The Russian cellist and organist, Alexander Kniazev, began his cello studies at the age of 6 with Alexander Fedorchenko and graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1986. He then went on to study with the renowned organist Galina Kozlova and graduated from Nizhny-Novgorod Conservatory as an organist in 1991. He received international acclaim as a cellist when he won various international music competitions, including the National Cello Competition in Vilnius (1977), the International Cello Competition in Cassado (1979), the Chamber Music Competition in Trapani (1987) with the pianist Ekaterina Voskressenskaya, the International Tchaïkovsky Competition in Moscow (1990) and the UNISA Competition in Pretoria, South Africa (1992).
Alexander Kniazev enjoys a successful career in two professions – as a cellist and as an organist. He has appeared with such distinguished conductors as Yuri Bashmet, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Stéphane Denève, Charles Dutoit, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Kurt Masur, Mikhail Pletnev, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Maxim Shostakovitch, Vladimir Spivakov, Evgeny Svetlanov, Yuri Temirkanov, Alexander Vedernikov, Kazuki Yamada, Vladimir Ziva; with orchestras such as : BBC Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Residentie Orkest Den Haag, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Ireland Symphony, Pragua Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, USSR State Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Svetlanov State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia, Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio, Russian National Orchestra and the chamber ensembles Moscow Virtuosi and Moscow Soloists…
His chamber music partners include Valery Afanassiev, Nicholas Angelich, Alyona Bayeva, Boris Berezovsky, Lucille Chung, Augustin Dumay, Jean Guillou, Evgeny Kissin, Laurent Korcia, Andrei Korobeinikov, Sergei Krylov, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Nikolai Lugansky, Dmitry Makhtin, Denis Matsuev, Plamena Mangova, Edouard Oganessian, Maria-João Pires, Vadim Repin, Viktor Tretyakov, and Mikhail Voskresensky. He was also invited at the Moscow festival “December Nights”, which was organised by Sviatoslav Richter, who has influenced him a lot. In 2012, Martha Argerich invited him to play at her Lugano Festival. He has frequently appeared in a trio with Boris Berezovsky and Dmitry Makhtin and, more recently, with Nikolai Lugansky and Vadim Repin on the prestigious scenes of the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Brussels Palace of Fine Arts, London Wigmore Hall, Salzburg Festival…
Alexander Kniazev’s concerts have received great critical acclaim throughout the world at such prestigious venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Salle Pleyel and the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Wigmore Hall and the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna.
From 1995 to 2004 Alexander Kniazev taught at the Moscow State Conservatoire. Many of his pupils have gone on to become prize-winners at international competitions. Today, the musician frequently gives master-classes in France, Germany, Spain, South Korea and the Philippines. He was invited to join the jury of the II International Tchaikovsky Youth Competition in Japan and the ХІ and ХІІ International Tchaikovsky Competitions in Moscow. In 2012 he headed the organ section of jury of the I All-Russian Music Competition in Kaliningrad.
During the 2002 season, Alexander Kniazev appeared at the Tanglewood Festival, with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and with the NHK Orchestra in Japan. His latest appearances - in France at "Festival de Saint Denis", "Nuits de Suquet", La Roque d'Anthéron, Sisteron and Menton, in England at the Harrogate Festival, and in Portugal at the Espinho Festival - have been acclaimed by critics and audiences.
Kniazev’s discography includes recordings of chamber works by J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Rachmaninov, Dmitri Shostakovich, Frédéric Chopin, César Franck, Ysaÿe, an anthology of works for cello by Max Reger, Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and Bloch’s Schelomo among other pieces. The musician’s discs have received high praise in expert ratings and have been awarded prestigious prizes including Germany’s Echo Klassik, France’s Diapason d’Or and Britain’s Gramophone Prize.
Alexander Kniazev's recording of the complete J.S. Bach's Cello Suites (BWV 1007-1012) was released on Warner Classics in 2004. In May 2004, he performed the Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra in Venice. In July 2004 , he appeared in recital with Evgeny Kissin at the Montpellier and Verbier festivals. 2005 saw the release of a CD of Russian trios by Boris Berezovsky, Dmitry Makhtin and Alexander Kniazev. Among his recent recordings is a collaboration with pianist Nikolai Lugansky. The programme includes sonatas by S. Rachmaninov and F. Chopin, as well as S. Rachmaninov's Vocalise. His Ernest Bloch CD, "Schelomo", which was recorded with the Russian State Symphonic Orchestra /Maestro Svetlanov, was highly acclaimed by the International musical press. Furthermore, his "Max Reger" CD was chosen amongst the best by the French music magazine Répertoire. Recordings with Warner Classics International include also D. Shostakovich's Trio n°2 and the S. Rachmaninov Trio Elégiaque with Boris Berezovsky and Dmitri Makhtin, which was awarded Gramophone prize, Diapason d’Or and Echo Award, and the two Felix Mendelssohn's trios with Dmitri Makhtin and Boris Berezovsky which were awarded Echo Award. In 2015, he recorded for Mirare at Bayerischer Rundfunk a J. Brahms CD acclaimed by the international press with his partner Andrei Korobeinikov.
Alexander Kniazev's forthcoming projects include, among other, tours in Japan with NHK Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Vedernikov, concerts with Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse/Andris Poga, Russian National Orchestra/Mikhail Pletnev, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo/Alexander Sladkovsky, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Yuri Temirkanov, chamber music at London Wigmore Hall, Verbier Festival, Folle Journée de Nantes and Tokyo, Aix-en-Provence Grand Théâtre, Moscow Pushkin Museum, Paris Louvre Museum…
Also recognized as a marvellous organist, Alexander Kniazev has given many highly acclaimed concerts both in Russia and abroad, performing recitals as well as works for organ and orchestra. He has frequently performed with French organist Jean Guillou in addition to recording his Fantaisie concertante for cello and organ (dedicated to Alexander Kniazev). He lately record J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988)
(transcribed by the famous french organist Jean Guillou).
Alexander Kniazev is an Honoured Artist of Russia and a soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic.