The Russian-born American pianist, Sergey Schepkin, studied piano at the St. Petersburg Conservatory with Alexandra Zhukovsky, Grigory Sokolov, and Alexander Ikharev, graduating summa cum laude in 1985. There he also was Prof. Ekaterina Murina's assistant in 1987-1989, and taught on the piano faculty in 1988-1990. After his permanent move to the USA in 1990, he studied with Russell Sherman at New England Conservatory in Boston, where he earned an Artist Diploma in 1992 and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1999. In 1994-1998, Schepkin coached with the late legendary French-American pianist Paul Doguereau. In 2003 he became a naturalized USA citizen.
Boston was Sergey Schepkin's home from 1990 until early 2007. He served there on the music history faculty of the New England Conservatory. The Boston Phoenix once described him as "one of Boston's great treasures, a supremely intelligent pianist who plays Bach as well as anyone" and The Boston Globe defined Schepkin as "an artist of uncommon, almost singular capability and integrity... [who] synthesizes the most diverse approaches and insights ... absolutely phenomenal." Since 2003, Schepkin has served as Associate Professor of Piano at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and he moved to that city permanently in the spring of 2007.
Sergey Schepkin has performed, to great acclaim, in many countries of the world in such venues and on such series as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bank of America Celebrity Series in Boston, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Grand Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Sumida Triphony Hall in Tokyo, among many others.
Sergey Schepkin's repertoire is immense: it includes most important works of keyboard (solo, concerto and chamber) literature written over the past four hundred years. The pianist is particularly fond of Romantic and Russian works. The New York Times deemed him "a Romantic firebrand" and "an estimable Brahmsian," while the New York Sun proclaimed his performance of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at New York's Bargemusic one of the best performances of 2004. The Boston Globe defined Schepkin as "an artist of uncommon, almost singular capability and integrity... [who] synthesizes the most diverse approaches and insights." Schepkin has performed with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonics, Norwegian Broadcasting Symphony, and Boston Pops Orchestra, as well as the Borromeo, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, New Zealand, and Vilnius string quartets. He has collaborated with and commissioned works from such composers as Alan Fletcher, Michael Gandolfi, and the late Daniel Pinkham. He also earned Sofia Gubaidulina's praise for his interpretation of her Chaconne.
Sergey Schepkin has won great critical acclaim for his performances and recordings of J.S. Bach, and was hailed by The New York Times as "a formidable Bach pianist . . . [who] plays with the passion and drama of a young Glenn Gould." "No one who loves Bach can afford not to listen to these performances," Fanfare magazine wrote about Sergey Schepkin's recording of Bach's Partitas. The International Piano magazine judged his recording of the First Book of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier as one of the best ever made, along with those of Edwin Fischer and Sviatoslav Richter, and Amazon.com proclaimed, "For Bach Partitas, he is it." The Essential Listening Companion catalog considered Schepkin's recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) as one of the top three recordings of that work on the piano along with that by András Schiff and the 1981 version by Glenn Gould. The American Record Guide deemed Schepkin "the major Bach pianist of his generation."
Sergey Schepkin's many awards include the 1992 Presser Foundation Award, the 1993 Harvard Musical Association Award, the First and Chopin prizes in the 1999 New Orleans International Piano Competition, the 1999 Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Award, first prize in the International competition for Young Musicians in Prague, and top prizes in the All-Russia and Crown Princess Sonja piano competitions. Most recently, he was awarded the 2003 Maestro Foundation Grant.
Highlights of Sergey Schepkin's 2004-2005 season included recitals at the Newport Music Festival in July, in western Massachusetts in August, San Francisco in late fall, New Hampshire and Los Angeles in the winter, and on the FleetBoston Celebrity Series in April 2005, featuring six newly commissioned works. In 2006, he appeared twelve times in New York City, including his third Bach recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ten appearances at Bargemusic (solo and chamber), and a recital at Alice Tully Hall.
Sergey Schepkin's 2007 engagements included performances of Sergei Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto with orchestras in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as Japan and South Korea debuts as soloist and chamber player. Following his Tokyo performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), Asahi Shimbun wrote: "Schepkin is a magician who can create transparent zero gravity with music." Schepkin also performed chamber music in Massachusetts and Florida with violinist Lucia Lin and cellists Owen Young and Francisco Vila. In October of 2007, he participated in a collective performance of Bach's Art of the Fugue (BWV 1080) at the Emmanuel Church in Boston, along with several distinguished Boston pianists and composers. Schepkin will return to Japan in June of 2008, when he will perform recitals in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Sapporo. A return appearance at the Northern Flowers festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, is planned for October of 2008.