Dmitri Ratser was born in Moscow into a family of professional musicians, whereby his own musical talents were early recognized. While still a child, he was accepted to study under Professor Yakov Flier (1973-78) at the Moscow Conservatory, and later worked with Alexander Ikharev (1980-82) at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.
Shortly after graduating, Mr. Ratser won First Prize at the prestigious All-Soviet Union Rachmaninov Competition (Moscow), and three years later won First Prize at the Liszt International Jubilee Competition (Budapest). His expertise in Rachmaninov – he is one of the few pianists to include in his repertoire the composer’s complete works for piano and orchestra – led to Ratser’s selection as a key performer in the ceremony commemorating the composer’s 125th anniversary at his birthplace in Ivanovka, Russia.
Following a radio broadcast of a live concert in Moscow in 1989, Mr. Ratser was invited by an American artist manager to tour the US, and he has continued to perform there regularly ever since. He likewise performs regularly in Russia, with frequent concerts held at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Highlight US performances in recent years include a series of concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich, a cycle of Rachmaninov’s complete works for piano and orchestra with the Asheville Symphony (North Carolina, 1999), multiple seasons at the Ambassador Auditorium with the Pasadena Symphony (1992-94, 1997-98, 2001), and a solo appearance in Carnegie Hall (1995). In addition, Mr. Ratser has performed with orchestras in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Korea, Finland, Spain, Austria and Germany – where he performed the premiere of the recently discovered Piano Concerto in B minor by César Franck. Finally, Mr. Ratser has begun to perform two-piano recitals with his daughter Anita, herself an award-winning pianist.
Mr. Ratser has produced six CDs, featuring the music of Rachmaninov, Liszt, and Franck. He regularly gives master classes at various American universities, particularly in Texas. In September 2005, he joined the prestigious Central Music School of Moscow Conservatory as a Professor of Piano Studies. We are delighted to feature this talented pianist here at the Classical Archives.
“His piano performances have been invariably reviewed as ‘breathtaking’, ‘highly individual’, ‘passionate’ and ‘poetic’.”
New York Times
“Ratser’s performance took one’s breath away – with its mesmerizing single-mindedness, its exorable force, its stunning virtuosity.”
Los Angeles Times
“Mr. Ratser is one of Russia’s greatest pianists.”
The Dallas Morning News