The pianist – whose new Beethoven disc is out today – talks about the musicians who influenced his own music-making.

Looking back, what are your earliest musical memories?

My earliest musical memory is of sitting at our old Bechstein and playing by ear, improvising, composing a song about how our neighbour at the dacha treated their dog called Gypsy badly, and my father recorded me on his old Adidas tape recorder with large brown bobbins. On the music stand hung an ivory-coloured microphone the size of the palm of a hand. Then Father wound the tape back and I heard how I had been trying to sing the popular Soviet song A Strange Star Shinesin a low voice and Father said to me, “You sang this the day before yesterday.”

Evgeny Kissin Evgeny Kissin. Photo © Johann Sebastian Hänel/DG

Who are the pianists and musicians you really admired growing up? 

I would say Emil Gilels, Glenn Gould, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Peter Schreier, Annie Fischer, the Moscow Virtuosi, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Yuri Bashmet… and there were two elderly pianists in Moscow who never became known internationally, but were wonderful musicians and had their own...

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