One of the greatest pianists of his generation will perform for the first time with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Hamilton on May 23.

Russian Denis Kozhukhin, 32, will join the NZSO for the Love Eternal tour with the orchestra led by acclaimed Danish conductor Thomas Sønderard.

"Even in a day when keyboard virtuosos are thick on the ground, Kozhukhin is special." declared the Chicago Tribune.

Kozhukhin will perform German composer Robert Schumann's popular and enduring Piano Concerto with the NZSO.


The pianist is renowned for performing works by a variety of composers, including Handel and 20th century French composer Pierre Boulez, as well as the Russian greats.

"I don't like to set limitations. I simply like too many things," he's said.

Kozhukhin's big break came at age 23 in 2010 when he won the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels.

He's since performed with many of the world's leading orchestras, including Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony, Staatskapelle Berlin, Chicago Symphony, London Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony.

Schumann's only Piano Concerto premiered in 1845 with the composer's wife Clara Schumann at the keyboard.

It's known for the strong musical partnership between the soloist and the orchestra, rather than being a showy virtuoso concerto.

Acclaimed Danish conductor Thomas Sondergard. Photo / Supplied
Acclaimed Danish conductor Thomas Sondergard. Photo / Supplied

Audiences will welcome the return of Maestro Søndergard, who mesmerised audiences and critics when he toured for the first time with the NZSO in 2015.

"I try to be myself and to be honest. I try to show musicians I am only there for one thing, and that is to make music together," he says.


For Love Eternal in Hamilton, Søndergard will also conduct Schumann's haunting Manfred Overture, Beethoven's evocative Coriolan Overture, inspired by Austrian writer Heinrich Joseph von Collin's drama Coriolan, and Mozart's joyous Symphony No. 36, Linz.

Symphony No. 36 is one of Mozart's most loved symphonies, which he composed in just four days in the Austrian city of Linz.

Tickets to Love Eternal in Hamilton are available via