Maxim Rysanov

Maxim Rysanov


• Born 1978


Violist Maxim Rysanov, who has spent much of his career in Britain, is one of the world's preeminent players of his instrument. When famed Russian violist Yuri Bashmet heard Rysanov play, he is said to have remarked, "My rival has arrived!" Rysanov also pursues a parallel career as a conductor.

Rysanov was born in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, in 1978. He was sent to the Central Special Music School in Moscow, where he studied with Maria Sitkovskaya, and then took advantage of Russia's opening to the West in the 1990s and enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. There, he studied viola with John Glickman and conducting with Alan Hazeldine. In 2000, he won Guildhall's gold medal. As a violist, Rysanov has had a high-flying career since winning designation as a BBC New Generation Artist in 2007 and winning the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year in 2008. He has played concertos with leading orchestras in both East and West, including the Mariinsky Orchestra of St. Petersburg, the BBC Symphony, and the Seattle Symphony. An enthusiastic supporter of contemporary music, Rysanov has collaborated with such composers as Giya Kancheli, Peteris Vasks, and Krzysztof Penderecki, whose double concerto he performed under the composer's direction in its world premiere in Moscow. He has played in chamber ensembles with such top-tier artists as Leif Ove Andsnes, Nicola Benedetti, and Gidon Kremer. Rysanov took master classes in conducting with Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Jorma Panula, and Oleg Caetani. He has conducted, among many other groups, the Basel Symphony Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, and I Musici de Montréal.

Rysanov made his recording debut in 2007 with a recital of works by Brahms, Frank Bridge, and George Enescu. He has gone on to record mostly for the Onyx and BIS labels, recording both mainstream repertory and contemporary music. In 2020, he made the first recording of Vasks' Viola Concerto and String Symphony ("Voices") with the Sinfonietta Riga, serving as both violist and conductor. As of the early 2020s, composer Gabriel Prokofiev was at work on a symphony-concerto for Rysanov that would require him to both play and conduct.