Russian born pianist Sergei Podobedov has been described by conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky as: “a magnificent pianist who possesses outstanding virtuosic skills combined with true musicality and a refined sense of style.”
Since making his orchestral debut at the age of 12 performing Chopin’s 2nd Piano Concerto, Podobedov has toured throughout the world performing the major concert repertoire, new works and also fully improvised recitals. Sergei has appeared numerous times at the world’s leading concert halls. Highlights of the 2011/12 season included an appearance on BBC Radio 3; a recital at The Purcell Room at London’s Southbank Centre and concerts at Fairfield Halls and St. James’s Piccadilly.
The latter prompted Jeremy D Rowe of Wagner News to write: “The astonishing Russian virtuoso pianist Sergei Podobedov whose breathtaking readings of both Prokofiev and Chopin had the audience enthralled”. Sergei’s 2013/14 season includes concerts at London’s Southbank Centre, Kings Place, Fairfield Halls and St James’s Piccadilly; Wales’s Brecon Theatre and a tour of Russia and Europe with violinist Yuri Kalnits.
Sergei’s latest solo CD, the complete piano works of pre-WWII Russian composer Boris Goltz, the first ever complete recording of this repertoire, attracted strong critical acclaim in many countries: “Everything that world premiere recordings need to be” (Jim Svejda, Classical KUSC Los Angeles); “All 24 Preludes are crystalline and perfect” (Allmusic).
With an increasing discography, that includes, in addition to the recent Goltz disc, his first release: a live recording of Haydn, Prokofiev, Schumann, and Lyadov on the Cristofori label; Alan Hovhaness’ Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra & Other Works, on Sanctuary Records, Sergei has attracted much attention with these discs, the latter being called “an unusual masterpiece”. His most recent release, on Toccata Classics, is the chamber and instrumental music of British composer David Braid. He is joined in this project by the Erato Piano Trio and Russian violinist Yuri Kalnits, among others. Sergei has performed at London’s Wigmore Hall, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, the Bolshoi Hall of The Moscow Conservatory, San Francisco’s Herbst Theater, among others.
In 1990 he was the first ever recipient of a Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother Scholarship at the Royal College of Music and was also the youngest ever winner of the Edward Boyle Award in London. In 1991 he performed and collaborated with Sir John Gielgud at Windsor Castle at the Queen Mother’s special invitation. In addition to these live performances Sergei has given numerous radio broadcasts, on major international stations and worked with a number of leading conductors, including Michael Morgan, Vladimir Weiss, Antonio Pirolli, Raymond Harvey and David Andre.
In recent years, Podobedov, in addition to giving dozens of recitals and constantly expanding his repertoire, has moved into a new and unique area. He performs fully improvised solo recitals, that usually consist of two large works; his current ‘Dimensions’ series has included fourteen concerts in London so far this season.
Constituting both a revival of the improvisation/premiere practice common in the 18th/19th centuries and a new direction in contemporary performance, Podobedov literally composes in real-time in front of you, the result being, according to one commentator: “A strong, structurally coherent work of music, that surpasses much contemporary composition” (David Braid, Music & Vision Daily). Sergei is a graduate of The Moscow Central School of Music, The Tchaikovsky Conservatory and The Royal College of Music.