Nikolai Demidenko

Nikolai Demidenko’s passionate virtuosity and musicianship has brought him worldwide recognition. His repertoire is wide-ranging including  Bach, Clementi, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov,  Scarlatti an Shostakovich. Demidenko performs at the highest level with orchestras and conductors including St Petersburg Philharmonic and Yuri Temirkanov, Accademia Nazionale de Santa Cecilia and Charles Dutoit, Philharmonia Orchestra with Tughan Sokhiev, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony and Sylvain Cambreling and Orchestre National de France with Eivind Gullberg-Jensen. Nikolai Demidenko has recorded extensively, including award winning CDs of Chopin, Medtner and Scarlatti.

In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Surrey in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of Music and the University.

Nikolai Demidenko performs at the International Piano Series and makes his Belgrade recital debut

27 Oct 2015

The 2015/16 Southbank Centre International Piano Series will see Nikolai Demidenko make a welcome return on 3 November at St John’s Smith Square, London.  He devotes this recital to the works...

Nikolai Demidenko - Soloist-in-Residence at Queensland Symphony

08 Sep 2015

Building on a longstanding fruitful collaboration, Queensland Symphony Orchestra have announced Nikolai Demidenko as their ‘Soloist-in-Residence’ for the 2016 season.  As part of his...

Nikolai Demidenko returns to Singapore Symphony Orchestra

16 Jul 2015

A regular visitor to the...

Nikolai Demidenko tours Australia and New Zealand

30 May 2015

Embarking on a month long tour, Nikolai will perform a triple-set Chopin programme at Adelaide's Elder...

Nikolai Demidenko returns to Wigmore Hall

03 Jul 2014

A regular at Wigmore Hall, Nikolai Demidenko makes his next recital appearance on 5 July. The programme features works by Chopin, Rachmaninov and Medtner – Demidenko’s performances and recordings...

Nikolai Demidenko and Dmitri Alexeev perform piano duos at Milton Court, London

29 May 2014

Demidenko returns to Milton Court on 29 May sharing the stage with fellow Russian pianist Dmitri Alexeev to perform an exciting programme of piano duos including an arrangement by Alexeev of...

Nikolai Demidenko performs in the BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime series

27 Mar 2014

Nikolai Demidenko’s recital at LSO St Luke’s on 27 March forms part of the BBC’s Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert series.  Nikolai will be performing works by Glinka, Medtner, Blumenfield and...

Nikolai Demidenko returns to Stadttheater Aschaffenburg

07 Nov 2013

Nikolai Demidenko returns to Stadttheater Aschaffenburg on 15 November to play a recital of works by Medtner, Rachmaninov and Schubert.

Demidenko embarks on a UK recital tour

02 Oct 2013

Nikolai Demidenko travels the width and breadth of the United Kingdom performing a selection of varied works to much anticipated audiences.

Nikolai Demidenko and Sir Roger Norrington join forces

29 Aug 2013

Nikolai performs Chopin's Piano Concerto No 1 in Brussels, Warsaw and Helsinki with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the baton of Sir Roger Norrington.

Page 1 of 2

“Nikolai Demidenko is an extrordinary pianist.  His Belgrade recital debut was marked by an original and explosive interpretation which exceeded any predetermined expectations, leaving the audience highly rewarded.  Nikolai’s interpretations of Brahms and particularly Prokofiev were defined by a high degree of musical individuality. He is clearly a very sensitive performer.  He does not give in to empty virtuosity, rather he analises the structure and pays attention to the smallest of detail.  The real Nikolai Demidenko and his cosmic virtuosity appear with Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives - he is brilliantly focussed and exceeds at capturing the true essence of each of the changing moods.”

