Alexandre Kantorow, young French pianist and son of violinist and conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow, has just been announced winner of the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition held in Moscow this week. With impressive versions of Tchaikovsky and Brahms Concertos No. 2 and accompanied by the Evgeny Svetlanov Orchestra under Vassily Petrenko, he won the first prize in a high-level final round against contestants of enormous quality such as Japanese Mao Fujita or Russian Dmitry Shishkin, both of them second prize ex aequo.
Alexandre, who has just released his fourth album with Saint-Saëns piano concertos, the third one for BIS RECORDS after the recording of Liszt piano concertos and the Russian repertoire album entitled Á la rousse, has despite his youth long been arousing the most glowing praises from the specialised critics for his recitals and concerts with the most important European and Asian orchestras, and is considered by some to be the reincarnation of Franz Liszt himself.
Alexandre, born in 1997, has been groomed for a career as a pianist for most of his life, studying with France’s top teachers including, first, Pierre-Alain Volondat. At the Schola Cantorum in Paris his teacher was Igor Lazko, and along the way he has also taken lessons with Jacques Rouvier, Théodore Paraschivesco, Georges Pludermacher, Christian Ivaldi, and Jean-Philippe Collard. Enrolling at the Paris National Conservatoire he has continued his studies with Frank Braley and Haruko Ueda. Kantorow made his debut at 16 with the Sinfonia Varsovia in Poland, performing Rachmaninov’s fearsome Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and he made other early appearances with the Bordeaux Chamber Orchestra, the Orléans Symphony Orchestra and the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra in Lithuania. He has won several top prizes in international competitions.
Kantorow has been able to tour widely despite the demands of classwork, performing as far afield as Finland and South America. He was featured in the first season at Paris’ new Philharmonic Hall (Philharmonie de Paris), playing Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Op. 80, and a return visit was planned. His interests extend beyond traditional repertory into American music, and he has performed Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, in its original jazz band version, at French chamber music festivals.