Born in Moscow, the Russian pianist Nelly Akopian-Tamarina carries on an illustrious line of Russian Romanticism going back to Anton Rubinstein and Liszt. A connoisseurs’ artist from a bygone era, excelling in repertory for which she has received the highest international recognition.
At the Moscow Conservatoire she was one of the last students of the legendary Alexander Goldenweiser, and the first of Dmitri Bashkirov. In 1963 she won the Gold Medal at the Zwickau Schumann International Competition. In 1974, succeeding Richter and Gilels, she was awarded the coveted Robert Schumann Prize. Formerly Soloist of the Moscow State Philharmonie, her early Soviet recordings for Melodiya – including Chopin’s Preludes Op 28 and the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra – are collectors’ items. Subsequently effaced from public life, obstructed in the Soviet Union from giving concerts, she turned to painting, her watercolours being exhibited in Moscow.
In 1983 Nelly Akopian-Tamarina made her London début at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, playing Schumann and Chopin. During the nineties her commitments included an artistic consultancy at the Prague Conservatory, together with masterclasses at the 18th century Pálffy Palace. In October 2002, following an absence of twenty-five years, she was invited back to Russia, appearing in the Bolshoi Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Between 2008 and 2010 she gave an admired trilogy of recitals at the Wigmore Hall, dedicated to Brahms, Schumann, Janáček and Chopin.
Her post-Soviet accounts of the Schumann Fantasy and Brahms Op 117 Intermezzi are available in Brilliant Classics’ Legendary Russian Pianists collection. Recorded in Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, a Brahms CD, featuring the Handel Variations and Ballades, was released by Pentatone in 2017, drawing exceptional critical praise.