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NIKOLAI TOKAREV

A star in the ascendant returns

by Mariko Kato

Since his first Tokyo performance in 1997 aged 13, Nikolai Tokarev has cemented his reputation as one of the most popular young international pianists in Japan by performing more than 100 concerts here. Moscow-born Tokarev will add to that impressive tally when his forthcoming nationwide tour starts on June 30.

Born in 1983, Tokarev studied at the Moscow Gnessin School of Music, then pursued postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he still lives.

Tokarev’s star is clearly on the rise. A winner of numerous international competitions, his first major album was released this year by Sony Classical. One of the tunes on this recording, Chopin’s Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor Op. 35 (featuring the famous “Funeral March” from the third movement), also headlines this tour’s program. At last year’s Concours Geza Anda competition in Zurich, Tokarev bravely rearranged the “Funeral March,” drawing out the opening in slow-motion before roaring to the finale with brilliant aplomb. Tokarev also recently recorded the main piano theme tune for the upcoming movie adaptation of the hit comic book “Piano no Mori.”

Nikolai Tokarev’s Japan tour starts at Sapporo Concert Hall on June 30 and includes dates in Osaka, Chiba, Saitama, Shizuoka, Kanagawa and Fukuoka. He will perform five concerts in Tokyo, at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall (July 2), Katsushika Symphony Hills (4), Meguro Persimmon Hall (6), Sumida Triphony Hall (10) and Amu Tachikawa (12). Ticket prices are 2,000-5,000 yen yen.

For the complete schedule (in Japanese), visit www.musikleben.co.jp/schedule/index.calendar.html or call Musik Leben at (03) 5458-7781.