Ilya Poletaev, piano


  • Louis Couperin (c. 1626-1661) - Pavane in F sharp minor (c. 1660) (6’)
  • Robert Schumann (1810-1856) - Davidsbündlertänze, Op. 6 (1837) (30’)
  • I. Lebhaft (Lively)
  • II. Innig (Intimately)
  • III. Mit Humor (With Humor)
  • IV. Ungeduldig (Impatiently)
  • V. Einfach (Simply)
  • VI. Sehr rasch (Very quickly)
  • VII. Nicht schnell (Not fast)
  • VIII. Frisch (Freshly)
  • IX. Lebhaft (Lively)
  • X. Balladenmäßig - Sehr rasch (Balladically very fast)
  • XI. Einfach (Simply)
  • XII. Mit Humor (With Humor)
  • XIII. Wild und lustig (Wildly and funny)
  • XIV. Zart und singend Tenderly and singing)
  • XV. Frisch (Freshly)
  • XVI. Mit gutem Humor (With good Humor)
  • XVII. Wie aus der Ferne (As if from afar)
  • XVIII. Nicht schnell (Not fast)

A musician with a fiercely inquisitive mind, impeccable technique and an intensely poetic vision, Ilya Poletaev is the only Canadian ever to win First Prize at the prestigious International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig. Hailed as “one of the most significant pianists of his generation” by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, he has since performed across Canada, US, Europe, and Russia, in venues such as Leipzig Gewandhaus, KlavierFestival Ruhr, Dresdner MusikFesttäge, Potsdam Musikfestspiele, Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Leipzig BachFest, Montreal Bach Festival, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and Chamber Music Society, St. Paul’s Ordway Center, Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall and St. Lawrence Centre, Caramoor Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Pierpont Morgan Library, Helicon Foundation and many others. He also was the Grand Prize winner of the 2008 Concorso Sala Gallo in Italy, a laureate of the 2008 Canadian Stepping Stone, a top prize-winner at the 2007 SEHKS harpsichord competition, and a prize-winner at the 2011 George Enescu Competition in Bucharest. In 2009 he joined the roster of Astral Artists and is currently an Astral Artist laureate. On the modern piano, he has appeared with the Toronto Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Hartford Symphony, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, Samara Philharmonic, Sinfonia Toronto, Orchestra Filarmonica di Cluj, Orchestra Filarmonica de Bacau, and McGill Symphony Orchestra collaborating with such conductors as David Robertson, Peter Oundjian, Bernhard Gueller, Alexis Hauser, Rossen Milanov, Nurhan Arman, John Holloway and Leo Kraemer.

Mr Poletaev is equally at home on the modern piano or on historical keyboards: harpsichord, fortepiano, and chamber organ. His unusually broad repertoire ranges from the 16th to the 21st century and includes both traditional repertoire, works by neglected composers, and new music. He is also active as a continuo player and an improviser of live scores for silent films and has recently appeared at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, the world’s pre-eminent silent film festival in Pordenone, Italy. Among his recordings, the 2-volume set of violin and piano music by George Enescu with Axel Strauss has received a particularly high critical acclaim. An active chamber musician, he is the founding member of Trio de Montréal and Trio Séléné. Mr. Poletaev’s performances and interviews have been broadcast on the BBC; WQXR in New York; Minnesota Public Radio; CBC Radio-Canada; Radio Berlin-Brandenburg, MDR, NDR, and WDR networks in Germany and many others.

Originally from Moscow, Poletaev moved to Israel and then to Canada at the age of 14. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, where he studied with pianist Marietta Orlov, harpsichordist Colin Tilney, and composer Walter Buczynski, as well as Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Yale, where he studied with Boris Berman.

Ilya Poletaev is currently Associate Professor of Piano at McGill University, and resides in Montreal with his wife and two sons.

For more information about Ilya Poletaev, please see

About the Dame Myra Hess Concerts

The concerts are generously sponsored by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and by individual donors.

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