Though Russian pianist Denis Matsuev performs throughout the world, he feels at home everywhere.
“Wherever I perform, I love the audience, stage, hall, city and country,” he said in an interview earlier this year with the online magazine Interlude. “No matter whether it is at Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, a tiny hall in some French village or in any Russian region, I feel great everywhere and every concert is pure happiness for me.”
A frequent visitor to Symphony Center, where he has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and guest ensembles such as the Mariinsky Orchestra, Matsuev returns for an SCP Piano recital on Nov. 11.
His journey to the world’s great stages began during childhood while growing in a musical household. “‘There was a lot of music in our home,” he said. “My parents are musicians. My father wrote music, and my mother gave music lessons. For as long as I can remember, our home was really welcoming. My great-grandfather played the violin, and my grandpas and grandmas played the guitar and the accordion. I can play 10 different instruments myself — not as well as the piano, but I do play them.”
Matsuev always knew that he wanted to be a pianist. “I loved performing,” he said. “When I performed for my friends, for family guests, it was the best part of the day — when I came to the stage for a concert. And now it is the same. The day is empty if I do not have a performance.”
Away from his work, Matsuev finds the best place to relax is around Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, where he “finds energy in the incomparable nature of my native land. I go home at least twice a year, including at Christmas. On these occasions, I also take long sessions in the sauna – a real Siberian sauna. Then I dive in Lake Baikal, whose temperature is usually no more than 8 degrees. It’s the best way to relax.”