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 Announcement, New Evgeny Kissin Henle Publications

KissinHenle Verlag is pleased to announce that it is now the exclusive music publisher of compositions by world-renowned pianist Evgeny Kissin. Though it is not common knowledge, Kissin has been composing since his early childhood. His global piano career has at times interrupted his compositional process, but a few years ago he began composing intensively once more. Ideas and fragments from his earlier years emerge in these new published works, which are informed by a variety of styles. After being encouraged by prestigious composers and musicians (including Arvo Pärt and Steven Isserlis), he is now venturing into publication.

Henle have now published three of Kissin’s compositions: Four Piano Pieces, Op. 1, Sonata for Violoncello and Piano, Op. 2, and String Quartet, Op. 3. Henle are well known for their Urtext editions exclusively of composers of the past. No contemporary music has been published until now. These new Kissin publications are an absolute first in the history of Henle, where otherwise only established classics are published. These editions have been created in strict accordance to their usual rules governing music engraving and production, meaning that musicians now have the opportunity to discover Evgeny Kissin as a composer.

Who is Evgeny Kissin?

KissinEvgeny Kissin is a Russian classical pianist, widely known as one of the greatest living performers. Born in 1971, he began to play by ear and improvise on the piano at the age of two, and at six years old he entered a school for gifted children, where he was a student of Anna Pavlovna Kantor, the only teacher he has ever studied with. He had a natural desire to compose music from childhood, and as soon as he learned to read music, he started to notate his compositions.

Kissin is especially known for his interpretations of works from the Romantic era, in particular Brahms, Liszt, Schumann, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Beethoven, and Schubert. He is commonly viewed as a great successor of the Russian piano school due to the depth, lyricism and poetic quality found in his interpretations.

The Compositions

KissinRegarding his compositions, Kissin in an interview with Henle explained:

“…First I wrote the four pieces for piano solo [op. 1], one of which, the “Toccata” I originally started to write down in 1986. But then I stopped after only a few lines. When I finished these piano pieces the admired composer Arvo Pärt gave me some precious advice about the “Meditation” [op. 1, nr. 1] which was absolutely right. So I made some corrections.

Afterwards I began to send my music to various musicians, performers, not hoping for anything. I asked them: “Please tell me honestly if you like it or not; I want to know it”. And most people told me that they not only liked it, but they would be happy to play it – and they did play it afterwards.”

His works have already been performed in public. Steven Isserlis has performed his Sonata for Cello and Piano (Op. 2) several times in different countries. Also David Geringas and Gautier Capuçon together with Yuja Wang played the cello sonata at the Verbier Festival. The Kopelman Quartet have recorded Kissin’s String Quartet (Op. 3) and the Endellion Quartet gave the UK premiere in Cambridge.

Watch the videos below to hear from Evgeny Kissin and listen to one of his compositions being played.

A cycle of four piano pieces. The Toccata is an insanely virtuosic tour de force in a jazz-inspired idiom and has already occasionally been heard performed as an encore at his concerts. The titles Meditation and Dodecaphonic Tango perfectly illustrate the respective moods of these expressive character pieces. The unpretentious Intermezzo grants performer and audience a brief moment of contemplation before the Toccata.

Available Format: Sheet Music

This single-movement sonata for cello and piano, Evgeny Kissin’s Opus 2, evokes a sombre, melancholic ballad. The approximately ten-minute work places high demands on both instrumentalists in its execution. Having rehearsed the sonata in close consultation with the composer and performed it, Steven Isserlis contributes fingerings and bowings in an additional cello part. A marvellous addition to the cello repertoire!

Available Format: Sheet Music

Redolent of the work of Dmitri Shostakovich in its musical language String Quartet op. 3 comprises four strongly contrasting movements. All movements are informed by dodecaphonic harmonies. This demanding fifteen-minute work was composed in 2015–16 and recorded for the first time on Nimbus Records by the Kopelman Quartet.

Available Format: Sheet Music

Study Score for String Quartet Op. 3.

Available Format: Sheet Music