Mikhail Pletnev

Founder and Artistic Director

Full Biography

Short Biography

Mikhail Pletnev's genius as pianist, conductor and composer enchants and amazes audiences around the globe. He was Gold Medal winner of the 1978 Tchaikovsky Competition, a prize that earned him recognition worldwide.

In 1990 Pletnev formed the Russian National Orchestra, the first independent orchestra in Russia's history. Under his leadership, the RNO has achieved a towering stature among the world's orchestras. Pletnev describes the RNO as his greatest joy and serves as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor.

Pletnev's recordings have earned numerous prizes including a 2005 Grammy Award. His compositions include works for orchestra and piano, and his transcriptions of Nutcracker Suite and Sleeping Beauty were selected for Philips Classics’ anthology “Great Pianists of the 20th Century”.

Today he is one of Russia's most respected artists. Pianist, conductor, composer and cultural leader — all are facets of Mikhail Pletnev's life as an artist. Yet he considers himself, simply, a musician.

What They’re Saying

"[The] American-Russian Festival Orchestra, featuring distinguished players from the Russian National Orchestra and a number of prominent American orchestras...[conveys] a vital message to our participants and observers, that by working together we can share our musical and historical cultures and increase our understanding of one another."

Athena T. Blackburn

Founding board member, Festival Napa Valley