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 Feltsman’s 2016/17 season were concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Montevideo, Mexico City, and Naples (FL), as well as at the Aspen, Ravinia, and Verbier Festivals. In 2017/18, he is appearing with the Mozart Orchestra of New York, Gerard Schwarz, conducting, giving performances in Washington, D.C. as part of Feltsman’s “Russian Experiment” project (exploring music written by Russian non-conformist composers of the 20th century), in Mexico with the Boca del Rio Philharmonic and Jorge Mester, and playing recitals in New York City and at the University of California, Davis.
Feltsman expressed his lifelong devotion to the music of J.S. Bach in a cycle of concerts, which presented the major keyboard 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 today’s contemporaries, and was presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in January 2003 with great success. Feltsman served as Artistic Director for this project as well as performing in most of the pieces presented during the three-concert cycle. The programs included a number of world and North American premieres and were also presented in Portland, Oregon and in Tucson, Arizona at the University of Arizona. In the fall of 2006, Feltsman performed all of Mozart’s Piano Sonatas in New York at the Mannes School of Music and NYU’s Tisch Center presented by New School using a specially built replica of the Walter fortepiano.
Born in Moscow in 1952, Feltsman debuted with the Moscow Philharmonic at age 11. In 1969, he entered Moscow’s Tchaikovsky 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, Feltsman won the Grand Prix at the Marguerite Long International Piano Competition in Paris, which led to his extensive touring throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe, and Japan.
In 1979, because of his growing discontent with the restrictions on artistic freedom under the Soviet regime, 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, 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, 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 the Mannes College 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 2012, Vladimir and his wife Haewon established the Feltsman Piano Foundation that helps young musicians to realize their potential and advance their careers.
Feltsman’s extensive discography has been released on the Melodiya, Sony Classical, Musical Heritage, and Nimbus labels; it includes more than 50 CDs and is expanding. He recently completed a recording of all the Schubert Sonatas and the works by Schumann for Nimbus. Feltsman’s discography includes all major keyboard works of J.S. Bach; recordings of Beethoven’s last five piano sonatas, the Moonlight, Pathétique, and Appassionata Sonatas, and the Diabelli Variations; solo piano works of Haydn, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Mussorgsky, Messiaen, and Silvestrov; as well as concertos by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev. His most recent recording with orchestra is a release of Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 with the Russian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Pletnev from a November 1992 performance at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Since 2011, the Nimbus label has released twenty albums by Feltsman featuring works by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Scriabin, Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Haydn, Schubert, Schumann, and Schnittke.
Feltsman is an American citizen. He lives with his wife Haewon in upstate New York.