A Biographical Timeline

“. . . Pletnev’s pianistic mastery remains breathtaking . . . both slow movements are magical¬ly coloured and inflected; and few pianists have distilled such a sense of impish, zany glee in the finale of No 1. Pletnev fans will need no prompting.”

The Daily Telegraph, London, August 2007

The pianist, conductor and composer Mikhail Pletnev is an “all-round” musician who defies categorization. He was born in Archangel, Russia, in 1957. His parents were both musicians, and Pletnev displayed exceptional musical talent from an early age. When he was 13, he began to study the piano at the Moscow Conservatory with the famous pianists and teachers Jacob Flier and Lev Vlasenko. In 1978, Pletnev won the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow and, as a result, was able to make concert tours outside the former Soviet Union through¬out Europe, Japan, the US and Israel. Over the years he has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.

1980 While still pursuing his career as an international concert pianist, Pletnev makes his début as a conductor in the former Soviet Union.
1988 Invited by President Mikhail Gorbachev to perform at the superpower summit in Washington.
1989 The collapse of the Soviet system gives Pletnev the historic opportunity to realize his long-held dream of forming an independent orchestra. He founds the Russian National Orchestra, which, under his leadership, soon achieves international recognition. In the coming years he also appears as guest conductor abroad with such major organizations as the Philharmonia, London Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
1990 The RNO under Pletnev becomes the first Russian orchestra to perform at the Vatican, in a private concert for Pope John Paul II. Shortly afterwards it becomes the first Russian orchestra to tour Israel. Since then the ensemble has appeared in the United States, Asia, and Europe, as well as at international music festivals from Lucerne to Edinburgh.
1993 Signs exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon.
1994 First DG releases: Rachmaninov's Second Symphony and The Rock; Tchaikovsky's Manfred and The Tempest.
1995 Honoured by President Yeltsin with Russia's First State Prize for his services to music.
1996 RNO and Pletnev tour the Far East in May and June and afterwards perform at the inaugural concert of the Olympic Games in Atlanta.
1997 Takes part in the New Year's Eve concert in Berlin with the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchestra under Claudio Abbado. Chopin disc issued, Pletnev's first solo recital on DG - hailed as “Record of the Year" by the influential German critic and piano expert Joachim Kaiser.
1998 Pletnev is also an active composer. The highly successful world première of his Viola Concerto takes place in Moscow, with Yuri Bashmet as soloist and the RNO under Pletnev's baton.
1999 Appointed Conductor Laureate of the Russian National Orchestra, and in this position continues his collaboration with the RNO as conductor and pianist. Receives rave reviews for his Beethoven and Rachmaninov performances under Slatkin and Ashkenazy in London.
2000 Carnegie Hall Recital début is recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon and released the following year, when it wins the Echo Award. Performs with Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Europa Konzert 2000, televised and broadcast worldwide from the Philharmonie. Acclaimed for performances of Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody with the National Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin in Washington DC and on tour throughout Europe. Invited to perform as soloist under Long Yu in Beijing in December at the inaugural concert of the newly established China Philharmonic Orchestra.
2001 Appears as soloist with Kent Nagano and the UBS Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra and with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic on tour in Moscow. His interpretations of Beethoven's complete Piano Concertos with Christoph von Dohnányi and the Philharmonia Orchestra are acclaimed in London in November.
2002 Honoured by President Putin with Russia's First State Prize for his services to music. Pletnev's latest solo recital recording with sonatas by C. P. E. Bach receives the Edison Award and Diapason d'Or. World première with Martha Argerich of Mikhail Pletnev's own transcription for two pianos of the suite from Prokofiev's ballet Cinderella at the “Lugano Festival Martha Argerich Project". Recording of Rachmaninov's and Prokofiev's Third Piano Concertos in Moscow with the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich.
