Karina Arzumanova. The English International School Prague. [1].
  16. ^ Evgeny Kissin. Memoirs and Reflections. Hardcover: 204 pages. Publisher: ForeEdge; First Edition edition (January 2, 2018), ISBN-10: 1512602604, ISBN-13: 978-1512602609
  17. ^ [2][dead link]
  18. ^ "Biography". Kissin.dk. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
  19. ^ "הפסנתרן יבגני קיסין בטקס קבלת פנים לד"ר לשם כבוד תש"ע". YouTube. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2017.

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