On 15 January, Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov made his debut in the International Piano Series at Southbank Centre to perform works by Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Couperin. But who exactly is Pavel Kolesnikov?
Born in Novosibirsk, Russia, in 1989, Kolesnikov began his music education with violin lessons at the age of six. It wasn’t until he was 16, that he decided piano was his preferred instrument and chosen career path. At the age of 18, he moved to Moscow to study piano at the Moscow State Conservatoire.
Louis Couperin was one of the most prominent French composers in the 17th century but he also played harpsichord, organ and viol. The Couperins were the most prolific family active in the Baroque era. Kolesnikov’s introduction to the French baroque period was through the Greek-Russian conductor Teodor Currentzis. Around the same time, he witnessed Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov playing Rameau and François Couperin (nephew of Couperin) in Venice. Kolesnikov’s recording, Couperin: Dances from the Bauyn Manuscript, steps back a few centuries to the keyboard music of Louis Couperin and brilliantly captures the composer’s influence on the harpsichord.
At the very last minute, following the injury of another artist, Kolesnikov jumped on a plane all the way from Moscow to British Columbia, Canada, to perform with the Victoria Symphony. He was invited to open the Symphony’s 2014/15 season to play one of his favourite concertos in the Rachmaninov repertoire: Piano Concerto No. 3.
In 2014, Kolesnikov joined the BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artist scheme. Previous winners include internationally recognised artists as diverse as Benjamin Grosvenor, the Belcea Quartet, Christine Rice and Gwilym Simcock. As part of the BBC’s commitment to nurturing young talent, the selected artists are given the opportunity to develop their live and recorded performances including broadcasts with the BBC’s orchestras, lunchtime concerts and chamber music collaborations.
Kolesnikov’s fascination with vintage perfume goes back to his childhood. From there he became interested in the science of perfume; how it works and what goes into it. In a recent interview with The Scotsman, Kolesnikov said it would be his dream career, if he wasn’t a pianist, to be a parfumier.
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