Pletnev, Mikhail , Russian pianist and conductor; b. Arkhangelsk, April 14, 1957. He began piano lessons at age 7 with Julia Shashkina in Kazan. At 13, he entered the Moscow Central Music School as a student of Yevgeni Timakin, and later attended master classes of Yakov Flier and Lev Vlasenko at the Cons. In 1977 he won the AU-Union Competition, and then captured 1st prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1978. Following appearances in England and the U.S. in 1979, he made tours of Europe and Japan. He also took up conducting. In 1990 he founded the Russian National Orch. in Moscow, which he led on its debut tour of the U.S. (1992–93). He remained its conductor until 1999, when he was made its conductor laureate. As a pianist, Pletnev’s repertoire extends from Bach to contemporary scores; he has won particular distinction for his interpretations of the Classical and Romantic masterworks. Among his compositions are orch. works and chamber pieces.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire