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”.
Académie Musicale Philippe Jaroussky
Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 125 – First Movement
Legend of Armenia at the Opéra Comique
Verbier Festival 2013 – With Evgeny Kissin, Yuja Wang, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon...
Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra
Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Vladimir Vasiliev… — Ballet du Bolshoï
London Symphony Orchestra, 1971-1977
Verbier Festival 2008
Waldbühne 2007: Rhapsodies – Berliner Philharmoniker
La Roque d'Anthéron 2004
Valery Gergiev in Rehearsal with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra