Pianist and conductor Vladimir Feltsman is one of the most versatile and constantly interesting musicians of our time. His vast repertoire encompasses music from the Baroque to 21st-century composers. He has appeared with all the major American orchestras and on the most prestigious musical stages and festivals worldwide.
In the 2012-13 season Mr. Feltsman appeared in the U.S. with the Seattle and Alabama Symphonies and in Chicago with Music of the Baroque. Abroad, he was soloist with the Orquesta de Sinfonica de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He gave recitals in numerous cities including New York and Palm Beach, and in the summer of 2013, continued his long association with the Ravinia and Aspen Festivals, where he appeared in recital. Mr. Feltsman returned to Moscow where he performed Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with Mikhail Pletnev; and to St. Petersburg, where he conducted the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and performed a recital.
In the 2013-14 season, Mr. Feltsman returned to Singapore where he appeared as soloist in the Grieg Concerto with the Singapore Symphony, and performed Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Lahti Orchestra in Finland. In the U.S. Feltsman gave numerous recitals including in the cities of Chicago, Portland, OR, and Kansas City. He made his 20th consecutive appearance in Aspen Music Festival.
Highlights of Vladimir Feltsman’s 2014-15 season include concerto appearances with the Russian State Symphony on tour in the U.S., as well as various recitals including those in Palm Beach, at Duke University, and at the Aspen Music Festival.
Mr. Feltsman expressed his lifelong devotion to the music of J.S. Bach in a cycle of concerts, which presented the major clavier works of the composer and spanned four consecutive seasons (1992-1996) at the 92nd Street Y in New York. His more recent project, Masterpieces of the Russian Underground, unfolded a panorama of Russian contemporary music through an unprecedented survey of piano and chamber works by fourteen different composers from Shostakovich to the present day and was presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in January 2003 with great success. Mr. Feltsman served as Artistic Director for this project as well as performing in most of the pieces presented during the three concert cycle. The programs included a number of world and North American premieres and were also presented in Portland, Oregon and in Tucson, Arizona at the University of Arizona. In the fall of 2006, Mr. Feltsman performed all of the Mozart Piano Sonatas in New York at the Mannes School of Music and NYU’s Tisch Center presented by New School on a specially built replica of the Walter fortepiano.
Born in Moscow in 1952, Mr. Feltsman debuted with the Moscow Philharmonic at age 11. In 1969, he entered the Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory of Music to study piano under the guidance of Professor Jacob Flier. He also studied conducting at both the Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Conservatories. In 1971, Mr. Feltsman won the Grand Prix at the Marguerite Long International Piano Competition in Paris; extensive touring throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe and Japan followed.
In 1979, because of his growing discontent with the restrictions on artistic freedom under the Soviet regime, Mr. Feltsman signaled his intention to emigrate by applying for an exit visa. In response, he was immediately banned from performing in public and his recordings were suppressed. After eight years of virtual artistic exile, he was finally granted permission to leave the Soviet Union. Upon his arrival in the United States in 1987, Mr. Feltsman was warmly greeted at the White House, where he performed his first recital in North America. That same year, his debut at Carnegie Hall established him as a major pianist on the American and international scene.
A dedicated educator of young musicians, Mr. Feltsman holds the Distinguished Chair of Professor of Piano at the State University of New York, New Paltz, and is a member of the piano faculty at the Mannes College of Music in New York City. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the International Festival-Institute PianoSummer at New Paltz, a three-week-long, intensive training program for advanced piano students that attracts major young talents from all over the world.
Mr. Feltsman’s extensive discography has been released on Sony Classical, Musical Heritage and Nimbus labels, includes more than 40 CDs and is expanding. He is in the process of recording all of the Schubert Sonatas and the works by Schumann for Nimbus. His most recent releases on that label are Beethoven’s “Diabelli Variations” and a Schnittke piano sonata, written for him. Feltsman’s discography includes eight albums of clavier works of J.S. Bach; recordings of Beethoven’s last five piano sonatas, and of the Moonlight, Pathetique and Appasionata Sonatas; solo piano works of Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Messiaen and Silvestrov; as well as concerti by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev. His most recent recording with orchestra is a release of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 with the Russian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Pletnev from a November 1992 performance at the Bolshoi Hall of Moscow Conservatory, alongside a recording of Rachmaninoff’s Elegy and Six Preludes made in November 2010. Since 2011 the Nimbus label has released twenty albums by Mr. Feltsman of works by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Scriabin, Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Haydn, Schnittke and Bach.
Mr. Feltsman is an American citizen. He lives with his wife in upstate New York.
"A lot of credit has to go to the piano soloist, Vladimir
Feltsman, who was phenomenally alert and dexterous, brilliant in color,
neat in shaping, exact at high speed and all the time utterly relaxed, as
if he could let his fingers just get along with the job by
"On Thursday night, there was only one owner of Benaroya Hall, and it was Vladimir Feltsman."
"Feltsman ignited the Rachmaninoff like a rocket. Taut, intense, practically airborne with energy, he attacked the keyboard in a hailstorm of notes of incredible clarity and focus. Usually a model of classical restraint at the keyboard, Feltsman looked as if he might levitate right off the piano bench during most of the third movement."
By Larry Johnson
"To hear one of the towering works of musical literature played
with this level of technical finish and interpretive insight was a rare
treat indeed. Vladimir Feltsman is clearly one of the supreme Bach
keyboard exponents of our time."
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