Sergei Babayan is a member of the CIM piano faculty and the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Gilliam Artist-in-Residence. Acclaimed for the immediacy, sensitivity and depth of his interpretations, Mr. Babayan’s performances reveal an emotional intensity and bold energy, equipping him to explore stylistically diverse repertoire.
Known for innovative programming, he often includes contemporary works of composers such as Lutoslawski, Ligeti and Part; extending the boundaries of the mainstream repertoire for which he’s acclaimed – excelling in Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann, and such Russian giants as Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Prokofiev. A student of such legendary teachers and musicians as Gornostayeva, Naumov, Pletnev and Vlasenko at the Moscow Conservatory, he was not permitted to leave the country to compete and study in the West. Following the collapse of the system, he was the first pianist from the former USSR able to compete without government sponsorship. Immediately following his first trip abroad, Mr. Babayan won consecutive first prizes in several major international competitions including the 1990 Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition (now the Cleveland International Piano Competition), 1990 Palm Beach International Piano Competition, 1991 Hamamatsu Piano Competition and the 1992 Scottish International Piano Competition. He is also a Laureate of the Esther Honens (Calgary, Canada), Busoni and Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competitions.
Mr. Babayan has had major engagements and concert tours throughout Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, South America, China and the U.S. His New York recitals at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, performances with The Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore and Detroit Symphony Orchestras have all been met with tremendous critical acclaim, as have his many subsequent recital and concerto performances throughout major cities in the U.S.
His concert schedule has included performances and broadcasts throughout major European cities and extensive tours of Japan. He has appeared in recital in such venues as Salle Gaveau (Paris), Wigmore Hall (London), Carnegie Hall (New York), Philharmonic Hall (Warsaw), Severance Hall (Cleveland), Bolshoy Zal of the Moscow Conservatory (Moscow), Mariinsky Theatre (St. Petersburg), Herkulessaal (Munich), Liederhalle (Stuttgart), Meistersingerhalle (Nurnberg), Konzerthaus (Berlin) Brahmsallee (Karlsruhe), Beethovenhalle (Bonn) and many others.
Mr. Babayan has appeared at major music festivals in France, Germany, the UK, Poland, Spain, China and the U.S. His concerts have ben broadcast by WQXR, WCLV, Radio France, Polish Radio and Television, BBC-TV and NHK Satellite Television. He has made several highly praised recordings for the EMC, Connoisseur Society and Pro Piano labels. A deep interest in and love for Bach’s music recently led him to study with Helmuth Rilling. Mr. Babayan has also studied conducting in order to deepen his understanding of the orchestra. In this role, he has conducted music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Schnittke, Part, Vasks, Schedrin and Prokofiev. Mr. Babayan was invited by Valery Gergiev to perform at the international “Stars of the White Nights Festival” in St. Petersburg with the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre. The performance was received with great audience enthusiasm and was highly acclaimed in the major Russian press. Highlights of next season include performances at the Prague Spring Festival and with the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Valery Gergiev at the Barbican Hall.