Andrei Pushkarev (Ukraine/Latvia)
Was born in a family of musicians in Kiev in 1974. At the age of five, his musical education began with the piano. In 1980 he entered the Kiev Special Music School.
From a young age, Andrei delighted in music and by age 14, his concentration shifted to percussion instruments.
In 1992 Andrei Pushkarev became a student of Kiev Tshaikovsky National Conservatory, where he continued his professional development with Professor Alexander Blinov.
During his studies at the Conservatory, Andrei began to create his own works including his own compositions for vibraphone solo. Andrei continued to study orchestral percussion, but the vibraphone had captured his soul. The vibraphone became much more than a favorite instrument to Andrei. The vibraphone, a true solo instrument, was capable of transporting listeners to a world filled with new thrilling sounds and colors
In 1995, the newly established “New Names of Ukraine” competition awarded Andrei First Prize as solo vibraphonist. Andrei performed his own musical compositions at the award ceremony.
Between 1995 -1999 Andrei performed as a solo vibraphonist with many chamber ensembles throughout Ukraine.
During this time, Andrei achieved another major milestone in his career. In 1996, he was selected to become the main timpanist for the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra. At the age of 22, he became the youngest main timpanist of the symphonic orchestra in Ukraine.
Starting in 1999, his musical career escalated to a new level. Andrei Pushkarev joined the chamber orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, which he still is a member.
World-famous violinist Gidon Kremer created this orchestra in 1997. Since 1999, Andrei serves as percussionist of Kremerata Baltica and has participated in concerts around the world. Additionally, he participated in numerous recordings as a member of the ensemble on labels such as Nonesuch, Deutsche Grammophon.ECM etc. As a soloist he can be heard on the CD release “After Mozart” which received a Grammy Award in 2001 in the U.S. as well as the Echo Award in 2002 in Germany.
In the summer of 1999, he performed for the first time at the Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus (Austria) and became a regular participant of this festival.
In the following years, Pushkarev performed many compositions as solo vibraphonist at the Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus – along with arrangements of Astor Piazzolla, Richard Rogers, Peter Tchaikovsky, etc.
Since then, he has made many arrangements for the vibraphone and violin solo with and without chamber orchestra. Together with Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica he toured around the world, performing in numerous concert halls all around the world, including Carnegie Hall in New York, Albert Hall in London, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and so on.
Gidon Kremer proposed the idea of making jazz arrangements using 15 two-voice inventions by J. S. Bach for solo vibraphone. Andrei developed the idea. So each creation was written in the style of different jazz pianists (Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, etc.).
In spring 2004, Andrei Pushkarev performed this project “Bach Vibrations” for the first time in Basel (Switzerland) at the Gidon Kremer’s ”Les Museiques” festival.
The same year he recorded the cycle. This CD, released by the Austrian “Gramola” label was recently mentioned by the Deutsche Schallplattenkritik Bestenliste, as one of the discoveries of the year.
In summer 2005, Andrei presented the “Bach Vibrations” project as a solo recital at the Verbier Music Festival (Switzerland).
“It is no way a ‘crossover’ project. Andrei Pushkarev and his vibrations are extraordinary – he is more than a good musician – rather a magician. Andrei is not only INSPIRED by great jazz pianists – he is inspiring everything he touches himself.”
-- Gidon Kremer
Andrei Pushkarev has performed with renowned musicians including Yo Yo Ma, Martha Argerich, Vadim Repin, Julian Rachlin, Gavriel Lipkind, Didier Lockwood, Michel Portal, Mario Brunello, Peter Sadlo, David Friedman, Emmanuel Sejourne. Additionally, he has worked with highly-regarded conductors such as Yury Temirkanov, Voldemar Nelsson, Roman Kofman.
In 2004, he was awarded the solo vibraphonist prize from the “Pro Europe” foundation.
In 2005 Andrei did a world duo-tour with Gidon Kremer. After their duo-concert in Wigmore Hall, London, The Independent wrote:
“…Pushkarev, in a delightfully modest manner (masking a ferocious technique), brought jazz, smoke and swing both tastefully and deeply musically to Bach.”
In 2006, Andrei Pushkarev toured with Gidon Kremer and Lithuanian pianist, Andrius Zlabys, as part of Kremer’s trio project, “From Bach to Piazzolla.” This project garnered huge accolades in the United States of America and in South America. Here are some American reviews:
“Vibe-man Pushkarev nearly stole the show with his own arrangement of Bach two-part inventions, in the styles of three great jazz pianists: Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck. He plays with such a mix of brilliant technique and obvious delight — you want to hear more from this young man.”
-- The Seattle Times, November 17, 2006
“Then the astounding, musically multilingual Ukrainian vibraphonist Andrei Pushkarev delivered his own impressions of three Bach inventions in the styles of jazz pianists Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck. He caught both Evans' dreamy impressionism and underrated ability to swing, though Peterson's agile voice was less in evidence and the Brubeck homage was dominated by the playful 5/4-meter vamp of, what else, "Take Five."
-- The Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2006
Since 2009 Andrei Pushkarev has regularly given Master-classes all around the world (South America, Europe and Australia). He has served as a judge in numerous International percussion competitions such as TROMP percussion competition (Holland) and International PAS Competition (Italy), Northwestern Competition (USA) and many others.
In 2010, together with Gidon Kremer and Argentinean bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi, Andrei recorded “Themes from the Songbook” – music from cinema and theater by Georgian composer Giya Kancheli. In October 2010 this CD was released by ECM Records.
Since 2013 Andrei Pushkarev is endorser and the official performer of Majestic Percussion™ and Innovative Percussion™.
Meanwhile, Andrei composes many arrangements for orchestras and different chamber squads featuring world famous musicians. Furthermore, he creates his own works.