Nelly Akopian-Tamarina



Representing the grand tradition of the old Russian piano school Nelly Akopian-Tamarina is a connoisseur’s artist from a bygone era, a musician of discernment excelling in a repertory for which she has received the highest international recognition.

Born in Moscow, Nelly Akopian-Tamarina studied with Anaida Sumbatyan at the Moscow Central Music School. At the Moscow Conservatory she was one of the last students of the legendary Alexander Goldenweiser – associate and friend of Scriabin, Rachamninov and Medtner – and the first of Dmitri Bashkirov. Through her teachers she carries on an illustrious branch of Russian Romanticism. reaching back to Anton Rubinstein and Liszt.

As a student Akopian-Tamarina won the Gold Medal at the 1963 Robert Schumann International Comptition for Pianists and Singers in Zwickau, and in 1974, succeeding Richter, Nikolayeva and Gilels, was awarded the Robert Schumann Prize. Formerly Soloist of the Moscow State Philharmonie, her early Soviet recordings for Melodiya – including Chopin’s Preludes Op 28 and the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra – have become collectors’ items. Subsequently removed from public life and prevented by the authorities from giving any concerts, she turned to painting for her artistic self-expression, her watercolours being exhibited in Moscow.

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Recent News


“Nelly Akopian-Tamarina’s Brahms recital is so personal, distinctive and musicianly, that it makes one think again, erasing all pre-conceptions. This is Brahms as you never previously knew him. Time and time again she brings a near Mozartian clarity to music with a potential for opacity… The pianist has supplied her own personal and affectionate essay and she is finely recorded: a crowning touch to an inspirational and enlightening issue.”

International Piano, February 2018

“A remarkable artist of rarified quality … Simply a phenomenon”

Antal Doráti

More Reviews

“An artist of sovereign personality, with a palette of colours and dynamics in her sound, the likes of which have not been heard in years … such poetic mystery and lyric individuality … One felt transported back to the beginning of the century”

Prague Lidové Noviny

“See the Sound – Hear the Colour … a Master Musician Pianist … The Celibidache of the piano? … Since the incomparable Benno Moiseiwitsch, her Schumann Fantasy is certainly the finest I have ever heard, eclipsing all others on disc and in live performance … A great artist is once more amongst us, probing deeply into the true meaning behind the music … delighting us with her unique beauty of touch … a complete grasp of musical structure and expression ”

Bill Newman, Musical Opinion 

“Following Neuhaus, she is a strong believer in allegory as a passport to other worlds and states of mind. Phrasing, pausing, breathing, silence, the language of meaning, feeling and communication, is her universe”

International Piano

“… so prodigiously gifted… remarkable pianism … bold of … colour and inflexion … thrilling variety of sound and effect …”

Bryce Morrison, Daily Telegraph

“… one succumbed to the poetry she created. She did not lack virility, sometimes her fingers seemed made of steel, but at other times she could play a line so quietly it seemed she could not sustain it to the end, but she always did, absolutely exquisitely. After the Davidsbündlertänze sank down to its close there was a ten-second silence which spoke of the rapt attention her playing created. This was playing of a sort that one thought had disappeared forever”

John Amis

“Janáček’s In the mists showed this remarkable artist at her very best; indeed, this was an account of no little distinction, such as would place her playing as among the finest that can ever have been laid at the service of this music”

Robert Matthew-Walker, Classical Source. com

“I have only heard such subtle shading, such dynamic range, such deep focus on inner syncopations and modulations in recordings from pianists from the past such as Moiseiwitsch and Cortot … it would take a dissertation to register all the wonders of this performance … I can’t imagine ever forgetting tonight’s truly unique ‘live’ musical event”

Geoff Diggines, MusicWeb International

“From Russia with love rekindled … a wonderfully poetic touch with Brahms and Schumann”

Michael Church, The Independent

“Passport to Heaven … Communication and music merge into one entity as she plays … you straight away become fascinated, even mesmerised by her unique gift … spellbound by the magical touch and melodic span, every subtle rubato perfectly in place”

Music & Vision

“Delicate, ballerinesque, a latter-day ‘lady in black’, Akopian-Tamarina’s recitals are haunting. Luminous fortissimi, chords ice-edged in silver. The riskiest pianissimi. Singing lines, deliberated textures, complex voicings, broad-chested melodies ‘thrown’ across the auditorium. Unspoken stories journeying to the stars. The art of tempo. A Slavonically-cultured Romantic, poet and conjurer, she takes listeners back to a distant, lost past”

Ateş Orga