Sergey Schepkin, piano and harpsichord
Sergey Schepkin has concertized worldwide, from the United States to Europe to Russia to Japan to New Zealand. He 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.
Mr. 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.” In its review of Mr. 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 over twenty years, he 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. His second recording of Bach’s 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, was acclaimed by the Gramophone magazine and 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 also been warmly received.
Mr. Schepkin is a recipient of numerous grants and awards, and a prizewinner of several national and 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 (“Concertino-Praga”). 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. An advocate of new music, Mr. Schepkin earned Sofia Gubaidulina’s praise for his interpretation of her piano Chaconne, and has collaborated with composers Leonardo Balada, Julia Carey, Alan Fletcher, Michael Gandolfi, Nancy Galbraith, John Harbison, Daniel Pinkham, and Christopher Trapani. 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.
A naturalized American, Mr. Schepkin was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. He studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Alexandra Zhukovsky, Grigory Sokolov, and Alexander Ikharev, graduating summa cum laude in 1985. There, he also was Ekaterina Murina’s assistant in 1987-89, and taught on the piano faculty 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, Mr. Schepkin also studied with the legendary French-American pianist Paul Doguereau.
A sought-after educator, Mr. Schepkin has presented master classes and lecture-recitals throughout the USA and abroad. He is a Professor of Piano and piano division chair at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he has taught since 2003. He also teaches at the New England Conservatory School of Preparatory and Continuing Education, as well as privately, in Boston. Mr. Schepkin has also taught in the piano departments at the Boston Conservatory, the University of Iowa, Boston University, and MIT, as well as in the music history department at New England Conservatory. He has judged multiple piano competitions throughout the US, and was on the jury of the 2018 Los Angeles International Piano Competition.
This past season, Mr. Schepkin launched his own concert series, Glissando. Its 2018-19 season celebrated Bach’s 333rd birthday. The seven concerts of the series took place at the First Church in Boston and featured music by Bach and many other composers, from the Baroque to our day. Mr. Schepkin was joined by Deborah Boldin, flute; Robyn Bollinger, violin; Darren Chase, baritone; William Davidson, piano; Jason Horowitz, violin; Ian Lindsey, piano; Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello; and Owen Young, cello. This season, Glissando celebrates the upcoming 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth and focuses mainly on piano music, including the first two installments of the complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.
Sergey Schepkin is a Steinway Artist. He is based in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Photo credit: Michael Lutch