Isabelle Faust & Alexander Melnikov


Biography Isabelle Faust & Alexander Melnikov



Isabelle Faust
captivates her audience with her compelling interpretations. She dives deep into every piece considering the musical historical context, historically appropriate instruments and the greatest possible authenticity according to a contemporary state of knowledge. Thus, she manages to constantly illuminate and passionately perform the repertoire of a wide variety of composers.

After winning the renowned Leopold Mozart Competition and the Paganini Competition at a very young age, she soon gave regular performances with the world’s major orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Baroque Orchestra Freiburg.

This led to close and sustained cooperation with conductors like Claudio Abbado, Giovanni Antonini, Frans Brüggen, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Philippe Herreweghe, Andris Nelsons and Robin Ticciati.

Isabelle Faust’s vast artistic curosity includes all eras and forms of instrumental cooperation. Thus she never considers music as an end in itself but rather advances the piece’s essence in a devoted, subtle and conscientious way. In addition to big symphonic violin concertos this includes for instance Schubert’s octet with historical instruments as well as György Kurtág’s "Kafka Fragments" with Anna Prohaska or Igor Stravinsky’s "L’Histoire du Soldat" with Dominique Horwitz. With great commitment she renders an outstanding service to the performance of contemporary music. Premieres of Péter Eötvös, Brett Dean, Ondřej Adámek and Oscar Strasnoy are in preparation for the upcoming seasons.

Numerous recordings have been unanimously praised by critics and awarded the Diapason d’or, the Grammophone Award, the Choc de l’année and other prizes. The most recent recordings include Johann Sebastian Bach’s violin concertos with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s violin concerto with Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under the direction of Pablo Heras-Casado. In 2018, a recording with sonatas for violin and harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach was released, recorded with Kristian Bezuidenhout. Isabelle Faust presented further popular recordings among others of the Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo by Johann Sebastian Bach as well as violin concertos by Ludwig van Beethoven and Alban Berg under the direction of Claudio Abbado. She shares a long-standing chamber music partnership with the pianist Alexander Melnikov. Among others, joint recordings with sonatas for piano and violin by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven or Johannes Brahms have been released.

During the 2020/21 season Isabelle Faust is Artist in Residence at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

Alexander Melnikov
graduated from the Moscow Conservatory under Lev Naumov. His most formative musical moments in Moscow include an early encounter with Svjatoslav Richter, who thereafter regularly invited him to festivals in Russia and France. He was awarded important prizes at eminent competitions such as the International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau (1989) and the Concours Musical Reine Elisabeth in Brussels (1991).

Known for his often-unusual musical and programmatic decisions, Alexander Melnikov developed his career-long interest in historically-informed performance practice early on. His major influences in this field include Andreas Staier and Alexei Lubimov. Melnikov performs regularly with distinguished period ensembles including the Freiburger Barockorchester, Musica Aeterna and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

As a soloist, Alexander Melnikov has performed with orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Philadelphia Orchestra, NDR Sinfonieorchester, HR-Sinfonieorchester, Russian National Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre des Champs-Élysées and the NHK Symphony, under conductors such as Mikhail Pletnev, Teodor Currentzis, Charles Dutoit, Paavo Järvi and Valery Gergiev.

Together with Andreas Staier, Alexander Melnikov recorded a unique all-Schubert programme of four-hand pieces, which they have also performed in concert. An essential part of Melnikov’s work is intensive chamber music collaboration with partners including cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.

Alexander Melnikov’s association with the label harmonia mundi arose through his regular recital partner, violinist Isabelle Faust, and in 2010 their complete recording of the Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano won a Gramophone Award. This album, which has become a landmark recording for these works, was also nominated for a Grammy. Their most recent releases feature the Brahms and Mozart sonatas for violin and piano.

Melnikov’s recording of the Preludes and Fugues by Shostakovich was awarded the BBC Music Magazine Award, Choc de classica and the Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. In 2011, it was also named by the BBC Music Magazine as one of the “50 Greatest Recordings of All Time.” Additionally, his discography features works by Brahms, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Scriabin. Along with Isabelle Faust, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Pablo Heras-Casado and the Freiburger Barockorchester, Melnikov recorded a trilogy of albums featuring the Schumann Concertos and Trios. Other releases include a recording of Prokofiev’s piano sonatas, a recording released in June 2017 with Chausson and Franck repertoire and “Four Pieces, Four Pianos”, which has been released in 2018 and has since then been highly acclaimed by critics.

In the 2020/21 season Alexander Melnikov will tour his project “Many Pianos”, where he performs a solo recital on different instruments reflecting the periods in which the works were written. In addition to concerts with Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, he continues his close collaboration with Tapiola Sinfonietta.

Further highlights include performances at Bozar Brussels and Concertgebouw Amsterdam, recitals in Paris, Dortmund and Tokyo, as well as concerts with Cuarteto Casals, Isabelle Faust and Jean-Guihen Queyras.

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