“Technical brilliance and imaginative delight…”
“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.”
The New York Times
“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.”
He 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 David Robertson, Neeme Järvi, Yuri Temirkanov, Thomas Dausgaard, Tugan Sokhiev, and Dima Slobodeniouk, among others. Over the years, Babayan has performed with Valery Gergiev numerous times to great critical acclaim, including appearances at the International Festival “Stars of the White Nights”, the Moscow Easter Festival, the Barbican Centre with Mo. Gergiev conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, in St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Théâtre des Champs-Elyseés in Paris, at the Salzburg Festival, and at the Rotterdam Philharmonic-Gergiev Festival where Babayan was artist-in-residence.
In the 2018/19 season, Mr. Babayan’s schedule includes concert performances with the Lucerne Festival Strings, Dusseldorf Symphony, Antwerp Symphony, Cameristi del Teatro alla Scala, the Mariinsky Orchestra, and the Verbier Festival Orchestra. Sergei Babayan also performs at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and Munich Prinzregententheater, the Maison de la Radio in Paris, at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and Frankfurt Alte Oper, and the Zurich Tonhalle. He will also appear at major festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron, Piano aux Jacobins in Toulouse, and Verbier Festival. Mr. Babayan performs with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the London Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Warsaw Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the New World Symphony.
His engagements and tours have brought him to preeminent international concert venues including Carnegie Hall in New York, the Warsaw Philharmony, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Herkulessaal in Munich, Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg, Konzerthaus Berlin, Beethovenhalle Bonn, Rudolfinum-Dvorak Hall in Prague, Victora Hall in Geneva and many others.
Sergei Babayan is a Deutsche Grammophon exclusive artist; his latest 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), taking ‘the piano duo to a new level: If all music was like this, there would be no sorrow in the world.’ (Norman Lebrecht, MyScena). Mr. Babayan’s performances have been broadcast by Radio France, Polish Radio and Television, 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.