Nikolay Medvedev, pianist

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

It was my mom, who took me to a music school when I was five, and the first influence I remember was Prokofiev’s March from “The love from three oranges”. I was extremely inspired by it and learnt this piece very quickly when I was 8, and played it many times.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

The greatest challenge was the XV Tchaikovsky Competition [in 2015]. It was extremely hard to play in the Great hall of Moscow Conservatory for the people, who had known me for many years. Extremely hard. In my opinion, each concert is a little bit of a challenge for the performer; it makes you stronger and helps you to connect with the audience.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

I’m proud of my performances in 2014 in Yekaterinburg – it was Rachmaninov Third Concerto – and two years after playing two Ravel piano concertos in one concert on the same stage, the Ural Filarmony.

Also, I’m proud of my performances in the USA in Naples, Florida, in 2016. It was one of my favourite Mozart concert arias for mezzo-soprano with piano obligato ‘Chio mi scordi di te’.

And of course my first orchestral experience – Haydn’s D-major Concerto, when I was 10.

Which particular works do you think you perform best?

I don’t know exactly, but Russian romantic music, Mozart, and French impressionism are closer to me than other music. And Richard Strauss, but unfortunately we don’t have too many piano pieces by him to play.

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?

I like the sea, ocean and warm places on our planet. Inspiration on stage is a part of my job, I don’t find and wait for it – I just start to play and it comes. But not always.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

There is no secret. I always suggest what I want to play. And we are, as pianists, the luckiest musicians in the world because many geniuses left us such a huge collection of fantastic masterpieces. Just choose, combine, and play. Ready, steady, go!

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

The Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory. But not only this stage. It depends on people in the audience who come to hear you play. It is them we are there to entertain.

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music audiences/listeners?

I think that classical music was always an art form mostly for selected people. It was, and continues to be. The percentage of people who start to listen to classical music is already retired, but this is slowly changing.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Success for me is a combination of many things. You have to have the talent, ambition, and an ability to work hard, and to be honest in your career.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Only practice and be ready to be dedicated to it all your life. 

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

In some quiet place. Without politics.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

At rest inside, simplicity outside.

What is your most treasured possession?

Nobility, self-irony, and sense of humour.

What is your present state of mind?

Still processing.

Nikolay Medvedev was born in 1986. He studied at the Krasnodar Rimsky-Korsakov Music College, the Krasnodar State University of Culture and Arts, the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music (under the guidance of Alexei Skavronsky and Tatiana Zelikman) and undertook a postgraduate study at the Academy (class of Tatiana Zelikman).

His debut disc is due for release in Spring 2021.

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