“a genius in his creativity”
– Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Lev Natochenny is an artist who defies simple classification. Described as a “real genius in his creativity” by European critics and a “rare master of his instrument” by New York critics, he combines innovation and intelligence, technical brilliance and attention to details of the musical text, and above all emerges with an astonishingly independent musical personality.
Influenced by the greatest artists as Sviatoslav Richter and David Oistrakh, Lev Natochenny received his formal education from the famed Moscow Conservatory in the class of eminent professors Lev Oborin and Boris Zemliansky. Having been recognized early for his unusually mature and inspired interpretations and mastery of the instrument Mr. Natochenny became the Assistant to Prof. Lev Oborin at an unheard of age of 19. He went on to receive his Diploma with Honors from the same Conservatory, where he continued to develop his taste for uncommonly independent style recognized by critics and audiences alike.
Subsequent honors, including Gold Medal “with particular distinction” in a scandal-marred 1981 F. Busoni International Piano Competition, First Prize in Young Artists International Piano Competition and Gina Bachauer Award, led to concert appearances in major halls throughout Europe and the United States with major American orchestras and most recently with Russian National Orchestra as both pianist and conductor. During these concert tours Lev Natochenny developed a particular affinity for chamber music with its special refinement and delicate intimacy. Performances with other world-class artists including cellist Mischa Maisky, clarinettist Stanley Drucker, violist Toby Hoffman, pianist Vladimir Feltsman, bassist Rustem Gabdullin, Penderecki, Ciurlionis quartet and collaborations with major orchestras such as New York Philharmonic, Baltimore and Indianapolis Symphonies followed.
In addition to concertizing, Mr. Natochenny maintains a rigorous teaching schedule, with his students ranging from exceptionally talented youngsters to accomplished young professionals, most of them winners of national and international competitions.
Prof. Natochenny’s class is a rare, if not the only piano class where current students have contracts with 3 major recording labels: EMI Classics, SONY/BMG Classical and Deutsche Grammophon. Deeply scholarly, with a keen and comprehensive mind, Professor Natochenny has gained recognition for his spontaneous and personal approach to music and for his absolute dedication to his students, which has led to appointments to piano faculties of Manhattan School of Music, The Mannes College of Music, professorial position at City University of New York and a position of Distinguished Professor of Piano at the Hochschule für Musik (Music Academy) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany in addition to master classes in the U.S., Canada and in Europe, including such Eastern European countries as Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Hungary and adjudications in national and major international competitions such as “Busoni”/Bolzano, “Sydney”, “Cincinnati”, “Ennio Porrino”/Cagliari, “Yerevan” and others. In 1990 Lev Natochenny created a unique music forum for the most creative artists of all generations – Meranofest International Music Festival and Academy for Superior Piano Performance Studies – where the highest level of music making and preparation of young talent go hand in hand. After only two seasons Meranofest was already recognized as an important festival and listed in Milan’s “Guide to 100 most important festivals” with over 200 rave reviews of its concerts and master classes.
For the “Edizione Meranofest” Lev Natochenny has recorded an unusual combination of Schubert Piano Sonata and Brahms Piano Quintet, a compact disc, critical acclaim of which led to a second disc for “Marquis Classics” with baritone Kevin McMillan. This disc received a JUNO Nomination for the best classical disc of 1994. The next CD for “Marquis Classic” was released in 1996 with music of Schnittke and Schostakovich. In addition to these recordings Lev Natochenny has previously recorded for “Nuova Era” and “Newport Classic” labels. RAI, Italian TV made a portrait of Lev Natochenny in 2004 and HR, German TV made a portrait of the artist in 2005. He can also be heard on WQXR, WNYC and RAI, Italian Radio and Television Network.
Currently Prof. Natochenny is on the faculty of the Kalaidos Muskihochschule in Switzerland and the Founder and Artistic Director of the “International Piano Institute for Superior Performance Studies” in Bad Homburg, Germany.