Our Patron - Evgeny Kissin
Evgeny Kissin, one of today’s foremost concert pianists, was born in 1971 in Moscow, into a Jewish family. Recognized as a prodigy when he was just two years old, he began piano studies at Gnessin Musical School with Anna Kantor, who remained Kissin’s only piano teacher.
Kissin's talents were revealed on the international scene at the age of twelve, when he played and recorded both Chopin piano concertos with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra in the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory’s Great Hall.
Kissin's first appearances outside Russia took place in 1985 in Eastern Europe, followed a year later by a tour of Japan. At 15, he made his West European debut at the Berlin Festival as well as a United Kingdom debut, alongside conductor Valery Gergiev and violinists Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin, at the Lichfield Festival. In 1988 he toured Europe with the Moscow Virtuosi and Vladimir Spivakov and performed with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. The same year, he played Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 with Herbert von Karajan at Berlin Philharmonic's New Year's Eve Concert, broadcast internationally. The performance was repeated the following year at the Salzburg Easter Festival. Kissin’s North American debut took place in September 1990 as he appeared with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta in Chopin's two piano concertos, followed by the first piano recital of Carnegie Hall's centennial season. In 1997, he performed the first solo piano recital in the history of The Proms in London.
Kissin regularly tours Europe, America and Asia. He has appeared with nearly all the leading orchestras in the world, under Claudio Abbado, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Myung-Whun Chung, Sir Colin Davis, Carlo Maria Giulini, Mariss Jansons, Dmitri Kitaenko, Jan Latham-Koenig, James Levine, Sir Andrew Davis, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Georg Solti, Yevgeny Svetlanov, and Yuri Temirkanov. He performed chamber music with Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, James Levine, Mischa Maisky, Thomas Quasthoff, Isaac Stern, Yuri Bashmet among others.
Many musical awards and tributes from around the world have been bestowed upon Evgeny Kissin. He received the Crystal Prize of the Osaka Symphony Hall for the Best Performance of the Year 1986 (his first appearance in Japan); in 1991, was named Musician of the Year by Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. He was special guest at the 1992 Grammy Awards Ceremony, broadcast live to a global audience of over one billion, and became Musical America's youngest Instrumentalist of the Year in 1994. In 1997, he became the youngest recipient of the prestigious Triumph Award for outstanding contribution to Russia's culture, among the highest cultural prizes in the Russian Republic. Kissin was the first concerto soloist ever to play, in 2000, in the London Proms season opening concert. In May 2001, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the Manhattan School of Music. In 2003 he received the Shostakovich Award, one of Russia's highest musical honors. In June 2005 he was accorded an Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London. In March 2009, received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the Hong Kong University. Kissin also holds Honorary Doctorates from Ben Gurion University in Beersheba and Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
A British citizen since 2002, Kissin became a citizen of the State of Israel in 2013.