Danas (Kolarac Hall, Belgrade) - Nov 2015

“In a programme of Brahms and Prokofiev, the Russian Nikolai Demidenko’s pianism was heard there to its greatest advantage. Unlike some of his compatriots he’s no banger and even in the most muscular items his tone was always ingratiating — an impression enhanced by the pure-toned Fazioli he played.  Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Schumann allowed him to display his lyrical, tender qualities, with immaculately weighted chording on the expressive dissonances and their resolutions. The same composer’s Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor is a more youthful, demonstrative affair, but even while he bestrode the keyboard’s octaves with fiery brilliance, the playing was exhilarating, never oppressive.    In Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives, a set of miniatures offering a kaleidoscope of “fleeting visions”, Demidenko found the perfect register for each: jaunty, wistful, satirical by turns. Ending with Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 2 in D minor, he once again covered the whole emotional range without any ugliness of tone. It’s quite an achievement to suggest the defiance and savagery of Prokofiev without making the listener want to run for cover, but Demidenko managed it and had us wanting more. ”

Evening Standard (International Piano Series, St John's Smith Square, London) - Nov 2015

“Demidenko laid out the soulful Theme [Brahms: The Variations on a Theme by Schumann] with restraint and nobility. The agitated climax of Variation VI was powerful and VIII had a simple, touching beauty. Throughout, Demidenko maintained direction and a sense of pulse.  Demidenko followed this with barely a break with Piano Sonata No.2, of youthful energy and teeming with ideas. In the richly textured first movement, Demidenko generated tremendous power. The following Andante showed Demidenko’s sensitivity and in the Scherzo he brought out its ingenuity. The masterful Finale began with an almost improvisatory-sounding opening, Demidenko maintaining contrast in the clashing harmonies and gleeful humour through to the seemingly quiet conclusion until two surprisefortissimo chords. Overall, this was a reading that matched poetry and brilliance.  After the interval, Demidenko offered Prokofiev, beginning with Visions Fugitives. As a custodian of the Russian pianistic tradition he was totally inside the music and able to capture its evanescent nature perfectly. Demidenko went straight into Sonata No.2, written when Prokofiev was nineteen. Demidenko gave the slightly too long first movement a sense of momentum and the short second playfulness as well as terrific punch. The Andante expressed elegiac lyricism and the Finale, with its rather bizarre tarantella, was filled with vitality.    ”

Classical Source (International Piano Series, St John's Smith Square, London) - Nov 2015

“In much of Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto, his right hand would gently touch the keys for delicate melodies, while his left hand pressed down for heavier Beethoven harmonies.  Demidenko's even chordal articulation for the second theme of the first movement produced a particulatly charming effect.”

San Francisco Classical Voice (California Theater, San Jose) - Oct 2015

“Demidenko revealed the intricate beauties and structures of the score, and the senses responded accordingly to his musical integrity. His articulation and knifelike rhythm are remarkably fine, his textures clear and free of neuroticism, as displayed in the cascade of cadences that open the powerful Allegro. His phrasing and meticulous inner-ear produce the prettier, brighter sounds of his generation, as found in the Adagio un poco mosso. He revelled in the beautiful life within the music with shades of tone in the Allegro ma non troppo that blossomed like a flower.”

Daily Democrat (California Theater, San Jose) - Oct 2015

“Russian pianist Nikolai Demidenko was superb in a much anticipated recital that gave a contemporary account of Chopin interpretation filled with spontaneity, personality and moments of rare brilliance… Demidenko's eloquent opening bracket interspersed the waltz and mazurka with clear exposition of the essential wit and charm of these beguiling dance forms. He breathes life into Chopin's degrees of freedom, unexpected little tricks and mercurial changes of mood.”

Sydney Morning Herald (Melbourne Recital Centre) - Jun 2015

“[...] Nikolai Demidenko performed a version of Prokofiev's Concerto Nr.2 that should be considered as reference, from the beginning the sound of the notes from the piano came out like bright pearls on top of the bright velvet ropes of the strings of the orchestra. Then came all the high difficulty and powerful sound full of control, in the peculiar development that Prokofiev wrote for the first movement. It is a huge cadenza not only for its duration: the brilliant arpeggios, the crossing of hands and other elements of brilliance that Prokofiev wrote on his own honor and glory were resolved with impeccable technique and profound musicality by Demidenko. Then, the playful irony of the Scherzo, the mock solemnity of the intermezzo and its virtuosic elements - those electrifying glissandi of the right hand with his left hand arpeggios- and the dense and growing intensity of the final Allegro tempestuoso, rounded a version of reference that will remain in the memory of the audience of A Coruña for a long time. [...]”

