*15 VIII 1919 Tambow
Victor Merzhanov – 10th Prize winner, 4th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (1949). Victor Merzhanov studied at the Moscow Conservatoire (1936–1941), specializing in piano (with Samuel Feinberg) and organ (with Alexander Gedike). On 24th June 1941, he graduated in both instruments to be immediately sent for military training as a tank driver. While already in the army, he learned through a letter from his former professor that Conservatoire authorities had his name engraved on the marble plate which lists the Conservatoire’s best graduates. Merzhanov spent the entire World War II as a soldier in the Red Army.
In 1945, he exchanged his uniform for a tuxedo and entered the All-Soviet Music Performance Competition in Moscow, where he was awarded 1st Prize. Also in 1945 he became assistant to Feinberg at the Moscow Conservatoire, a post he held for three years. Meanwhile in 1946, he began teaching at the Conservatoire, an activity which he continues to this day. In 1949, he won 10th Prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
Mr. Merzhanov has dedicated his entire artistic career to performance and teaching. Since 1946, he has been a soloist at the Moscow Philharmonic; performing in the Soviet Union and abroad. His repertoire is broad, including works of various styles and genres. Merzhanov’s style is based on his wonderful virtuoso technique and in-born musicality. Among Merzhanov’s notable achievements are his interpretations of Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Brahms Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Liszt’s 6 Études d’exécution transcendante d’après Paganini, Scriabin’s Sonata No. 5, Schumann’s Carnival, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.
In 1971 at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, a 25th anniversary concert was held for Merzhanov. He played three piano concertos by Beethoven (C minor), Liszt (E flat major) and Rachmaninov (D minor), an event remembered to this day.
Victor Merzhanov is a frequent guest to Poland. He has performed (his last appearance was on 23rd August 1999 at the International Chopin Festival in Duszniki), appeared as visiting professor of post-graduate studies at the Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw (1973–1976), masterclasses teacher in Wrocław (1980s and ‘90s) and member of the jury for the Liszt Piano Competition in Wrocław and the Chopin Competition in Warsaw (1975,1995 and 2000).
Merzhanov has made numerous recordings for Melodiya and Vista Vera, including works by Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Grieg, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Scriabin and others. In addition to those mentioned above, he sat in the juries of international music competitions in Budapest, Zwickau, Brussels, Moscow, Athens, Bolzano, Porto, Naples, Montevideo, Valencia and Tokyo.