Contestant 2: Evgeny Brakhman
One of those people born with the rare gift of perfect pitch, Russian pianist Evgeny Brakhman pretty much had his career chosen for him.
“I was a typical lazy kid. All I wanted to do was eat, sleep and play football”, Brakhman admits, “but very early, aged 3, my parents found that I had perfect pitch”. And with a professional pianist mum, it was pretty much decided that music was going to be his path.
Brakhman played his first recital at the domestic music school at the age of 7, and at 20, he graduated from Nizhny Novgorod Conservatory, where he had been taught by professor Valery Starynin. He continued his post-graduate courses in Moscow in 2003 under the legendary Lev Naumov. Brakhman is already a professor himself at Nizhny Novgorod State Glinka Conservatory, despite being only 32 years of age.
Evgeny is no stranger to contests of this kind. In 1996 he won his first international piano competition – Concours Musical de France in Paris, and in 1997-1998 he held a scholarship from M. Rostropovich Foundation and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York during the Russian Music School festival.
But his true recognition came in 1999, when he won the First Prize at Dino Ciani International Piano Competition at La Scala in Milan. He has since played recitals at La Scala, Milan; Tonhalle, Zurich; Konzerthaus, Vienna and attended most prestigious festivals in Europe, namely La Roque d’Antheron in France, Settimane Musicali di Stresa, Bolzano and Cervo festivals in Italy, Sakharov Festival in Russia and Martha Argerich Project in Lugano, Switzerland.
In 2002 EMI Classics realized his first CD, under the title “Martha Argerich Presents Evgeny Brakhman”. Tha CD, which consisted of sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven and Liszt, was immediately awarded Diapason d’Or. His second CD on EMI came the following year, when he released a live recording from the Lugano Festival.
Evgeny Brakhman has won prizes in more than 10 international piano competitions worldwide, and has performed in more than 20 countries as a recital player. As a soloist, he has played with La Scala Theatre Orchestra, Tivoli Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Scottish Symphony, Franz Liszt Orchetra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia.
It is no secret that Evgeny is one of the hotly tipped favorites to win Top of the World.
Brakhman carries on the tradition of a musical family. His wife, Natalia, was recently recognized as the best accompanist at a Tchaikovsky competition. His 7 year old daughter plays the violin, though. “We have more than enough pianists in our house”, Evgeny claims.
To watch Brakhman perform Rachmaninov’s Sonata no. 2 in B-flat minor, op. 36, click here.