Alexander Lubyantsev was born into a family of musicians on the 27th of December, 1986 in Roschino, near Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Russia. His mother and sisters were pianists, and his father was the director of the local music school. Displaying prodigious abilities from a very early age, he began to study the piano with his mother. Soon after he continued studying in music schools in Saint Petersburg and began to perform in public. By the age of 8 he had already won a competition and would go on to win twelve prizes in the following years. At age 11 he first performed with orchestra, playing Chopin’s First Concerto with orchestra in a competition, followed by Rachmaninov’s Second Concerto at age 14 in a regular concert. At age 17 he participated in the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition where was awarded fifth place along with two special prizes for the “Best performance of a work by Liszt” and “Best performance of an Etude by Liszt.” During adolescence, he studied at the Moscow Central Music School with Kira Alexandrovna Shashkina, the teacher of many significant pianists, including Mikhail Pletnev. From 2004-06 he lived in Hamburg, Germany, where he studied with James Tocco, before returning to Russia to study with Nina Seregina at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and Viktor Portnoy at the Petrozavodsk Conservatory.
In 2007 Lubyantsev came to international attention after winning the bronze medal (no first prize awarded) at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. According to the newspaper Pravda, “the hall immediately fell in love with this delicate, young man…calling him an angel,” and “listened to him with their breath held.” The newspaper concluded that Lubyantsev “was one of the most unusual pianists of the competition, and became its revelation and discovery.” After the competition, jury member Dmitri Bashkirov remarked that Lubyantev’s playing had a “fresh and fantastical manner.” Lubyantsev began to receive invitations to perform internationally.
The hall immediately fell in love with this delicate, young man, who lacked the affectations of a hardened performer, calling him an ‘angel.’… Lubyantsev was one of the most unusual pianists of the competition, and he became its revelation and discovery. (Pravda, 2007.7.3-4)
In his interpretation no detail is by accident, but at the same time, his interpretation consists of completely unexpected, novel, and justified solutions. (Rossiiskaya Gazeta, 2011.6.18)
Lubyantsev can play fast and loud with the best of them, but he also has a highly distinctive way with a phrase, and plays some of his solo passages so delicately that they sound like a private reverie. His technique is dazzling, with octaves of staggering speed and fingerwork of brilliant accuracy. (Seattle Times 2014.1.17)
A superb pianist with a deep understanding of the composer, giving a sense of the music and the composer’s wishes first, not a bombastic, self-aggrandizing approach. (City Arts Magazine, Seattle, 2014.1.17)