Alexander Melnikov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory under Lev Naumov. His most formative musical moments in Moscow include an early encounter with Svjatoslav Richter, who thereafter regularly invited him to festivals in Russia and France. He was awarded important prizes at eminent competitions such 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 developed his career long interest in historically informed performance practice early on. His major influences in this field include Andreas Staier and Alexei Lubimov. Melnikov performs regularly with distinguished period ensembles including the Freiburger Barockorchester, Musica Aeterna and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.
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, Orchestre des Champs-Élysées and the NHK Symphony, under conductors such as Mikhail Pletnev, Teodor Currentzis, Charles Dutoit, Paavo Järvi 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. An essential part of Melnikov’s work is intensive chamber music collaboration with partners including cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.
Alexander Melnikov’s association wth 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 a Gramophone Award. This album, which has become a landmark 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, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Scriabin. Joined by Isabelle Faust, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Pablo Heras-Casado and the Freiburger Barockorchester, Melnikov recorded a trilogy of albums featuring the Schumann Concertos and Trios; the second installment, featuring the Piano Concerto and the Piano Trio No. 2, was released in September 2015. Other releases include a 2016 recording featuring works of Prokofiev, a recording released in June 2017 with Chausson and Franck repertoire and his most recent release, Four Pieces, Four Pianos, which was released in February 2018 and has since been highly acclaimed by critics.
In the 2019/20 season Alexander Melnikov will tour his project “Many Pianos”, where he performs a solo recital on different instruments reflecting the periods in which the works were written, and which will take him to Tokyo, Vienna and Schwetzingen, among others. In addition to concerts with Ensemble Resonanz, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Basel Symphony Orchestra, he continues his close collaboration with Tapiola Sinfonietta.
Further highlights include performances in the Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie Berlin, in Wigmore Hall, at the Beethoven Week in Bonn, in São Paulo, as well as concert tours with Isabelle Faust to North America and Asia.
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Rachmaninov, Etudes-tableaux, Op. 39