Evgeny Kissin, The Gift Of Music

A film by Christopher Nupen

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Program notes

In recent years, Evgeny Kissin has amazed us with his virtuosity, incomparable charisma, and meteoric rise to the top of the international concert circuit. Few musical careers have climbed so high so fast!

Evgeny Igorevich Kissin was born in Moscow on October 10, 1971 to an engineer father and piano teacher mother. He began playing the piano at the age of two, when he was barely big enough to reach the keys. It soon became clear that his gifts were truly exceptional, and at the age of six, his parents placed him in the Moscow Gnessin School of Music for Gifted Children. There he encountered Anna Pavlovna Kantor, an educator who profoundly influenced his artistic development, remaining his teacher and mentor right up to the arrival of Kissin's international fame.

In this documentary, Kissin prepares, discusses, and rehearses for his now famous concerts of the summer of 1997, concerts that are themselves included here on film. We also watch Kissin in his historic Royal Albert Hall recital of the same year, the first solo recital in the 100-year history of the Proms. While a potentially perilous bet on the part of the BBC, it proved well worth the risk: never had a larger audience (nearly 6,000 people) filled the Royal Albert Hall for Proms! At the end of the concert, Kissin played the longest series of encores in Proms history.

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