Most pianists do not touch treacherous musical real estate such as these, but this pianist dives in head first, throws caution to the wind, and shows the world that he deserves the volcanic praise he has earned as a performing artist. Known as a master of the miniature form, Yerzhanov also presents the complete Cinderella Suites on this extraordinary recording.
"One set of superlatives caught my eye amid the many reviews gathered from all over the world that are included in the promotional material that accompanied the album. It is taken from Classical Music Encounters, Irvine, California and says, "Temirzhan has performed Prokofiev with such precision, tenderness, and depth, it is as if the composer himself was at the piano."
"This is high praise indeed when you consider that Prokofiev was arguably one of the most accomplished pianists the world has ever seen. Expressions such as "unbelievable," "mastery," "stupendous," "breathtaking," "astounding," and "outstanding" populate the review sheet for this extraordinary talent."
--Jeff Perkins, BlogCritics.corg
Album program notes by Temirzhan Yerzhanov:
There is a less known period in Sergei Prokofiev’s life; during WWII he spent almost a year in Kazakhstan and it was a time that was marked by the creation of several of his masterpieces.
The main purpose of the composer’s arrival to Almaty was his work on the soundtrack music for Sergei Eisenstein’s movie Ivan the Terrible. While there, Prokofiev wrote the Cinderella ballet, the Sonata for Flute and Piano, several movie soundtracks and piano transcriptions, and completed the score for the opera War and Peace.
The event that compelled me to record this disc was held in my home city in 2003: the commemorative recital, called “Prokofiev.Almaty.1942-1943”, featured the three suites from Cinderella, now presented on this disc. The other piece is Prokofiev’s earlier work - the original transcription of his popular Classical Symphony, which curiously has not been fully recorded before.
‘’No doubt he is a rare phenomenon among pianists”, reads an Orpheus International
review of Temirzhan Yerzhanov’s Gewandhaus debut recital. Praised for ‘’the powerful dynamism and sheer inexhaustible energy with which he captivates his audiences”, he started his career by winning the First Prize and Gold Medal at the XIth International Robert Schumann Piano Competition 1993 in Zwickau, Germany, one of the most respected in the world. The first pianist from the unknown Kazakhstan on an international stage, Mr.Yerzhanov since then has become popular not only in his home country, but also has toured in Germany, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, the USA, China and India.
As soloist, Yerzhanov has appeared with such orchestras as Zwickauer Philharmonisches, The Kazakh Philharmonic, Soloists of Moscow Radio Tchaikovsky Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, Kazakh Abai Opera and Astana National Opera Orchestras, San Luis Obispo Symphony, New American Chamber, The Symphony Orchestra of India, TuranAlem Philharmonic and many others. Conductors he has played under include Vladimir Fedoseev, Lothar Seyfarth, Fuat Mansurov, Michael Morgan and Johannes Wildner.
He has performed in a wide range of venues such as Berlin Konzerthaus and Leipzig Gewandhaus, Moscow Conservatory’s Grand, Small and Rachmaninov Halls, Schumann and Tchaikovsky Memorial Houses, Dresden Sempergalerie, Paris’ Salle Pleyel, Moscow and St Petersburg Philharmonic Halls, New York’s Merkin Hall, Bombay National Performing Center, and many others.
BBC Radio, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Russian State Television Culture Channel, Capital Radio Sacramento, KCBX Public Radio, Khabar Television and Kazakh State Television and Radio have featured this outstanding artist on their broadcasts. Deutsche Radio Berlin and Hong Kong State Radio have made Yerzhanov’s studio recordings and also presented him in live broadcasts and talk shows. He has garnered many enthusiastically favorable reviews for his first solo CD album of Schumann’s works released by RCD label.
Mr. Yerzhanov has also established himself as a collaborative artist and ensemble musician. Russia’s leading music magazine Muzykalnaya Zhizn lauded his special interest in vocal music: “Only a few pianists are capable of being ‘at one’ with the singer, to be a creator and an artist. As an example for others - brilliant Temirzhan Yerzhanov”. He has given numerous concerts, performing with well-known artists such as male alto Erik Kurmangaliev, clarinetist Michael Collins, soprano Elena Kelessidi, violinist Marat Bisengaliev.
A diverse musician, Yerzhanov is at home in classical and contemporary repertories. He tirelessly premieres new works almost in every concert. His most memorable projects were Rossini’s Petite Messe Sollennele and the jubilee recital Prokofiev. Almaty.1942-1943, featuring all the piano scores that the composer wrote during his residency in Kazakhstan. His New York debut at Merkin Hall was marked by the world premiere of Almas Serkebaev’s Concerto No. 3 and his San Francisco debut recital included the US premiere of Igor Khudoley’s Boris Godunov Suite, a work both virtuosic and profound.
A native of Almaty, Temirzhan Yerzhanov studied since his early years in Moscow at the Central Music School and later graduated there from the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory under Professor Mikhail Voskressensky. While a student, he was awarded the Albert Russel Prize of Paris Ecole Normal Conservatoire
at the International Piano Competition in Senigallia, Italy.
Upon graduation he was honored to become a faculty member of his alma mater. Having held this position for four years, he moved to the USA in 2002 to develop his career in a new direction. The Economist noted then: "Temirzhan Yerzhanov is leaving Russia to make his career in the United States. Other pianists - Dmitri Alexeev, Andrey Gavrilov and Mikhail Pletnev - have preferred international performing careers”
Gaining immediate respect in the US, San Francisco Classical Voice named Yerzhanov The Best Performer of 2007 as the only instrumental soloist together with Angela Gheorghiu and San Francisco Opera, Artemis Quartet, Medieval Trio, and the Mark Morrison Dance Group.
The current season is marked with concerts at Schumannfest in Bonn, recitals in San Francisco, Bishkek, Zwickau and Fraureuth in Germany, Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Diablo Symphony, a recital at the Moscow Conservatory, featured on national Radio Russia and broadcast by classical music network Orpheus Radio, concerts in the UK. His debut recital at the Wigmore Hall in London on May 24, 2009 marks the official release and presentation of his upcoming CD release.
Mr. Yerzhanov now resides in London.