The long and fruitful collaboration between Sergei Babayan and Valery Gergiev started in 2006 with a performance of Witold Lutosławski's concerto at the Stars of the White Nights festival. The pianist remembers his first performance with Valery Gergiev: “This concert was one of the most memorable, interesting, and risky concerts in my entire life…I had a feeling that I was next to a dragon with an uncanny sense of rhythm, which infects everything around him.”
Today, Sergei Babayan is an internationally famous pianist and exclusive artist of the Deutsche Grammophon record label. London’s The Times has hailed his “technical brilliance and imaginative delight,” while Le Figaro has praised his “unequaled touch, perfectly harmonious phrasing and breathtaking virtuosity.” Le Devoir from Canada ended its review of Sergei Babayan’s concert simply: "Sergei Babayan is a genius. Period."
Babayan has proven his piano skills at prestigious international competitions, such as the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, the Cleveland International Piano Competition, the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, and the Scottish International Piano Competition. Babayan went on to establish his own piano school, which follows the steps of Lev Naumov’s, Vera Gornostayeva’s, and Mikhail Pletnev’s schools. Sergei Babayan’s teaching genius has given the world a plethora of young talented pianists, among whom is Daniil Trifonov, now a world-renowned pianist.
Two maestros, Babayan and Gergiev, will once again perform together at the December 22 concert. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 will be performed with the accompaniment of the Mariinsky Orchestra and will pass through the lens of the pianist’s virtuoso piano identity, in which he seeks to achieve jeweller-like precision. Mozart’s music vision, so full of life and so unique, closely resembles Sergei Babayan’s belief that “artists must work incessantly. It is one of the most important and valuable abilities of an artist for me. So that they wouldn’t turn into something dead behind the glass, but stay alive and active.” This is also what makes each concert of the pianist so different from his previous one.