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Biography

Sergey Schepkin has performed worldwide, from the United States to Europe to Russia to Japan to New Zealand. He made his Carnegie Hall recital début in 1993 (at Weill Recital Hall) to an enthusiastic reception from the audience and The New York Times, and has performed for the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center; Celebrity Series of Boston; at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; the LACMA and Maestro Chamber Series in Los Angeles; London’s Steinway Hall and Proms at St Jude’s Festival; National Concert Hall in Dublin; the Sibelius Academy and the White Hall in Helsinki; the Norwegian Music Academy in Oslo; the Grand and Chamber Philharmonic Halls in St. Petersburg; and the Sumida Triphony Hall in Tokyo, to name just a few places.

Schepkin’s vast repertoire includes solo, concerto, and chamber works written over the past four hundred years. He is a renowned interpreter of keyboard works by Johann Sebastian Bach, and was hailed by The New York Times as “a formidable Bach pianist . . . [who] plays . . . with the clarity of a harpsichordist and the passion and drama of a young Glenn Gould”. In its review of Schepkin’s recital of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier II, The Boston Globe described him as “an artist of uncommon, almost singular capability and integrity”. For the past twenty years, Schepkin has been embarked on a large-scale project that aims to record Bach’s entire keyboard output on the modern piano while having historical performance practice as a source of inspiration. His 1995 début CD of Bach’s Goldberg Variations was featured on the Fanfare Magazine Want List, and his Bach Partitas recordings were nominated for the Indie Award in 1997 and 1998. In 2001, International Piano selected his album of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier I as one of the best recordings of that work ever made. Schepkin’s second recording of the Goldberg Variations was released in Japan in November 2010, and was nominated as the Editor’s Choice by the Geijutsu arts magazine shortly thereafter. His album of Bach’s French Suites and two Fantasias and Fugues was released on the Steinway & Sons label in November 2014 to enthusiastic reviews; it was featured as the CD of the Week by WGBH (Boston Public Radio), and named one of the CDs of the Year by the Boston Musical Intelligencer. His second recording of Bach’s Partitas, released by Steinway & Sons in July 2016, got an enthusiastic review in the Gramophone magazine and was featured as the CD of the Week by WCRB (Classical Radio Boston). His recordings of Schumann (Lieder cycles with baritone Darren Chase), Brahms (the complete late piano works), Mussorgsky and Rachmaninoff (“Pictures at an Exhibition” and seven Preludes, respectively), Debussy (Preludes I, Images I, and three other works), and Schnittke (the First and Second Violin Sonatas with Joanna Kurkowicz, violin) have been warmly received as well.

Schepkin is a recipient of numerous grants and awards, and a prizewinner of several international competitions, including the first and Chopin prizes in the 1999 New Orleans International Piano Competition, top prizes in the 1988 Crown Princess Sonja and 1985 All-Russia piano competitions, as well as first prize in the 1978 International Competition for Young Musicians in Prague. He has performed concerti with Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Nikolai Alexeev, Max Hobart, Christian Knapp, Keith Lockhart, Jonathan McPhee, Edward Serov, and Vassily Sinaisky. A passionate chamber musician, he has performed with many renowned instrumentalists, including the Borromeo, New Zealand, and Vilnius string quartets. He was a founding member of the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston, with which he now performs as a guest artist; recent performances included the complete Bach Brandenburg Concerti with Schepkin as the harpsichordist. An advocate of new music, Schepkin earned Sofia Gubaidulina’s praise for his interpretation of her piano Chaconne, and has collaborated with Leonardo Balada, Alan Fletcher, Michael Gandolfi, Nancy Galbraith, John Harbison, Daniel Pinkham, and Christopher Trapani.

A naturalized American, Schepkin was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. His musical pedigree is a synthesis of the three great pianistic traditions: Russian, German-American, and French. His initial studies were at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Alexandra Zhukovsky, Grigory Sokolov, and Alexander Ikharev, from where he graduated summa cum laude in 1985; in 1987-89, he was Professor Ekaterina Murina’s assistant at that institution, and he also taught on the piano faculty there in 1988-90. After his move to the United States in 1990, he studied with Russell Sherman at New England Conservatory in Boston, where he earned an Artist Diploma in 1992 and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1999. In 1994-98, Schepkin was coached by the late legendary French-American pianist Paul Doguereau.

A sought-after teacher, Schepkin has presented master classes throughout the USA and abroad. He is a tenured Associate Professor of Piano at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he has taught since 2003 (he will become a full Professor as of July 1, 2017). He also teaches at the New England Conservatory School of Preparatory and Continuing Education, as well as privately, in Boston. He was appointed as a Visiting Associate Professor of Music at Boston University in 2011-13, taught at the Boston Conservatory in 2006-07, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Iowa in 1997-98. He was a member of the New England Conservatory Department of Music History in 1995-2006 and taught piano in the MIT music program in 2014-16. He judged the Los Angeles Young Musicians Piano Competition in 2015 and 2016 and is frequently invited to judge Honors piano competitions at New England Conservatory.

Upcoming concerts will include his fourth and last recital of complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin with his eminent Carnegie Mellon colleague Prof. Cyrus Forough; a solo recital for the Indian Hill Arts at the Kalliroscope Gallery in Groton, MA; as well as several chamber performances at Carnegie Mellon.

Sergey Schepkin is a Steinway Artist. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.