The meditative focus and rare stillness of Armenian-American pianist Sergei Babayan’s keyboard artistry prompted the Hamburger Abendblatt to liken him to “one of those Japanese calligraphers who contemplate the white page before them in silence until, at the exact right moment, their brush makes its instinctive, perfect sweep across the paper”. Babayan himself has observed that making music should be open to surprises and spontaneous insights, allowing unexpected emotions to emerge and subtle shadings to evolve naturally.
Sergei Babayan has collaborated with such conductors as Sir Antonio Pappano, David Robertson, Neeme Järvi, Rafael Payare, Thomas Dausgaard, Tugan Sokhiev, and Dima Slobodeniouk. Over the years, Babayan has performed with Valery Gergiev numerous times to great critical acclaim, including appearances at the Barbican Centre with the London Symphony Orchestra, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elyseés in Paris, the Salzburg Festival, and at the Rotterdam Philharmonic-Gergiev Festival, where Babayan was artist-in-residence.
In recent seasons, Mr. Babayan’s schedule included concert performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, and the Verbier Festival Orchestra, among others. Sergei Babayan regularly performs at many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and Munich’s Prinzregententheater, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Maison de la Radio in Paris, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, and the Zurich Tonhalle. He has appeared at major festivals including La Roque d’Anthéron, Piano aux Jacobins in Toulouse, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, and Verbier Festival. At Konzerthaus Dortmund, Sergei Babayan was a Curating Artist. Mr. Babayan performs with the world's foremost orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Sergei Babayan is a Deutsche Grammophon exclusive artist; his latest release 'Rachmaninoff' (DG 2020) was hailed by the international press as a groundbreaking recording and received numerous awards including BBC Recording of the Month and CHOC Classica ('This musical journey, born out of a limitless imagination and thought in minute detail, is one big masterpiece.') His previous DG release of his own transcriptions for two pianos of works by Sergei Prokofiev, with Martha Argerich as his partner (‘Prokofiev for Two’; DG 2018), was praised by reviewers as ‘the CD one has waited for’ (Le Devoir), an ‘electrifying duo that leaves the listener in consternation’ (Pianiste). Mr. Babayan's performances have been broadcast by Radio France, BBC-TV and BBC Radio 3, NHK Satellite Television and Medici TV.
Born in Armenia into a musical family, Babayan began his studies there with Georgy Saradjev and continued at the Moscow Conservatory with Mikhail Pletnev, Vera Gornostayeva and Lev Naumov. Following his first trip outside of the USSR in 1989, he won consecutive first prizes in several major international competitions including the Cleveland International Piano Competition, the Hamamatsu Piano Competition, and the Scottish International Piano Competition. An American citizen, he lives in New York City.