In recent years, Vassily Primakov has been hailed as a pianist of world class importance. Gramophone wrote that "Primakov's empathy with Chopin's spirit could hardly be more complete," and the American Record Guide stated: "Since Gilels, how many pianists have the right touch? In Chopin, no one currently playing and recording sounds as good as this! This is a great Chopin pianist." Music Web-International called Primakov's Chopin concertos CD "one of the great Chopin recordings of recent times. These are performances of extraordinary power and beauty." In 1999, as a teen-aged prizewinner of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Primakov was praised by Donald Rosenberg of the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "How many pianists can make a line sing as the 19-year-old Moscow native did on this occasion? Every poignant phrase took ethereal wing. Elsewhere the music soared with all of the turbulence and poetic vibrancy it possesses. We will be hearing much from this remarkable musician."
Vassily Primakov was born in Moscow in 1979. His first piano studies were with his mother, Marina Primakova. He entered Moscow's Central Special Music School at the age of eleven as a pupil of Vera Gornostaeva, and at 17 came to New York to pursue studies at the Juilliard School with the noted pianist, Jerome Lowenthal. At Juilliard Mr. Primakov won the William Petschek Piano Recital Award, which presented his debut recital at Alice Tully Hall, and while at Juilliard, aided by a Susan W. Rose Career Grant, he won both the Silver Medal and the Audience Prize in the 2002 Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition. Later that year Primakov won First Prize in the 2002 Young Concert Artists (YCA) International Auditions. In 2007 he was named the Classical Recording Foundation's "Young Artist of the Year." In 2009, Primakov's Chopin Mazurkas recording was named "Best of the Year" by National Public Radio and that same year he began recording the 27 Mozart piano concertos in Denmark. BBC Music Magazine (November, 2010) praised the first volume of Primakov's Mozart concertos: "The piano playing is of exceptional quality: refined, multi-coloured, elegant of phrase and immaculately balanced, both in itself and in relation to the effortlessly stylish orchestra. The rhythm is both shapely and dynamic, the articulation a model of subtlety. By almost every objective criterion, Vassily Primakov is a Mozartian to the manner born, fit to stand as a role model to a new generation." Vassily Primakov's recent recordings include: Beethoven Sonatas (BRIDGE 9251); the Chopin Concertos (BRIDGE 9278); Tchaikovsky: The Seasons and Grand Sonata (BRIDGE 9283); Chopin: 21 Mazurkas (BRIDGE 9289); Schumann: Carnaval, Kreisleriana, Arabeske (BRIDGE 9300); Dvorak: Piano Concerto, Op. 33; Poetic Tone-Pictures, Op. 85 (BRIDGE 9309); Schubert: Dances and Impromptus (BRIDGE 9327); Mozart Concertos, Vol. 1 (BRIDGE 9328A/B) and Vassily Primakov plays Brahms, Chopin & Scriabin, Primakov's first film, issued on DVD (BRIDGE 9315). In November of 2010 the first CD in a series of live performances, "Primakov in Concert, Vol. 1", will be released including works by Brahms, Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.
IN CONCERT: ALL-CHOPIN
"The French poet Andre Gide described Chopin's music as "an eagle who glides over the giddy heights of human emotions."—rightly so, Primakov glided over the highest crown of the technical demands of Chopin's music like an aristocratic eagle, effortlessly. What makes Primakov different from other virtuosos is that he delivers the essence of his music without any show. The pianist's personna moves to the back and leaves the listener in the presence of the composer. Primakov took the listener to ethereal heights and through dark emotions. Primakov's rendering of the Ballade, Scherzo and Barcarolle was a feast. Often one was amazed by the way that he underlined the atmosphere with his outstanding timing. The coda of the Sonata in B Minor was a triumph of light which was conveyed with extreme virtuoso passages in the right hand—only rarely possible for other pianists. We are thankful that a pianist of this stature was able to play in Bloemfontein. Primakov had a standing ovation. It was clear what a deep emotional experience it was for the concertgoer. —Hans Potgieter, Blomfontein, South Africa (2010)
MOZART: "Disc of the Month" "This is a wonderful reading of Mozart's last four piano concertos. Primakov had already shown himself to be a master of piano touch: here is further proof of his mastery. In Primakov's recording each moment is necessary like precise words in a good poem. Such discoveries—or discoverers—do not come too often." —Oleg Ledeniov, Music Web International (2010)
SCHUMANN: "Best CDs of 2010" "Primakov's searingly intense "Kreisleriana is prefaced with a brilliant "Carnaval" of kaleidoscopic colors, with a gentle and wise Arabeske as the valedictory." —Patrick Rucker, Fanfare (2010)
IN CONCERT: "Pianist Vassily Primakov has been receiving accolades on both sides of the Atlantic for his playing- especially for his interpretations of the music of Frederic Chopin. The silver medalist at the Gina Bachauer International Competition returned to Salt Lake City this weekend for a pair of recitals. His playing both evenings certainly justified the critical praise he has been garnering. Friday, the 30-year-old Russian native showed what an amazing interpreter he is of Chopin's music. Primakov brought nuance and sensitivity to his playing...beautifully crafted, well executed and subtly articulated. At Saturday's recital, Primakov also displayed remarkable sensitivity to the music of Schumann. He imbued Schumann's Fantasy with romantic spirit, capturing its ever changing moods compellingly. Primakov exhibited amazing pianism in his reading; it was detailed, nuanced and eloquently expressive. But the showstopper was Maurice Ravel's "La Valse." Primakov gave a powerhouse performance that made the pyrotechnic demands look absurdly simple. And most importantly, his account was incredibly musical and expressive. One can only hope that Salt Lake audiences won't have to wait too long for Primakov's return." —Edward Reichel, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah (2010)
IN CONCERT: Vassily Primakov is so focussed in his playing that it sounds as if music just flows through him. Take Handel's Chaconne in
G— Primakov voices the work and uses a light touch. ln spite of the concert grand, one hears the heartbeat of the composer. After Handel Primakov attends to the romantic and took the audience on an overflowing joumey of beautiful sounds. All the sections of Kreisleriana were exposed on a profound level. There was an overflow of jewels in Primakov's playing..a Kreisleriana which one will remember for a long time. In Rachmaninoff, Primakov paints powerful emotions but never in excess. A simplicity in favour of the music dominates his playing in proportion to his instinctive understanding of apparently any genre." —Thys Odendaal, Johannesburg Press, South Africa (2010)
"The audience was captivated by Primakov's rendition of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #3 in D minor. Shouts of "bravo" were heard all over the standing audience that packed Long Center."
– Journal & Courier, Lafayette, Indiana
"High praise from Van Cliburn. 'Prodigious technique, really wonderful,' Mr. Cliburn said after listening to Primakov's performance of 'La Valse' with his eyes closed, a look of sheer rapture on his face." – The Washington Times
"Vassily Primakov, the young Moscow-born pianist, brought fiery intensity to Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor (Op. 35), which followed on the program. Hunched over the piano, he caressed the lyrical, elegiac passages and illuminated the spiky undertones coursing through this theatrically high-spirited, burlesque framework." – The New York Times
"Primakov gave a fiery performance of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto, with bold, expressive phrasing and dramatic commitment that brought the audience to its feet."
– Jeremy Eichler, The New York Times
Vassily Primakov on Bridge Records, Inc.