Born into the exceptional pianistic tradition of the Ukraine, Serhiy Salov also draws on substantial periods of study in both composition and musicology. Indeed, it was his own arrangement for solo piano of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring that led Gramophone to state that “Serhiy Salov makes Stravinsky’s masterpiece his own”. The magazine praised his “glittering technique, meticulous balancing of chords and precise articulation of rapid-fire figurations” as well as his “splendid ear for nuance” and the “unruffled tonal sheen” in a “remarkable tour de force”.
It was at the age of eleven that Serhiy Salov gave his first public concert – the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Ukrainian National Orchestra – followed by his first solo recital the following year at Donetsk’s Philharmonia Hall. In 1994, aged 15, he went to Germany taking a degree at Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, where he studied with the distinguished French pianist Michel Béroff. He then completed a four-year master’s course at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Joan Havill, receiving the Concert Recital Diploma (Premier Prix). For further studies with Jean Saulnier the young Ukranian settled over to Canada in 2007, where he had already won the Montréal International Musical Competition in 2004. In addition to his Montréal triumph in 2004, his competition achievements include First Prize in the Dudley (2000) and Épinal (2004) International Piano Competitions, Second Prizes at the Gina Bachauer Competition (2010) and the Cincinnati World Piano Competition (2012) and Third Prizes at the Long-Thibaud (2001), the Hamamatsu (2003) and the Tromsö Top of the World (2009) competitions. In May 2014 Serhiy Salov won the Richard Lupien Improvisation Prize, which has been awarded for the first time by the Montreal International Musical Competition.
With recital programmes that extend from Johann Sebastian Bach through the Classical, Romantic and early Modernist composers to György Ligeti, the pianist recently also dedicates himself to contemporary pieces. His concerto repertoire ranges from the great works of the 19th and 20th centuries to lesser-known Soviet composers. Serhiy Salov has made solo appearances in Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and Ukraine, and has played with the Berlin Symphony, the Hallé Orchestra, the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Radio France, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Salt Lake City Symphony and the Tokyo Symphony, with conductors including Martyn Brabbins, Lawrence Foster, Jacques Lacombe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Leonard Slatkin. In spring 2013 he toured South America playing Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra and Kent Nagano. In 2013 he interpreted Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Stéphane Tétreault, Maxim Vengerov and I Musici de Montréal. Serhiy Salov is also a keen chamber musician, partners include the St. Lawrence String Quartet.
Salov’s solo Rite of Spring is just one example of his piano transcriptions of large-scale works. His other enterprises in this area include Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Fêtes from Debussy’s Nocturnes, a version for solo piano of Poulenc’s D minor concerto for two pianos and orchestra as well as scenes from the Wagner operas Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Furthermore, Mussorgsky’s Night on a bare mountain and Prelude to the opera Khovanshchina, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Seasons and Nutcracker have been included as transcriptions by the pianist into his repertoire.
In the last season, Serhiy Salov has given his debuts with Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra and Michał Dworzyński, with Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Lódz and Pawel Przytocki as well as with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins at Bedford Corn Exchange. Concerts in the season 2015/2016 will bring him to China where he will perform in different cities. Further concerts will be in various venues in Canada. Serhiy Salov is a regular guest at Bachfestival Montréal.
The Rite of Spring was paired on CD with the world premiere recording of Hutsulian Watercolours by the Ukrainian composer Ihor Shamo (1925-1982) on Analekta in 2010, while Serhiy Salov’s previous release, Shostakovich’s Circle, showcased rarely performed piano concertos by German Galynin and Galina Ustvolskaya. Both releases received the Prix Opus for “Best Classical Recording of the Year” by Conseil Québécois de la Musique.