Valery Kuleshov was born in 1962 in Chelyabinsk. He studied at the Moscow TsSSMSh, at the age of 9 he performed for the first time with a symphony orchestra in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Graduated from the Russian Academy of Music. Gnesinykh (1996) and postgraduate studies at the State Jewish Academy. Maimonides (1998), trained in Italy.
Communication with such remarkable musicians as Dmitry Bashkirov, Nikolai Petrov and Vladimir Tropp, as well as with German teachers Karl Ulrich Schnabel and Leon Fleischer, prepared an excellent ground for revealing the pianist’s talent, and brilliant victories at prestigious music competitions gave impetus to the development of a performing career.
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His first great success was his participation in the F. Busoni International Piano Competition in Italy (1987), where V. Kuleshov was awarded the II prize and also received a gold medal. In 1993, at the IX International Competition. W. Clyburn (USA) he received a silver medal and a special prize for the best performance of a work by an American composer. The pianist’s performance at the final round of the competition evoked enthusiastic responses from the press. In 1997 he was awarded the title of Honored Artist of Russia, and a year later he became the only winner of the Pro Piano International Piano Competition in New York, after which he was invited to perform a solo concert at Carnegie Hall.
The name of Valery Kuleshov adorns the posters of the largest concert halls in Russia, the USA, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand … He performs with leading symphony orchestras in Moscow and St. Petersburg, orchestras in the USA (Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, Memphis , Pasadena, Montevideo), UK countries. He has performed at festivals and recitals in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Pasadena, Helsinki, Montpellier, Munich, Bonn, Milan, Rimini, Davos. He has toured Australia three times, culminating in a performance with the Melnburg Symphony Orchestra in front of an audience of 25 at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl. At the invitation of Vladimir Spivakov, the pianist took part in the festival in Colmar (France). Every year Valery Kuleshov gives concerts in Russia.
The pianist has recorded 8 CDs with solo and orchestral programs at Melodiya, JVC Victor, MCA Classic, Philips, etc.
One of Kuleshov’s most significant works is the solo disc “Hommage a Horowitz” (Dedication to Horowitz), released by the Swedish company BIS. The album includes transcriptions of works by Liszt, Mendelssohn and Mussorgsky. Using records and cassettes with Horowitz’s recordings, Valery deciphered by ear and began to perform unpublished transcriptions of the famous pianist in concerts. Hearing his own transcriptions performed by a young musician, the great maestro responded with an enthusiastic letter: “… I am not only delighted with your fantastic performance, but I congratulate you on the finest ear and great patience with which you, listening to my recordings, deciphered note by note and wrote out the scores of my unpublished transcriptions” (November 6, 1987). Horowitz was delighted with Kuleshov’s playing and offered him free lessons, but the unexpected death of the great musician ruined these plans. The genre of piano transcription still occupies a large place in the pianist’s repertoire.
The pianist possesses not only a unique technique, but also that inner strength that makes even the most familiar pieces sound fresh and convincing. According to the musicians, “Kuleshov’s playing is now somewhat reminiscent of the unforgettable Emil Gilels’ playing: the same nobility of sound, austerity of taste and virtuoso perfection.”
In concert programs most often V. Kuleshov performs works by Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin. A significant place in his repertoire is also given to classical and modern music. Along with solo concerts, he performs in a piano duet with his daughter Tatyana Kuleshova.
Since 1999, Valery Kuleshov has been teaching and conducting master classes at the University of Central Oklahoma (USA). Working with young talents revealed another facet of the musician’s creativity.
Source: Moscow Philharmonic website