Born in Moscow, Katia Skanavi has been impressing audiences, critics and fellow performers alike with her vibrant pianism and sensitive musicality. A former finalist at the Van Cliburn competition, she is a favoured partner of musicians of the calibre of Yuri Bashmet and Gidon Kremer, both as a concerto soloist and a chamber musician. She is prized for her command of a rich and vivid tonal palette, and a virtuosity that is allied to intuitive and thoughtful interpretation.
Among highlights of recent seasons have been recital and orchestral engagements in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Moscow and Paris. She has appeared at choice European festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron, Gidon Kremer’s Lockenhaus Festival and with cellist Truls Mørk in Stavanger. Recent European engagements include her debut at the Berlin Philharmonie with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester and concerts with the Orchestre National de France and Kurt Masur. Her most notable American engagements have included recitals in New York, Ravinia and Washington and concerto appearances with the Symphony Orchestras of Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis and San Francisco. In 2009/10 season her concerto appearances include performances with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under Oleg Caetani and Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michel Tabachnik.
Katia Skanavi recently made her debut in Australia with a three-week national recital tour for Musica Viva. She “brought the house down” (The West) and prompted the critic from The Australian to describe her as having “…an exceptionally refined sense of musical discourse. Skanavi brings a purposeful concentration to every note she plays, and the intensity of her interpretations is utterly compelling”
Katia Skanavi comes from a culturally rich Greek – Russian family. She began her musical studies in Moscow at the School for Gifted Children and at the age of 12 she gave her first public concert with orchestra in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, performing Kabalevsky’s third piano concerto under the composer’s direction. On her 18th birthday she became a multiple prize-winner in the finals of the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris. Appearances followed at the world’s major concert venues, including the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.
She nevertheless continued to study, at the Conservatoire National in Paris and the Moscow Conservatory, then at the Cleveland Institute with Sergei Babayan. In 1994 she won the Maria Callas Competition in Greece, home of her great-grandfather, and was awarded Greek citizenship. Further success at the Van Cliburn competition came in 1997.
Katia Skanavi’s repertoire is an eclectic mix of music from the Classical period to contemporary music. She has recorded several CDs, mainly for the Lyrinx label. Her discs of works by Schumann, Rachmaninov and character pieces by Tchaikovsky, recorded live in Marseille, were highly regarded by the critics, and a Chopin recital (on the Pro Piano label) was named ‘Classical Recording of the Month’ by Gramophone magazine. Her most recent Lyrinx recording was released in February 2012. It is called Rachmaninov and contains his Piano Concerto No. 1 as well as his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
Katia Skanavi's upcoming concerto appearances include collaborations with such conductors as Vladimir Fedoseev, Miguel Harth-Bedoya and Markus Stenz.
In the coming season she will be participating in a show of legendary Moscow drama theater "Sovremennik" - a play integrating and counterpointing music of J.S.Bach, Alfred Schnittke and texts by Josef Brodsky.
Her next recital CD recording is to be released in 2015.