Katia Skanavi was born in Moscow into a Greek-Russian family. She began learning piano at the School for Gifted Children in Moscow. At the age of twelve she made her debut in the Grand Hall of the Pyotr Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow with Dmitry Kabalevsky's Piano Concerto No. 3, conducted by the composer. At eighteen, success in the Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris led to appearances in prestigious concert halls around the world, such as the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. In spite of pursuing an intensive performing career, Katia Skanavi continued her studies at the conservatories in Paris and Moscow, and then at the Cleveland Institute of Music (Ohio, USA). In 1994 Katia Skanavi won the Maria Callas Grand Prix in Greece, in the homeland of her great-grandfather. In 1997 she achieved further success, reaching the final of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition in Texas (USA). She now lives in Moscow with her husband, the actor Genia Stychkin, and their three children.
Katia Skanavi delights audiences, critics and fellow musicians with her virtuosity and musical sensibilities. She has appeared with musicians of the calibre of Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer and Kurt Masur, both as a soloist in piano concertos and as a chamber musician.
Recent concert seasons have been filled with solo and orchestral concerts in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris and many cities in Japan, Canada and the USA. She has also appeared in the La Roque d'Anthéron festival in France, Gidon Kremer's Lockenhaus Festival in Austria and the Puerto Rico Casals Festival in the USA. Her most notable American engagements have included recitals in New York and Washington, as well as appearances with the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati (Ohio), Dallas (Texas), Indianapolis (Indiana) and San Francisco (California).
The artist's immediate plans include concerts under the baton of well-known conductors: a debut at the Berlin Philharmonic with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin (Eri Klas), a performance of Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Orchestre National de Lille (Jean-Claude Casadesus) and Schumann's Piano Concerto with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Dmitry Sitkovetsky).
Katia Skanavi's repertory covers everything from classicism to contemporary music. She has recorded several CDs, mostly for the Lyrinx label. A disc including works by Rachmaninov and Schumann, recorded during a concert in Marseilles, was much praised by the critics, as was her piano recital of works by Chopin (Pro Piano). Her most recent CD (Lyrinx) contains works by Rachmaninov (including the Etudes-tableaux, Op. 39) and Tchaikovsky (The Seasons).