Tugan Sokhiev with Shostakovich and Liszt

Tugan Sokhiev (photo: Marco Borggreve)

Dmitri Shostakovich was a great admirer of Gustav Mahler. This is evidenced by his Fourth Symphony, which, with its dance and marching motifs and its musical fragmentation, recalls the musical language of his role model. At the same time, Shostakovich presents a harrowing depiction of the horrors of Stalin’s dictatorship. Conductor Tugan Sokhiev combines the Fourth Symphony with Franz Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto, a piece full of virtuosity and depth of expression. The soloist, French pianist Alexandre Kantorow, makes his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Tugan Sokhiev conductor

Alexandre Kantorow piano

Franz Liszt

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in A major

Alexandre Kantorow piano

Dmitri Shostakovich

Symphony No. 4 in C minor, op. 43

Dates and Tickets


Tugan Sokhiev

“The only authority that exists for a conductor is the music itself,” says Tugan Sokhiev. The conductor, who was born in North Ossetia, regards himself as a medium through which the music speaks to the orchestra and the audience, he explained during an interview for the Digital Concert Hall. What fascinated him the most about the conducting profession as a youth was the fact that a single person can have an influence on so many musicians. This realization convinced him to pursue a conducting career himself. He was one of the last students of the legendary teacher Ilya Musin at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 2000 he won the third International Prokofiev Competition, then launched his career, which has taken him to many international opera houses and concert halls. Tugan Sokhiev was music director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin from 2012 to 2016, a position he also held with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse from 2008 to 2022 and with Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre from 2014 to 2022. He made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2010 and at nearly every guest appearance since then has demonstrated his love for Russian and French repertoire. He makes the sometimes powerful, sometimes delicate colours of these works glow with passion and precision. His recipe for success? “It’s important to rehearse the right passages so that the orchestra feels secure, so they can play quite freely during the concert.”

Alexandre Kantorow

It’s not surprising that critics acclaim him as “Liszt reincarnated” (Fanfare Magazine). When Alexandre Kantorow won first prize and the gold medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2019 with breathtaking technique, intimate poetry and a strongly developed stylistic consciousness at the age of only 22, he was immediately catapulted to the top tier of pianists. Born to a family of musicians – his mother is a violinist, his father a violinist and conductor – the French pianist has since appeared with leading orchestras throughout the world, where he thrills audiences with brilliant, sensitive interpretations of the Romantic piano repertoire. Kantorow, who according to the Tagesspiegel displays extraordinary “delight in boundless virtuosity”, studied with Pierre-Alain Volondat, Igor Lazko, Frank Braley and Rena Schereshewskaya. He gives recitals throughout Europe and is active as a chamber musician, not least at his own festival in Nîmes in the south of France, which he launched with two friends. He also performs frequently with his father Jean-Jacques, with whom he has recorded a duo album of French violin sonatas and highly acclaimed recordings of piano concertos by Camille Saint-Saëns and Franz Liszt.

Alexandre Kantorow (photo: Libre de droit Sasha Gusov)


Dmitri Shostakovich and the Berliner Philharmoniker

Season’s focus

This season we are looking at "Heroes" and whether we still need them.

Special exhibition

Before the concert visit the special exhibition Woman to Go