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.
Highlights of Mr. Feltsman’s recent seasons were concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Montevideo, Mexico City, and Naples FL, as well as at the Aspen, Ravinia, and Verbier Festivals. He also gave a performance with the Mozart Orchestra of New York, Gerard Schwarz, conducting, a performance in Washington, DC as part of Feltsman’s “Russian Experiment” project exploring the music written by Russian non-conformist composers of the 20th Century, with Boca del Rio Philharmonic, Jorge Mester, conducting, and recitals in New York City and at the University of California, Davis.
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 concerts cycle. The programs included a number of world and North American premieres and were also presented in Portland, Oregon and at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In the fall of 2006, Mr. Feltsman performed all of the Mozart Piano Sonatas in New York at 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 this.
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 Mannes School 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. In 2014 Mr. Feltsman and his wife Haewon established “Feltsman Piano Foundation” that assists young, gifted pianists from all over the world with their studies.
Mr. Feltsman’s extensive discography has been released on the Melodiya, Sony Classical, Musical Heritage and Nimbus labels; it includes more than 60 CDs and is expanding. He recently completed a recording of all piano sonatas and other major works by Schubert. Feltsman’s discography includes all major clavier works of J.S. Bach; recordings of Beethoven’s last five piano sonatas, the Moonlight, Pathetique, Appassionata Sonatas and piano Variations; eight sonatas of Haydn; major works of Chopin, Schumann and Brahms; a series of “tribute” albums – Tribute to Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Silvestrov and Forgotten Russians; as well as concerti by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev.
In 2019 Mr. Feltsman’s book “Piano Lessons” was published. It addresses crucially important topics for any performing musician, a collection of the liner notes from major works in the repertoire, and a study of “Well Tempered Clavier” by Bach.
Mr. Feltsman is an American citizen and lives with his wife Haewon in upstate New York.
New York Times
Rachmaninoff - Paganini Variations
Kirov Orchestra, Valery Gergiev conducting
"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 themselves."
"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."