“Babayan favors a playing style that speaks to the senses, to the range of his love for the music, which is unsurpassed. An enthusiastic multi-instrumentalist, tirelessly studying the works of his predecessors as if they were his contemporaries, he does not hide himself from this nearly obsessive research of a spiritual music, which comes close to magic.”
“Babayan exuded the gravity of a monumental sculpture in bronze, as he teased out the beauties of this more ruminative work.”
“…if your expectation is that this will be pretty special, you are right. This recording is the culmination of a series of live performances Babayan and Argerich have given over the last few years, starting at the Lugano Festival in 2013, and the sense of a rock-solid musical partnership is palpable…The emotional climax is, not surprisingly, the lovers’ farewell, which, in this performance, is intensely moving but also icily brilliant, particularly in the final pages.”
“Sergei Babayan brought consummate technique and insight to the cryptic Fifth Concerto, another work in which Prokofiev’s Neo-Classical approach is rendered Modernist, even baffling, through fragmentation and harmonic strangeness. The intrepid audience awarded hearty ovations to every pianist. Hopefully it won’t take another marathon to hear the overlooked, underrated concertos.”
The New York Times
“Sergei Babayan has already given us one of the indispensable Rachmaninov recordings, and he consolidated his prowess in this composer’s output with a reading of the D-minor Third Piano Concerto that enjoyed fleet fingers, Romantic yearning, crunchy chords and persuasive fluctuations of tempo and dynamics – lived in, breathed, aflame with identification – Babayan communing with the music, choosing the more-technically-demanding of the two first-movement cadenzas, heroically dispatched, and in its wake strumming lyrical asides to melt the hardest of hearts.”
Sergei Babayan is one of the leading pianists of our time. Hailed for his emotional intensity, bold energy and remarkable levels of color, Sergei Babayan brings a deep understanding and insight to an exceptionally diverse repertoire. Le Figaro has praised his “unequaled touch, perfectly harmonious phrasing and breathtaking virtuosity.” Le Devoir from Montreal put it simply: “Sergei Babayan is a genius. Period.”
Sergei Babayan has collaborated with such conductors as Sir Antonio Pappano, David Robertson, Neeme Järvi, Rafael Payare, Thomas Dausgaard, Tugan Sokhiev, and Dima Slobodeniouk. Over the years, Babayan has performed with Valery Gergiev numerous times to great critical acclaim, including appearances at the Barbican Centre with the London Symphony Orchestra, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elyseés in Paris, the Salzburg Festival, and at the Rotterdam Philharmonic-Gergiev Festival, where Babayan was artist-in-residence.
In recent seasons, Mr. Babayan’s schedule has included concert performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the Verbier Festival Orchestra, among others. Sergei Babayan regularly performs at many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and Munich’s Prinzregententheater, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Maison de la Radio in Paris, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, and the Zurich Tonhalle. He has appeared at major festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron, Piano aux Jacobins in Toulouse, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, and Verbier Festival. At Konzerthaus Dortmund, Sergei Babayan was a Curating Artist. Mr. Babayan performs with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Sergei Babayan is a Deutsche Grammophon exclusive artist; his latest release Rachmaninoff (DG 2020) was hailed by the international press as a groundbreaking recording and received numerous awards including BBC Recording of the Month and CHOC Classica (“This musical journey, born out of a limitless imagination and thought in minute detail, is one big masterpiece.”) His previous DG release of his own transcriptions for two pianos of works by Sergei Prokofiev, with Martha Argerich as his partner (Prokofiev for Two; DG 2018), was praised by reviewers as “the CD one has waited for” (Le Devoir), an “electrifying duo that leaves the listener in consternation” (Pianiste). Mr. Babayan’s performances have been broadcast by Radio France, BBC-TV and BBC Radio 3, NHK Satellite Television and Medici TV.
Born in Armenia into a musical family, Babayan began his studies there with Georgy Saradjev and continued at the Moscow Conservatory with Mikhail Pletnev, Vera Gornostayeva and Lev Naumov. Following his first trip outside of the USSR in 1989, he won consecutive first prizes in several major international competitions including the Cleveland International Piano Competition, the Hamamatsu Piano Competition, and the Scottish International Piano Competition. An American citizen, he lives in New York City.