Alexandre Kantorow


In 2019, aged 22, Alexandre Kantorow became the first French pianist to win the gold medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition, where he also won the Grand Prix, which has only been awarded three times before in the competition’s history. Hailed by critics as the ‘young tsar of the piano’ (Classica) and ‘Liszt reincarnated’ (Fanfare), he has received numerous other awards and has been invited to perform worldwide at the highest level.

Even before the competition, Kantorow had already been attracting attention. He began performing professionally at an early age, making his debut at La Folle Journée festival in Nantes at just 16. Since then he has played with many of the world’s major orchestras, including regular appearances with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Iván Fischer, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, the SWR Symphonieorchester and Teodor Currentzis, the Berlin Staatskapelle and Antonio Pappano, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Mikko Franck.

He has performed solo recitals at major concert halls across Europe, such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in his Master Pianists series, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Philharmonie in Paris, the BOZAR in Brussels, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and in the most prestigious festivals such as La Roque d’Anthéron, the Ravinia Festival, the Verbier Festival and the Klavierfest Ruhr. Chamber music is another one of his great pleasures.

His 2022-2023 season features performances with the Staatskapelle Berlin and Lorenzo Viotti, a tour with the Munich Philharmonic and Thomas Hengelbrock, as well as debuts with the Cameristi della Scala and Mikhaïl Pletnev, the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester and Charles Dutoit, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Montréal and Kent Nagano and the RAI Torino Orchestra and Thomas Guggeis. Other highlights of the season include a European recital tour and the world premiere of Guillaume Connesson’s piano concerto.

Alexandre Kantorow records exclusively with BIS, to great critical acclaim. His last two recordings (Brahms solo works and Saint-Saëns concerti 1-2) were awarded with a double Diapason d’Or of the year in 2022. The SACD “Saint-Saëns: Piano Concertos 1&2” recorded with the Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow, is critically acclaimed as a “reference version of the Saint-Saëns concertos” (Resmusica). It was also selected by Gramophone magazine in their “Editor’s choice”. His two previous recordings (Saint-Saëns concerti 3-5 and solo works by Brahms, Bartok, and Liszt) were both awarded the Diapason d’Or and Choc Classica of the year in 2019 and 2020 respectively, with Gramophone magazine describing his performance as “another outstanding example of his virtuosity and artistry, displaying both skill and sensitivity throughout.” His earlier ‘à la Russe’ recital recordings also won numerous awards and distinctions, including the 2017 Choc de l’Année (Classica), Diapason découverte (Diapason), Supersonic (Pizzicata) and CD des Doppelmonats (PianoNews).

Kantorow is a laureate of the Safran Foundation and Banque Populaire, and in 2019 was named ‘Musical Revelation of the Year’ by the Professional Critics Association. In 2020 he won the Victoires de la Musique Classique in two categories: Recording of the Year and Instrumental Soloist of the Year.

In 2022, he became artistic director of the festival “Les Rencontres Musicales de Nîmes” with violinist Liya Petrova and cellist Aurélien Pascal.

Born in France of Franco-British heritage, he has studied with Pierre-Alain Volondat, Igor Lazko, Frank Braley and Rena Shereshevskaya.

Updated on 06 march 2023

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