EL PAÍS (Palacio de la Opera, Coruna) - Mar 2015

“As with a number of top Russian pianists, he somehow gives the impression that his fingers are not so much hitting the keys as working them sculpturally, patiently easing the music from its hiding places. Chopin’s great C minor Nocturne, op. 48 no. 1, came across with all its granite bleakness, and Demidenko was fully alert to the individual characters of the others, especially Op. 55 no.2 with its Bach-like inner dialogues.”

Seen and Heard International (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff) - Feb 2015

“A recent review from the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest said of his Chopin Piano Concerto No1 :     Well, I can affirm the same things regarding Demidenko after I saw him on the stage. His presence is calm, serene... Once he sat at the piano, he was transposing himself in to another world, succeeding to transmit all those sensations that only Chopin’s music can do. Thinking of the guiding performance that I have in mind,  the version with Marta Argerich, which already was a role model for me, well, I discovered that my “ideal” was just being replaced that evening by Demidenko’s performance.  Why? Simple: Chopin is not heroic, Chopin is sensible! What else I could discover, by analogy with the heroic Martha Argerich or the virtuous Lang Lang: Demidenko “operates” with more moderate tempos, and this fits very well in Chopin’s music. Also, comparing to the style of the 2 pianists early mentioned, Demidenko is much more involved in what he performs, but, in the same time, he proves calm, serenity, refinement, and a delicate touch. In one word: Chopin.”

Actualitatea muzicala - Nov 2013

“Indeed, so inward and intimate was his playing at times that it felt as if we were eavesdropping on some private communion between performer and composer; yet the result never felt in any way short-changed. Often regarded as charming but small, the works in the first half seemed far more substantial than usual, Demidenko revealing their essential character in playing that was focused in execution and subtly gradated in colouring...The big C minor Sonata was on a much grander scale. Here Demidenko's playing took on a symphonic aspect that matched the almost orchestral richness of Schubert's textures in this ambitious and emotionally complex piece...The result had a dramatic breadth that never lost sight of voicing or colouring, maintaining a fine balance between a sustained overview and attention to smaller features in the landscape.”

The Guardian (Schubert, Wigmore Hall) - Jan 2012

“Demidenko’s showed in the first bars of the first Impromptu of the D899 group how big a canvas he proposed to work on: the bare opening chord was like a melancholy call to attention, with the answering phrase like a faint cry in the distance. His tone had a singing warmth, and his pace was gentle: the long sustained lines and the shifts between minor and major were brought out with ballade-like grace. The runs and scales of the second piece were so pearlised and swift that they went like the wind; the third – the rippling one everybody knows, even if they don’t know it’s by Schubert – and the arpeggiated fourth came and went in an exquisite blur. These are not virtuoso pieces, but they benefited enormously from Demidenko’s discreet virtuosity.”

The Independent (Schubert, Wigmore Hall) - Jan 2012

“Nikolai Demidenko’s account of the Concerto in E minor is searching and expansive, livening up with dancing lightness in the krakowiak-infused finale.”

BBC Music Magazine - Mar 2011

“There was more to this performance than barnstorming bravura. He made this vast, hour-long piece a study in musical contrasts, and revealed the astonishing fecundity of Beethoven's imagination... Ever alert to the volatile surface of the music, Demidenko also created a mysterious structural momentum that traversed the whole piece, and his performance illuminated the infinite possibilities contained within a single, simple tune.”

The Guardian (Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, The Barbican) - Oct 2004

“Chopin the poet of brief, highly charged statements and Chopin the master of heterodox large-scale composition are equally well served by this splendid disc. Some of Demidenko’s tempos are unusually slow. In other hands, they might lose momentum, but such is his muscular rhythmic strength and his sense of the singing line in both right and left hand that, with him, they never do. Demidenko’s command of touch, colour, texture, dynamics (tender as well as forceful) realise admirably the astonishing variety of the Préludes.”

