The runner-up at the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition has signed an exciting new partnership deal.

Russian pianist Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev, who impressed audiences at the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia, where he earned praise for his commanding technique, elegant sound and wide-ranging repertoire, has just signed an exclusive deal with Decca Classics and Universal Music Australia. It is the first time Decca and Universal have collaborated to sign an artist.

Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev. Photo © Evgeny Evtyukhov Photography.

Born in Moscow, 23-year old Tarasevich-Nikolaev is the grandson of Russian pianist, teacher and composer Tatiana Nikolaeva. He started playing at age four and gave his first public performance when he was nine. He won five international piano youth competitions during his school years. Prior to being runner-up in Sydney last year, he won the 5th International Scriabin Piano Competition in 2012. He was awarded 2nd prize and special prize for the performance of Russian music at the 2013 Cleveland International Piano Competition, and also came second at the 2014 Grieg International Piano Competition in Bergen. In 2016, he graduated from the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory (class of Sergei Dorensky) and is currently an assistant trainee at the Conservatoire.

Dutch-Australian pianist and teacher Gerard Willems has said of the young Russian pianist: “When I see Arseny play I see the whole history of piano playing begin to unfold before me.”

Cyrus Meher-Homji, General Manager of Universal Music Australia’s Classics & Jazz division, describes Tarasevich-Nikolaev as “the piano’s ultimate aristocrat” and says that it was the remarkable young pianist’s deeply-felt and individual performances that persuaded him to sign him.

Universal Music Australia has announced that Tarasevich-Nikolaev’s debut album will be recorded this year and released worldwide in 2018. Titled Moments Musicaux, it will be an all-Russian programme in tribute to his heritage and will feature Rachmaninov’s Moments Musicaux, Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives, and pieces by Scrabin, Medtner and Tchaikovsky. The recording will also include two Études by his grandmother Tatiana Nikolaeva, who is regarded as one of the great pianists of the 20th century.

“We are very proud to welcome Arseny to the Decca family,” said Dr Alexander Buhr, Managing Director of Decca Classics. “His profound musicality and deeply lyrical talent are a rare treat in a musician of his young age, and we can’t wait to see him grow and develop in his career.”

Tarasevich-Nikolaev has a host of upcoming performances including Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, a tour with the LPO of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5 with Sir Roger Norrington conducting, as well as recital debuts in London, Berlin and Vienna, and further concerts in Japan and Australia.

In other Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia news, American pianist Kenneth Broberg, who took out fourth place in Sydney, has won the silver medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in the USA.