2003 Appointed Artistic Director of the Russian National Orchestra. Far East recital tour and performances of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in June. Festival solo appearances this summer include Orange, Verbier, Edinburgh, La Roque d’Anthéron, Ruhr, and Rheingau. In November and December: performances of Rachmaninov concertos in England (with the Philharmonia) and Stockholm (with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra). Deutsche Grammophon recordings this year include the Piano Quintet and Piano Trio of Sergei Taneyev (with Vadim Repin, Ilya Gringolts, Nobuko Imai, and Lynn Harrell). It will be released in 2005.
2004 Solo recitals throughout Europe; concerts in Stockholm conducting the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; tours of Spain, Italy, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Russia and Taiwan conducting the Russian National Orchestra; and concert appearances in Rome (with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra under Chung), and on tour in the US with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Herbert Blomstedt. CD releases: a Schumann solo piano pro-gramme plus a historic collaboration with Martha Argerich playing Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye and Pletnev’s two-piano transcription of Prokofiev’s Cinderella Suite (Diapason d’or, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Choc du Monde de la musique, 2004; Grammy, Midem Classical Award, 2005).
2005 Engagements conducting the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, the Tokyo Philharmonic (including his own Viola Concerto), Philharmonia, Gothenburg and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestras; concerts in Spain, Belgium, Italy, the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland with the Russian National Orchestra; concert appearances with Kremerata Baltica, solo recitals including France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Korea and Japan. Releases feature Pletnev as pianist in Tchaikovsky’s “18 Pieces” op. 72, and Sergei Taneyev’s Piano Quintet and Piano Trio with Vadim Repin, Ilya Gringolts, Nobuko Imai and Lynn Harrell (Gramophone Award, 2006).
2006Soloist and conductor in Mozart programmes with the Philharmonia Orchestra on tour in Europe; further concerts with the Philharmonia under Dutoit (Grieg and Beethoven Piano Concertos); US tour conducting the Russian National Orchestra in a programme of mainly Russian repertoire; Beethoven Cycle (Symphonies and Piano Concertos) with the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, Montreux and Bonn; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Tokyo Philharmonic in Japan; concerts in Rome with the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia; recitals in Moscow, Italy, France, the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Hungary, Spain and Portugal. CD release: Mozart’s Piano Sonatas K. 330, 331, 332 and 457
2007 Appearances include concerts in the US and France with the Russian National Orchestra and pianist Nicolai Lugansky; with the RNO and pianist Denis Matsuev in Germany, Hungary and on tour in the Russian Federation; with the RNO on two extensive tours of the Far East (including concerts in Japan with pianist Rafał Blechacz). Appearances with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and pianist Arcadi Volodos in the Netherlands, and the Tokyo Philharmonic and pianist Alexander Melnikow in Japan. Conducts Tchaikovsky’s opera Pique Dame at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. Appearance at the Verbier Festival together with pianist Martha Argerich (Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no. 3). Special concert in Tchaikovsky Hall to celebrate Pletnev’s 50th birthday on April 16. Release of Pletnev’s recordings with the Russian National Orchestra of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos nos. 1–4 (Christian Gansch conducting; Record Academy Award, Tokyo for nos. 2 and 4) and the Nine Symphonies. The release of Piano Concerto no. 5 is scheduled for early 2008
2008 Appearances include concerts with the Russian National Orchestra conducting orchestral fragments from Wagner operas, Mahler’s Symphony no. 9 and Kinder¬totenlieder in Moscow; Beethoven’s Symphony no. 6, Sibelius’s Pelléas et Méli¬sande and violin concertos by Shostakovich and Sibelius (with Gidon Kremer) in Austria, at the Lugano Festival, Zagreb, Paris, Baden-Baden, and Moscow; Glazu¬nov’s Symphony no. 6 and Brahms’s Double Concerto at the Rheingau Festival, concerts in Barcelona and Gstaad, Switzerland (with violinist Maxim Vengerov), and an appearance at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival with Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations and Glazunov’s Sixth Symphony