Nikolai Kapustin (born 1937) has a prolific musical output. Although a virtuosic performer at a young age, composition held more appeal for him, and his first published work, the Opus 1 Concertino for Piano was written in 1957. Since then he continues to produce sonatas, études and works for solo piano, as well as orchestral and chamber music.
From the early 1980s Kapustin concentrated exclusively on composition, and it was in this period – the period of glasnost and perestroika – that he started producing some of his best works, including the 24 Preludes, the 8 Concert Études and his Sinfonietta for piano duet.
A true crossover composer, applying his classical training to jazz and rock idioms, his music is peppered with driving rhythms and chromatic harmonies, producing an astonishingly fresh sound.
Although regarded by many as one of today's greatest living composers, and with a strong following in Europe and Japan, Kapustin's music is not as often performed on the concert stage as it deserves. Perhaps this is in part down to the technical difficulty of his works – but his writing for piano is always natural and pianistic, making even the most virtuosic passages more playable than they might sound.
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