The Guardian (Chopin Preludes; Sonata No 3 (Onyx)) - Nov 2008

“Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto demands high-voltage virtuosity, which it got from the Russian-born Nikolai Demidenko. From the haunting opening bars – darkly poised and pulsating – Demidenko put the Concerto's range of tone ahead of any superficial pianistic fireworks. Yet, though he was elusive and elegiac in the slow movement, he hurtled into the finale with bravura and a fearless pace as the Hallé flaunted its own fire and fury. It was electrifying but also poetic.”

The Independent (The Halle Orchestra, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester ) - Apr 2009

“...he is informed by Chopin’s contemporary practice and resources and he adapts the modern instrument to reveal an internal world of subtle introspection and dazzling virtuosity with captivating precision.”

Belfast Telegraphn (Chopin recital at the Ulster Hall) - Feb 2010

“If this was a different Chopin from the one we are used to, the way it was delivered took the breath away. Demidenko's virtuosity has nothing to do with Liszt-style playing-to-the-gallery. Supreme technical control and high-speed accuracy are its foundations. More to the point is the clarity with which he invests the most dense and complex structures and the expressive poetry he finds. The two Chopin Nocturnes he gave as encores at the end of this unforgettable recital were flawlessly beautiful. Why aren't the big labels competing to sign him?”

The Independent (International Piano Series Chopin and Schumann recital at the Queen Elizabeth Hall) - Apr 2010

Page 1 of 4

Nikolai Demidenko’s passionate virtuosity and musicianship has brought him worldwide recognition.

He is renowned for his authoritative concerto performances of over fifty concerti specificly those of Beethoven, Brahms, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky. Nikolai has worked with many renowned conductors and orchestras throughout the world including Yuri Temirkanov with the St Petersburg Philharmonic and Sir Roger Norrington with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment amongst others.  His recital repertoire is wide-ranging, including Bach, Chopin, Clementi, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Schubert and Scarlatti.

Nikolai Demidenko is currently ‘Soloist-in-Residence’ at Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 2016.  As part of his residency he will perform the complete Beethoven Piano Concerti, a chambermusic recital and conduct a masterclass.

Upcoming recital highlights in the 2015/16 season include a return performance at the International Piano Series in London, Belgrade’s Kolarac Concert Hall, The Philharmonic Society in Las Palmas, Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Berliner Klavierfestival at Konzerthaus Berlin and recitals across Australia including Hobart, Lauceston and Adelaide.  Frequent recitals at major London based venues have included the Great Performers series at the Barbican and recently in the London Pianoforte Series at Wigmore Hall.  In addition, Nikolai also appears at distinguished festivals around the world including Aldeburgh, Beijing, Dubrovnik, Eilat, Glasgow, New York, Oslo, Singapore and Warsaw.  Last summer Nikolai undertook a four week long tour to Australia and New Zealand performing a cycle of five different recital programmes and two concerto programmes to high acclaim from both critics and audiences alike.

Concerto highlights in recent and upcoming seasons include appearances across the globe, most notably with the Queensland Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, NCPA Orchestra Beijing, Melbourne Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Flanders Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, Singapore Symphony,  Orquesta Nacional de España, Sinfonieorchester St Gallen, Poznan Philharmonic, Ulster and Hallé orchestras and London Mozart Players

For Hyperion Records Nikolai Demidenko has recorded albums of Bach–Busoni, Chopin, Clementi, Liszt, Medtner, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Schubert and Schumann and concertos by Chopin, Medtner (which won a Gramophone Award), Scriabin, Tchaikovsky and Weber as well as the complete Prokofiev Concertos with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alexander Lazarev.  For the Munich-based AGPL label he has recorded Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata, a collection of Scarlatti sonatas and a Chopin CD which won the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik.  Autumn 2008 saw the release of a new Chopin CD, including his first recording of the Twenty-four Preludes, for Onyx Classics. This CD won the MIDEM 2010 Special Chopin Award for a new recording.

In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Surrey in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of Music and the University. 

November 2015