Russian Federation - Belgium
Valery Afanassiev was born in Moscow in 1946. He studied piano at the Moscow Conservatory with Emil Gilels and Yakov Zak. His international career took off in 1970 when he won the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition. After completing a concert tour in Belgium he decided to leave his native country to seek political asylum in the West, becoming a Belgian citizen.
His reputation as an artist extends his exceptional achievement as a pianist: he has written many novels as well as plays, inspired by Mussorgsky's piano cycle, Pictures at an Exhibition and Robert Schumann's Kreisleriana. Apart from this, he wrote the accompanying texts to his CD's with music from Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Mussorgsky and Chopin.
Valery Afanassiev is also a very active chamber musician who performs with artists such as Gidon Kremer and Misha Maisky. He is a man of extraordinary culture, a wine expert and a dedicated collector and connoisseur of antiques. Recently, he started exploring his ambitions as a conductor and is trying to reconstruct the inimitable characteristic of the unique performances of Wilhelm Furtwängler, Willem Mengelberg, Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter and Hans Knappertsbusch.