The Russian-American pianist Sergey Schepkin has performed around the globe, from the United States to Europe 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 at the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center, Celebrity Series of Boston, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, Boston's Emmanuel Music, the LACMA and Maestro Series in Los Angeles, the Grand and Chamber Philharmonic Halls in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Sumida Triphony Hall in Tokyo, among many other places.
Schepkin’s immense repertoire includes solo, concerto, and chamber works written over the past four hundred years. Schepkin is recognized as one of the world's foremost interpreters of keyboard works by Johann Sebastian Bach, and was hailed by The New York Times as "a formidable Bach pianist . . . [who] plays with the passion and drama of a young Glenn Gould." The Boston Phoenix once described him as "one of Boston's great treasures, a supremely intelligent pianist who plays Bach as well as anyone."
Schepkin has performed concertos with such conductors as Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Nikolai Alexeev, Max Hobart, Christian Knapp, Keith Lockhart, Jonathan McPhee, Edward Serov, and Vassily Sinaisky. A passionate chamber player, he has performed with many renowned instrumentalists, including the Borromeo, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, New Zealand, and Vilnius string quartets, as well as the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston, of which he was a founding member. He is a member of the Boston-based Trio Amici, where his partners are violinist Lucia Lin and cellist Owen Young, both members of the Boston Symphony. An advocate of new music, Schepkin earned Sofia Gubaidulina's praise for his interpretation of her piano Chaconne, and has collaborated with and premiered works by Alan Fletcher, Michael Gandolfi, and the late Daniel Pinkham, as well as by several American composers of a younger generation.
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Schepkin studied piano at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Alexandra Zhukovsky, Grigory Sokolov, and Alexander Ikharev, graduating summa cum laude in 1985. He gave his first full-length piano recital in 1978 and made his orchestral début with the St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonic Orchestra in 1984 under the baton of Vladislav Chernushenko. In 1987-89, he was Prof. Ekaterina Murina's assistant at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he also 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, Schepkin coached with the late legendary French-American pianist Paul Doguereau. Since 1993, Schepkin has taught piano for the New England Conservatory Department of Preparatory and Continuing Education; since 2003, he has also served as Associate Professor of Piano at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He taught as a Visiting Associate Professor of Music at Boston University in 2011-13. He has presented lectures-recitals and master classes at New England Conservatory, M.I.T., Longy School of Music, UCLA, the San Francisco Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, and other institutions of higher learning.
Schepkin's awards include 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, first prize in the 1978 International Competition for Young Musicians in Prague, the 1995 and 1999 Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Awards, the 1993, 1995, and 1999 St. Botolph Club Foundation Grants, the 1993 Harvard Musical Association Award, and the 1992 Presser Foundation Award. In 2003, he was awarded the Maestro Foundation Genius Grant. His Bach Partitas recordings were nominated for the Indie Award in 1997 and 1998. In 2001, the International Piano magazine selected his recording of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier I as one of the best ever made. Schepkin's 2008 (second) recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations was released in Japan by King International in November 2010, and was nominated as the Editor's Choice by the Geijutsu arts magazine shortly thereafter. His CD featuring the complete late works by Brahms appeared on the same label in October 2011. A CD of three Schumann song cycles with Darren Chase, baritone, is forthcoming on Arabesque Records.
Sergey Schepkin is a Steinway Artist. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
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Photography by Kathy Chapman