The 2017 competitors of Van Cliburn International Piano Competition represent 16 nations. Seven contestants are coming from Russia.
Sergey Belyavskiy, Age 23
Born in Moscow to a family of musicians, Sergey Belyavskiy began playing piano at age 5 and enrolled at Central Music School under the Moscow State Conservatory at age 9. He won his first piano competition at 11, and has since won prizes at the Liszt, Sydney, Canals, and eMuse competitions, among others. His concerto appearances include the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva, the Symphony Orchestra of Valles, and the Moscow and Kazakhstan state orchestras. His recitals at major concert venues include Carnegie Hall in New York, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, and Salle Cortot in Paris. Mr. Belyavskiy has attended master classes with Van Cliburn (in Moscow in 2011), Andrzej Jasinski, Leslie Howard, András Schiff, and Yoheved Kaplinsky, and completed studies at the Moscow Conservatory with Eliso Virsaladze in 2016. He now studies with Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University. Mr. Belyavskiy has released three solo CDs, most recently of Chopin’s 24 Etudes. Besides music, his passions include swimming, running, dancing, and reading.
Nikita Abrosimov, Age 28
Nikita Abrosimov was born in the Urals in Russia and began studying piano at age 6. After earning his undergraduate degree at the M.A. Balakirev Music College in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, he studied at Indiana University and the Royal College of Music. In 2011, he won the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, and the next year he was awarded the prestigious Gawon International Music Society Award in Seoul, South Korea. Mr. Abrosimov has performed at piano festivals in Russia, Europe, and the United States, and his notable concerto appearances include the Stars of the White Nights festival in St. Petersburg, where he performed with the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev. He also has played recitals in New York (Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall), Seoul (Yongsan Art Hall), and St. Petersburg (Mariinsky Concert Hall), among others. Mr. Abrosimov lives in Nizhny Novgorod with his wife and young son.
Yury Favorin, Age 30
Moscow native Yury Favorin started his music instruction at age 5, and pursued piano, clarinet, and composition at the Gnessins Moscow Secondary Special School. He continued his education at the Moscow Conservatory and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, where he currently studies with Jacques Rouvier. In 2016, he was invited to be on the faculty of the Moscow Conservatory. Mr. Favorin has won prizes at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and the Olivier Messiaen International Piano Competition in Paris. He has played with conductors including Pierre Boulez and Marin Alsop, and given recitals in Russia, the U.S., France, Germany, Austria, Norway, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Japan, and more. He is a regular participant in music festivals such as Crazy Days in Nantes, France, and in Japan; and La Rocque d’Antheron in France. Mr. Favorin enjoys premiering works by contemporary composers. His many recordings include Liszt and 20th-century Russian composers, but also new music and improvisations. He has been part of several groups devoted to freely improvised music, including his own ERROR 404.
Nikolay Khozyainov, Age 24
Nikolay Khozyainov was born in Blagoveshchensk in Far East of Russia and made his debut at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory at age 7 in a Handel piano concerto. He won first prize at the Dublin International Piano Competition, second prize at the Sydney International Piano Competition, and was a finalist at the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition. Mr. Khozyainov has performed at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, and Lincoln Center in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington, the Theatre de Champs-Elysees and the Louvre in Paris, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. He has recorded several CDs and has performed concertos with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Russian State Symphony Orchestra, and many others. Mr. Khozyainov is now pursuing an advanced degree at the Hochschule fur Musik Theater und Medien Hannover, where he studies with Arie Vardi. When he’s not playing piano, he likes listening to opera and often visits opera theaters.
Ilya Maximov, Age 30
Russian pianist Ilya Maximov, winner of the 2015 G.B. Viotti International Piano Competition in Italy, has been a top prizewinner at more than 15 competitions, including the Maria Canals (Spain), Hilton Head, Jose Iturbi (Spain) and Scottish international piano competitions. In 2011, he received the audience award at Musical Olympus festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has performed at top concert halls and festivals in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., including Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, Salle Cortot in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, Chamber Hall of Berlin Philharmonie, and more. He regularly performs as a recitalist and with orchestras such as Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Teatro Carlo Felice Orchestra, Wuhan Symphonic Orchestra, Singapore National Symphonic Orchestra, and Havana National Symphonic Orchestra, among others. Born in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Mr. Maximov graduated from Royal College of Music in London and Mozarteum University of Salzburg, where he studied with Dmitri Alexeev and Pavel Gililov. Alongside his solo career, he is a teaching assistant of Gililov. When not at the piano, Mr. Maximov enjoys chess.
Ilya Shmukler, Age 22
Moscow native Ilya Shmukler studies piano with Elena Kuznetsova at the Moscow Conservatory. He has frequently performed in the leading concert halls of Russia, including in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Kazan, as well as in Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Germany, Lithuania, Moldova, and Kazakhstan. Mr. Shmukler has won awards at a number of piano competitions, including grand prizes of the 2009 Musica Classica and the 2012 Scriabin Rachmaninoff competitions in Russia, and second prize in the 2012 International Rachmaninov Music Competition. He has played with several orchestras, most notably the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra. When not playing piano, he enjoys cinema, literature, art, swimming, and table tennis.
Georgy Tchaidze, Age 29
Georgy Tchaidze was born in St. Petersburg and earned his master’s degree at the Moscow Conservatory. He has won prizes at several competitions, including first at the 2009 Honens International Piano Competition, fourth at the 2016 Cleveland International Piano Competition, and first at the 2015 Top of the World International Piano Competition in Tromso, Norway. Mr. Tchaidze has performed throughout Europe, North America, and Asia, including at Wigmore Hall in London, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and Oriental Arts Centre in Shanghai. He performed with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra under the direction of Pinchas Zukerman and with the Cleveland Orchestra with conductor Bramwell Tovey. As a chamber artist, he tours with the Cecilia and Borodin string quartets. Mr. Tchaidze has released three recordings on the Honens label: a live recording with Cecilia String Quartet, an all-Schubert album, and a disc of works by Medtner, Mussorgsky and Prokofiev. He lives and studies in Berlin, where his other passions include literature, cinema, and nature.