Sergei Prokofiev was a prodigy. At the age of thirteen, he had already composed a small opera, one symphony and two piano sonatas. The son of an engineer, he began music with two teachers: his mother for the piano and Reinhold Glière for composition. He then attended Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Anatoly Lyadov, and Alexander Tcherepnin’s classes at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. A virtuoso pianist, he began his career with an astounding second piano concerto, which caused a sensation in the musical world.
During a competition in 1916, Sergei Prokofiev created a scandal with his Scythian Suite causing Glazunov to leave the jury. Naturally wild, the composer fled Russia and lived in the United States from 1918 to 1923 where he had the first production of The Love for Three Oranges performed in Chicago. In 1923, between his numerous journeys, he settled in Paris where musical activity was intense. Although he was admired by the musical milieu, Prokofiev took little interest in French music. He only seemed to find favour with Maurice Ravel.
Honoured or disgraced, Sergei Prokofiev’s music is one of the most singular of his era. Using rhythms, popular melodies and harmonic harshness, the composer can switch from methodical violence to classical elegance. A virtuoso and a versatile man, Prokofiev left behind dynamic music, which always sidesteps vulgarity or conventionalism. Rabatet rightly noted that the composer offered, “An exciting countenance of a wild youth who, totally unrefined, had escaped from his steppes and ferociously eclipsed his compatriot and elder, Igor Stravinsky”.
New World Symphony
With the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner
And the Symphony No. 1 by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Lahav Shani
In recital at the Berliner Philharmonie
Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Symphony Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater – The complete Prokofiev symphonies. Moscow Easter Festival
Verbier Festival 2010
Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela – Lucerne Festival at Easter 2010
Verbier Festival 2010
Lucerne Festival 2009
2009 Nobel Prize Concert
Archives from the 1960s
Agnès Letestu (Cinderella), José Martinez (The movie star) – Corps de Ballet de l'Opéra national de Paris
With Aurélia Schaefer (Cinderella), Francesco Nappa (Prince), Bernice Coppieters (Fairy/Mother) – Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
Philippe Calvario (stage director), Tugan Sokhiev (conductor)
Recital at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Inside Chamber Music