Evgeny Kissin not only has dazzling virtuosity and unmistakable star-appeal, his meteoric rise to the top of the international concert circuit has seldom been equalled. There have been few careers in music that have climbed so high, so fast.
Evgeny Igorevich Kissin was born in Moscow on the 10th of October 1971; his father an engineer and his mother a piano teacher. He started to play the piano at the age of two, as soon as he was tall enough to reach the keyboard, as he demonstrates in the film. It soon became clear that his gift for music was exceptional and that it reached far beyond what is generally thought of as musical precocity. So his parents took him, at the age of six, to the Moscow Gnessin School of Music for Gifted Children. It was there that he met Anna Pavlovna Kantor who was to have a profound effect on his development. She remained his mentor from the age of six until he had achieved maturity and world-wide fame and remains a guiding friend to this day. For a pupil-teacher relationship to remain so close for so long is probably unprecedented at this level.
The film shows Kissin in preparation, interview, rehearsal and performance with several dazzling performances shot live on stage, in true concert conditions, where this captivating artist is undoubtedly at his best. The film also contains footage from Kissin's memorable Promenade concert at the Royal Albert Hall in August 1997. This was the first Prom in the 103-year history of the Promenade Concerts to be given by a solo recitalist and it attracted the biggest audience in all of those 103 years; very nearly six thousand people. A leading London manager described it as having generated more enthusiasm than any other London recital during the past fifty years.
The music is by Liszt, Gluck, Haydn, Beethoven, Kissin, Schubert and Chopin, the composer for whom Kissin feels the closest affinity. At the end of his Albert Hall recital Evgeny Kissin played the longest succession of encores in the history of the Proms.
The first solo piano recital in the BBC Proms's history (1997)