He is regarded as one of the finest Russian pianists of his generation. He was born in Moscow in 1973 and began his music studies aged six at Moscow's Central Music School. He subsequently graduated from the Pyotr Tchaikovsky Conservatory (1997), where he studied with Professor Lev Naumov. Later he completed postgraduate studies in Munich with Elisso Wirssaladze and at the Fondazione per il Pianoforte (Lago di Como, Italy), where he had lessons with Andreas Staier and Carl-Ulrich Schnabel, among others. While still a student he won prizes in several major international piano competitions, including the Schumann Competition in Zwickau (1989) and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels (1991). Since 2002 he has taught piano at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK.
Melnikov has performed with the Russian National Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic, under Mikhail Pletnev, the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig and Philadelphia Orchestra, under Charles Dutoit, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, under Valery Gergiev, and the St Petersburg Philharmonic, under Yuri Temirkanov, among others.
His forthcoming engagements include appearances with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Residentie Orkest, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Macao Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra.
In recital, Melnikov appears regularly at the world's leading concert halls and also at the festivals of Schleswig-Holstein, Neuhaus and Gstaad, among others. He enjoyed close artistic ties with the late Svyatoslav Richter, who regularly invited him to participate in his festivals in Moscow and France. He also performs on fortepiano, collaborating regularly with Concerto Köln and recently as a soloist on a tour with Philippe Herreweghe.
Melnikov is also a renowned chamber musician. From 1993 to 2003 he performed extensively with Vadim Repin, and at present he is a part of a duo with Isabelle Faust. His partners also include Natalia Gutman, Yuri Bashmet, Alexander Rudin and Victor Tretiakov, as well as the Vanbrugh, Petersson, and Borodin quartets. In piano duets he appears regularly with Andreas Staier, Boris Berezovsky and Alexei Lubimov. From 2000 to 2002 Melnikov was a BBC New Generation Artist.
He records with the BBC orchestras. In recent years, Harmonia Mundi has also released several of his CDs with recitals and chamber music, all greeted with great critical acclaim.
Another great passion is aviation: Melnikov is a qualified private pilot.