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Melnikov Alexander, piano
Alexander Melnikov, piano, was born in Russia. He showed talent at an early age, playing Rachmaninov’s first concerto at the age of 12, but he would never describe himself as a child prodigy. Of key importance in his early years was his contact with Sviatoslav Richter, who taught him a great deal about combining power with subtlety. A complementary thread in his development was his engagement with historically informed performance. Today he enjoys giving performances on the fortepiano and admires Andreas Staier as a colleague. Perhaps surprisingly, Melnikov removed the Russian Romantics from his active repertoire for several years and it took an encounter with Mikhail Pletnev to reignite his interest in their music and he went on to make deeply insightful and much praised recordings of Rachmaninov and Scriabin for Harmonia Mundi. His association with the label arose through his regular recital partner, violinist Isabelle Faust, and in 2010 their complete recordings of the Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano won both Germany’s ECHO Klassik prize and a Gramophone Award and was nominated for the Grammy. Melnikov also makes a habit of contributing illuminating notes to the booklets accompanying his CDs. Chamber music provides an essential complement to Melnikov’s activities as a soloist and his other colleagues have included Natalia Gutman, Yuri Bashmet, Alexander Rudin, Pieter Wispelwey and Jean-Guihen Queyras. As a recitalist he appears in halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt and Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet. He has made concerto appearances with orchestras such as the Russian National, Tokyo Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Philadelphia (under Charles Dutoit), Rotterdam Philharmonic (under Valery Gergiev), Royal Concertgebouw, NHK Symphony and BBC Philharmonic. In November 2010, his recording of the Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues received the Choc de Classica for the best recording in 2010.