Pianist Katia Skanavi’s combination of Greek-Russian cultural roots and Central European musical traditions results in music-making with a unique blend of spontaneity, intuition, and erudition.
A Greek citizen born in the former Soviet Union, Skanavi is based in Moscow and Berlin. Equally active as a soloist and a chamber music partner, she’s appeared worldwide with conductors such as James Conlon, Kurt Masur, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, and Jaap van Zweden. Skanavi has collaborated with the major orchestras in Russia and, internationally, with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Camerata Salzburg, Kremerata Baltica, the Orchestre National de France, and the Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Tokyo symphony orchestras. She’s also presented recital programs in Amsterdam, London, Madrid, Vienna, and New York. Skanavi has partnered with Gidon Kremer in concert-duo performances and on a recording, and she’s played sonatas with Leonidas Kavakos and Yuri Bashmet.
Skanavi’s broad repertoire ranges from the Baroque era, across the Romantic age, and to collaborations with living composers. She’s worked with Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, Jörg Widmann, Carl Vine, and John Corigliano, receiving advice from the composers.
Her discography includes an all-Chopin recital on the Pro Piano label that Gramophone magazine selected as their record of the month. Her most recent concerto recording, with the Brussels Philharmonic, features Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and his First Piano Concerto. Preferring a concert atmosphere to the studio, many of Skanavi’s live recitals have been released on the Lyrinx label and garnered critical praise.
Interested in cross-genre collaborations, Skanavi has been involved in creating theater works that combine poetry, music, video projections, and dance. Her most recent production, with actress Chulpan Khamatova and dancer Vladimir Varnava, is part of the season repertoire at the legendary Sovremennik drama theater in Moscow.
Katia Skanavi began her musical studies in Moscow at the Gnessin School for Gifted Children with Tatiana Zelikman, and at the age of 12 she made her debut in the Grand Hall of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, performing Kabalevskyʼs Third Piano Concerto under the composerʼs direction. On her 18th birthday, she became a multiple prizewinner in the finals of the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris. Early on, her concert career was supported by further prizes at the Van Cliburn competition in Fort Worth and the Grand Prix Maria Callas in Athens.
Skanavi continued her studies at the Conservatoire de Paris with Bruno Rigutto, and the Cleveland Institute of Music with Sergei Babayan, and she now holds a doctorate degree from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where she studied with Vladimir Krainev and Vera Gornostaeva. Skanavi’s chosen PhD topic was the influence of Alfred Cortot on French piano tradition. She believes in the importance of pedagogy in a life of a concert musician and teaches piano and chamber music at international masterclasses and at the Moscow Conservatory.