Once a “Superstar for insiders” (Die Welt), Konstantin Scherbakov is today one of internationally renowned pianists who take a special place in the modern piano world. His creativity and immense contribution to the piano repertoire and recording catalogue are undisputed. “One of the most capable, daring and interesting musicians of these days” – Peter Cossé , the famous German critic once described him.
Selfless dedication and uncompromising responsibility towards music and piano repertoire set Scherbakov’s priority throughout his thirty-years-long career. For him, being a musician first and foremost means to serve the music and not to stand in the spotlight. Viewing the pianist as an intermediary, communicating the message and intentions of the composer — that is the aesthetic concept that determines Scherbakov’s entire artistic path. An insatiable musical curiosity and an exceptional ability to quickly assimilate unconventional and highly complex texts, an analytical mind and unlimited virtuosity – these are the essential qualities that have accompanied Scherbakov on his journey across the ocean of piano literature.
The 20-year-old pianist’s phenomenal victory at the Rachmaninoff Competition (Moscow, 1983) with Rachmaninoff’s less known 4th Piano Concerto carried a symbolic sign: it made the pianist aware of his interests, confirmed them and set his future artistic goals. His mission to promote the forgotten, unknown, but no less beautiful music has become apparent.
He gave hundreds of concerts in the former Soviet Union and worked intensively at the State Radio Studios. He studied and played the complete works of Sergei Rachmaninoff (in the 80th Scherbakov rediscovered and promoted some of his forgotten music), complete Prokofiev’s Sonatas, complete works by Ravel and works by other French composers. However, at all times he remained faithful to his favourite composers Beethoven, Schubert and Chopin. In 1990, Scherbakov made his European début at the XX Music Festival in Asolo, Italy where he played the complete works by Rachmaninoff in four evenings. Swiatoslav Richter was there and praised the playing. Concert engagements in Western Europe immediately followed.
Konstantin Scherbakov has been guest to important international music festivals such as Salzburg, Frankfurt, Bregenz, Bodensee, Lucerne, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Bad Kissingen, Schubertiade Feldkirch and Schwarzenberg, Singapore Piano Festival, Piano Rarities Husum, Beethoven Festival Krakau and Warsaw, Lebanon Music Festival, “Primavera concertistica” Lugano, Evian, Colmar, Liszt Festivals in Raiding and Weimar, Piano Festival Lucerne, and among others – to numerous festivals in Italy, France, New Zealand, USA, Russia, and Switzerland.
Boasting a phenomenal concerto repertoire of 60 concertos, Konstantin Scherbakov performed as soloist with more than 70 orchestras, among others with the Russian State Philharmonic, Moscow State Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Symphony, Stuttgart and Duisburg Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra, Philharmonics of the Nations, Munich Symphony, George Enescu Philharmonic Bucharest, Weimarer Staatskapelle, Sofia Philharmonic, Bach Collegium Munich, Montreal Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Orchestre d’Ile de France, Ukrainian and Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestras, Ulster Orchestra, Wiener Kammerorchester and with conductors Christian Thielemann, Yuri Simonov, Rudolf Barshai, Nello Santi, Kirill Petrenko, Christian Mandeal, Aldo Ceccato und Andrei Boreiko, among others.
No less intensively Scherbakov has worked in the studio, producing once CD after another, well over 40 in total. So he recorded all works for piano and orchestra by Medtner, Respighi, Tschaikovsky and Scriabin, piano concertos by Rachmaninoff, piano solo works by Lyapunov, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev etc. Among large scale projects that the pianist has realized there are:
– The complete piano works by Shostakovich – a work that achieved particularly resounding success with the recording of the 24 Preludes and Fugues. The winner of the Cannes Classical Award at MIDEM in 2001, this recording left a lasting trace on Scherbakov’s concert career, which culminated in his Salzburg Festival début in 2005 (“One cannot play Shostakovich any better!” Wiener Zeitung).
– Complete Piano Works by Leopold Godowsky. Konstantin Scherbakov is the only pianist to play and record the complete works of “The Pianist’s Pianist”; so far 13 of the planned 15 CDs of this huge, unique project have been released.
– And most recently, the “Lifelong Beethovenian” (Hi-Fi News) has completed just another project. Like only a few pianists before him, he studied, played in concerts and recorded all nine Symphonies by Beethoven in Liszt’s transcription. The widespread enthusiasm of the music world resulted in the German Critics’ Prize and many concert invitations – to Paris, New York, Auckland, Vienna, Berlin and Moscow and to piano Festivals like Ruhr, Luzern and Bad Kissingen. His conducting debut in Milano he made with a Beethoven program. For many years, the pianist has performed the complete Symphonies cycle and Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas at the Tonhalle Zurich and the National Concert Hall in Taipei. In 2016, he opened the Beethoven Festival in Bonn with the “Eroica” program.
Since 1998 Konstantin Scherbakov has been Professor at the Zurich University of Arts; many of his students received prizes at international piano competitions, most notably Yulianna Avdeeva, the winner of the 2010 Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
Konstantin Scherbakov has been a jury member of many international competitions, such as ARD Munich, Busoni (Bolzano), Liszt (Weimar), Rio de Janeiro, Youth Tchaikovsky (Seoul), Havana etc.