NIKOLAI LUGANSKY, already a major artist, has been hailed as the “next” in a line of great Russian pianists by his former teacher, the renowned pedagogue Tatiana Nikolaeva. Known for his superb interpretations of Rachmaninoff, Lugansky has been a prizewinner in several international competitions, including the International Bach Competition in Leipzig in 1988, the All-Union Rachmaninoff Competition in 1990, and the Tchaikovsky International Competition in 1994. He made his American debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 1996 as a part of a tour with the Kirov Orchestra and Valery Gergiev.
Lugansky has appeared with major symphony orchestras worldwide, including the Orchestre National de France; the Orchestre de Paris; the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, and Russian National orchestras; the Berlin, Milan, City of Birmingham, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; the Monte Carlo, Dresden, Los Angeles, Munich, Rotterdam, St. Petersburg, and Tokyo philharmonics; and the Royal Concertgebouw, in repertoire as diverse as Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, Grieg, Chopin, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, and Liszt.
The list of distinguished conductors with whom he has worked includes Paavo Berglund, Herbert Blomstedt, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Marek Janowski, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Emmanuel Krivine, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Kent Nagano, Sakari Oramo, Mikhail Pletnev, Jukka Pekka Saraste, and Yuri Temirkanov.
In the coming seasons, Lugansky will appear at the Berlin Philharmonie under Janowski, in Birmingham under Oramo, in Dresden under Jurowski (Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the left hand), in London under Saraste (Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2), at the Musikverein in Vienna under Temirkanov (Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1), and at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris with the Philharmonia under Ashkenazy as a part of a European tour.
In addition to the concert tours, Lugansky will give recitals at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Concertgebouw, Royal Festival Hall, and in Milan, Madrid, Brussels, and New York. He will appear at festivals such as La Roque d’Antheron, Verbier, Gstaad (Switzerland), Proms (UK), Salzburg, and Munich.
During the 2009/10 season he will make return visits to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra, having made his debut at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in summer 2008.
Most recently, Lugansky has appeared with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Marek Janowski both in Pittsburgh and on tour in Europe, with the San Francisco Symphony, with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra both in Cincinnati and on tour in Europe, as well as in solo recital in the United States and Canada.
In the spring of 2006, following his successful collaboration with violinist Vadim Repin and cellist Mischa Maisky at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, where they performed trios by Schubert and Tchaikovsky, Lugansky embarked with Repin on a duo recital tour of Europe and the United States. They toured together again in the fall of 2008.
An acclaimed recording artist on the Warner Classics label, Lugansky won a 2000 Diapason d’Or for his recording of the complete Chopin Etudes. His next discs of Rachmaninoff Preludes and Moments Musicaux and Chopin Preludes won him a Diapason d’Or in 2001 and 2002 as well. He was awarded the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the 2005 ECHO Klassik award for his recording of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 3, and his recording of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 for Pentatone Classics won Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice (February 2004). His other releases include a disc of Prokofiev’s Sonatas Nos. 4 and 6 and selections from Romeo and Juliet, a disc of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo coupled with Variations on a Theme by Corelli and Variations on a theme by Chopin, and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 4. In 2005, Warner Classics released his first disc of Beethoven Sonatas that includes the “Moonlight” and “Appassionata.” Nikolai Lugansky and cellist Alexander Kniazev won the 2007 ECHO Klassik award for their recording of works by Chopin and Rachmaninoff, released in January of that year.
Lugansky studied at the Central School of Music in Moscow, where his principal teachers included the renowned pianist and teacher Tatiana Nikolaeva and the current director of the Tchaikovsky School of Music in Moscow, Sergueï Dorensky.