Mikhail Pletnev
Михаи́л Васи́льевич Плетнёв
Background information
Born (1957-04-14) 14 April 1957 (age 67)
GenresClassical music
Occupation(s)Pianist, conductor, composer
LabelsDeutsche Grammophon, Pentatone, Virgin Classics

Mikhail Vasilievich Pletnev (Russian: Михаи́л Васи́льевич Плетнёв, Mikha'il Vas'ilevič Plet'nëv; born 14 April 1957) is a Russian pianist, conductor and composer.

Life and career

Pletnev was born into a musical family in Arkhangelsk, then part of the Soviet Union. His father played and taught the bayan, and his mother was a pianist.[1][2] He studied with Kira Shashkina for six years at the Special Music School of the Kazan Conservatory,[3] before entering the Moscow Central Music School at the age of 13, where he studied under Evgeny Timakin. Also in the class was fellow pianist Ivo Pogorelić, with whom he formed a lasting friendship. In 1974, he entered the Moscow Conservatory, studying under Yakov Flier and Lev Vlassenko. At age 21, he won the Gold Medal at the VI International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1978, which earned him international recognition and drew great attention worldwide.[4] The following year he made his debut in the United States. He also taught at the Moscow Conservatory. Pletnev has acknowledged Sergei Rachmaninoff as a particularly notable influence on him as a musician.[5][6]

Pletnev conducting, 2017

In 1988, Pletnev was invited to perform at the superpower conference in Washington, D.C., where he met and befriended Mikhail Gorbachev. From this friendship, he gained the support to found two years later the Russian National Orchestra in 1990, the first non-government-supported orchestra in Russia since 1917, and became its first principal conductor. He and the orchestra made their recording debut on Virgin Classics, releasing Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony and Marche Slave in 1991. He stepped down as Principal Conductor in the late 1990s, but remained the orchestra's artistic director.[7]

Pletnev has made a number of recordings with Deutsche Grammophon. His recordings are mostly of Russian works, though in 2007 he recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies. The first works he recorded were for orchestra, including Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty, his Sixth Symphony and Manfred Symphony, and Rachmaninoff's Second and Third Symphonies. Pletnev's recording of Tchaikovsky's First Symphony (Winter Daydreams) received critical acclaim.[8]

In July 2010, Pletnev was arrested on suspicion of child molestation in Thailand, where he owns a home.[9][10] He denied the allegations and was released on bail.[11][12] The charges were dropped on 28 September.[13]

Awards and recognitions

Notable compositions


Honours and awards

Selected discography


  1. ^ Fanning, David. "Pletnev, Mikhail." Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2001.
  2. ^ Michael White (2003-03-16). "It's All a Game, and Only He Knows the Rules". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  3. ^ "Biography of K.A. Shashkina on the website of the Moscow Central Music School" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2018-09-28. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  4. ^ Jean-Pierre Thiollet, 88 notes pour piano solo, "Solo nec plus ultra", Neva Editions, 2015, p.51. ISBN 978 2 3505 5192 0.
  5. ^ Greene, Lynnda. "Beyond Borders" in International Piano Magazine November / December 2003 "International Piano Magazine, Nov 2003 | Russian National Orchestra". Archived from the original on 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
  6. ^ Martin Kettle (2003-11-07). "A man and his music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  7. ^ Geoffrey Norris (2004-03-22). "Maestro miseryguts". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  8. ^ Service, Tom (January 28, 2014). "Symphony guide: Tchaikovsky's First" – via www.theguardian.com.
  9. ^ Fuller, Thomas (7 July 2010). "Russian Pianist Charged in Rape of Thai Boy". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  10. ^ Tom Parfitt (2010-07-07). "Mikhail Pletnev charged with child molestation in Thailand". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  11. ^ "Russian Pianist Mikhail Pletnev Charged with Raping Teen Boy in Thailand". Pravda. 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  12. ^ Helen Pidd (2010-08-05). "Conductor accused of child molestation pulls out of UK concerts". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-12-21.
  13. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (3 December 2010). "Child molestation investigation against Russian classical musician dropped". The Guardian. London.

Further reading