Evgeny Kissin’s musicality, the depth and poetry of his interpretations, and his extraordinary virtuosity have won him respect and admiration, which he deserves as one of the most talented classical pianists of his generation. He is in demand internationally, and he has appeared as a soloist with the world’s top orchestras under the baton of such famed conductors as Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, and Seiji Ozawa.
Evgeny Kissin was born to a Russian Jewish family in Moscow, and he began playing piano and improvising at the age of two. At six years of age, he began studying at a Moscow school of music for talented children named after its founders, the Gnessin sisters. It was there that Anna Pavlovna Kantor became his only teacher. At age ten he appeared with an orchestra for the first time, and a year later he gave a solo recital. As a 12-year-old boy, he won international fame when a recording of his appearance with the Moscow State Philharmonic was issued on LP. That recording’s tremendous success led to the release of five more live recordings of Kissin’s performances over the next two years. Evgeny Kissin first appeared abroad in 1985, and over the following years he gave many tours and concerts all around the world. December 1988 saw the worldwide broadcast of Kissin’s appearance at the Berlin Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert under the baton of Herbert von Karajan.
Evgeny Kissin’s career has earned him many musical honours around the world. In 1991, for example, he was a special guest at the Grammy Awards Ceremony. Three years later, he became the youngest person honoured as the Instrumentalist of the Year by the magazine Musical America. He has received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Manhattan School of Music, the Shostakovich Award (one of Russia’s highest honours for musicians), an honorary membership of London’s Royal Academy of Music, and most recently the title of Doctor of Letters honoris causa from the University of Hong Kong.
He is a citizen of the United Kingdom and of Israel as well as of Russia. He has been living in Prague since 2017. His is a vocal critic of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.