Evgeny Kissin was born in Moscow in October 1971 and began to play by ear and improvise on the piano at the age of two. At six years old, he entered a special school for gifted children, the Moscow Gnessin School of Music, where he was a student of Anna Pavlovna Kantor, who has remained his only teacher. At the age of ten, he made his concerto debut playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K. 466 and gave his first solo recital in Moscow one year later. He came to international attention in March 1984 when, at the age of twelve, he performed Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1 and 2 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with the Moscow State Philharmonic under Dmitri Kitaenko. This concert was recorded live by Melodia, and a two-LP album was released the following year. During the next two years, several Kissin performances in Moscow were recorded live and five more LPs were released by Melodia.
Kissin’s musicality, the depth and poetic quality of his interpretations, and his extraordinary virtuosity have placed him at the forefront of the world’s new generation of young pianists. He is in demand the world over, and has appeared with many great conductors, including Abbado, Ashkenazy, Barenboim, Dohnanyi, Giulini, Levine, Maazel, Muti, Ozawa, Svetlanov and Temirkanov, as well as all the world’s major orchestras. He makes regular recital tours to the United States, Japan and throughout Europe.
Musical awards and tributes from around the world have been showered upon Kissin. In 1987 he received the Crystal Prize of the Osaka Symphony Hall for the best performance of the year 1986 (which was 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. 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 . He was recently awarded the 2005 Herbert von Karajan Music Prize.
Kissin has an impressive list of recordings, and his versions of Chopin, Schubert and Shumann among others have received numerous awards and accolades, including the Edison Klassiek in The Netherlands and the Diapason d’Or and the Grande Prix of La Nouvelle Academie du Disque in France, as well as awards from music magazines throughout the world. In 2002 and 2006 Kissin was named Echo Klassik Soloist of the Year.