Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky “possesses one of the most complete and remarkable keyboard arsenals of our day,” as critic Lawrence A. Johnson of the Chicago Classical Review described his performance with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in March at Symphony Center. For that concert, under Yuri Temirkanov, Lugansky offered Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 and displayed “massive sonority and faultless technique to the concerto’s daunting demands, encompassing the stormy eruptions of the opening movement as well as the optimistic energy of the finale.”

Expect similar fireworks when Lugansky appears with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kent Nagano, in Beethoven’s mighty Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) on July 25 at the Ravinia Festival. Rounding out the program is John Adams’ Harmonielehre, as part of the festival’s salute to the composer’s 70th birthday.

In June, Lugansky sat for a wide-ranging interview with Spain’s online publication Codalario, in which he discusses music competitions and influential composers (“When I am asked about the composers who have written a before and after in the history of the piano, I always name four: Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov and Albéniz”), as well as less weighty matters, such as sports. Here are some excerpts:

His role model:

“As an example of human and musical reference, undoubtedly Rachmaninov as a personality, as a composer, as a pianist, as a conductor and as a human being.”

His favorite pianists:

“Emil Gilels and certainly Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, whom I place just behind Sergei Rachmaninov. Sviatoslav Richter, of course. And of contemporary artists, the concerts that have meant to most to me have been those of Radu Lupu, Nelson Freire and Martha Argerich.”

His choices in recorded music:

“I listen to very different music, but popular music less so. I used to listen to very little piano music, but now I do it with great pleasure. I recently discovered Vaughan Williams and a record of his symphonies is now traveling with me. For me, English music was one of the greatest discoveries of recent years. I also love Anton Bruckner, Jean Sibelius. … It’s like asking what you like in life. Music is unfathomable, much like life. As for pop music, I like Whitney Houston, Joe Dassin — during the Soviet era everyone was listening to him — and Céline Dion.”

His tastes in literature:

“I love reading, poetry especially. During my trips over the last years, I’ve read Anton Chekhov [on a digital platform]. I love Chekhov and Nikolai Leskov more than Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. From Dostoyevsky, I like The Demons but it is the only work of his that I am passionate about.”

His thoughts on stage fright:

“Actually everyone is nervous, but some people can hide it better. Every concert is different. And there are no remedies against nerves.”