Arthur Rubinstein exclaimed: “I thank God for keeping me alive so that I would be able to hear with my own ears Sgouros play. He is the best pianist I have ever heard, including myself”. He then took off his gold watch and put it on Dimitris Sgouros' wrist as if passing on the torch. Two months later he was dead.
A young boy when he received such high praise from Rubinstein, Sgouros has since amazed audiences throughout the world with his prodigious talent. Highly acclaimed in the world of classical music, Sgouros has performed in major concert halls throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Royal Festival Hall (London), Berlin Philharmonic Hall, Salle Pleyel de Paris, Vienna Musikverein, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Prince's Palace of Monaco, Sydney Opera House, Odeon of Herodes Atticus (Athens). He has collaborated with some of the world’s best-known conductors and orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, London Philharmonia, B.B.C. Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Oxford Symphony, Santa Cecilia in Rome, N.S.O. Madrid, Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, Dallas & Fort Worth Symphonies, Washington National Symphony, Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra and NHK Radio Symphony of Japan, Sydney Symphony and Melbourne Symphony of Australia and many others.
Born in Athens, Greece in 1969, Dimitris Sgouros began his career as an 8 year old prodigy at the Athens Conservatory, where by the time he completed his studies he had received every award given. He then continued his studies at the University of Maryland and the Royal Music of Academy of London, from which he graduated with the highest mark ever granted by the Academy. In 1982 at the age of 12, Sgouros made his Carnegie Hall debut with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., under the direction of Mstislav Rostropovich, performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. He made his Berlin Philharmonic debut that same year with Herbert von Karajan in the Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto, and was subsequently re-engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for two memorable performances of Tchaikovsky's Concert Fantasy Op 56 under Mariss Jansons. His sell-out performance of Chopin's 1st Piano Concerto in Carnegie Hall secured his reputation as an elegant yet fiery Chopinist.
He has recorded more than a dozen albums which are sold in many countries, with compositions for solo piano by Schumann, Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Mozart and also Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Fantasia with the London Philharmonic, and Liszt’s Concerto No. 2 with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Slovenia, to name a few as well as the 1st and 2nd Piano Concertos by J. Brahms with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2003, he made a live recording of Rachmaninoff's 2nd and 3rd Piano Concertos with the Cyprus State Orchestra on the occasion of Steinway & Sons' 150th anniversary. His artistry has also been showcased in two DVD albums - an acclaimed solo recital from the 2000 Montpellier Festival in France, and a live concert recording of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra in April 2006.
In addition to being a world-renowned pianist, Sgouros is adept at combining education and art. He has been invited to give lectures at the University of Athens, the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Japan, the Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and the New Conservatory in Thessaloniki, Greece. He has been honoured with the International Leonardo Da Vinci award and Melvin Jones Award along with many other prestigious Greek and International prizes. In 1988 a Festival was founded in his name in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Since that time, Sgouros Festivals have been organized in cities as far apart as Hamburg and Singapore.
Dimitris Sgouros has been called a “musical phenomenon” and “the Greek Myth” has even been compared to Mozart. Yevgeni Svetlanov, the great Russian conductor said: “Every one of us, would like to have a Sgouros near him”.
In May 1995, Sgouros was invited to give a gala recital in St. James’s Palace, London before an audience which included Their Royal Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden, HRH The Duke of Kent, and more than 300 other distinguished guests.
In September 1997 he participated in the 850th anniversary celebration of Moscow and performed the 3rd Piano Concerto of Sergei Rachmaninoff in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. His Russian debut was greeted with enthusiastic acclaim with the famous actor, filmmaker and critic Nikita Mikhalkov saying: “We saw a great pianist perform a concerto by a great Russian composer, as only a Russian himself could” and Pravda wrote: ”His performance, the manner of playing and his interpretation of the concerto, were warmly accepted by Moscow’s public”. He made a much heralded return to Moscow in October 2005, joining forces with the prestigious Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra in a gala concert to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Kremlin Museum.
In 1998 Sgouros made debut appearances in Romania giving recitals and orchestral performances in all the main cities of that country. During two big tours in March and October, which were broadcast on the TV stations, he won the hearts and minds of the Romanian people.
In March 1999, Sgouros undertook his first tour of South Africa, giving solo recitals as well as orchestral performances with the National Symphony Orchestra of Johannesburg in the major centres of Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.
In June 2000, Dimitris Sgouros was invited to give the inaugural concert to mark the official opening of the 4000-capacity Bilkent Odeon Theatre in Ankara, Turkey. Together with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Gurer Aykal, he performed Sergei Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto with tremendous success. The critics said: “The 3rd Concerto of Rachmaninoff is full of technical difficulties. Only Sgouros, a giant of the piano, could play this with such sensitivity!”
In April 2000, he made his solo recital debut in Carnegie Hall, and at that time recorded a solo piano CD featuring two works from his recital - Schumann's Fantasy in C major and Brahms' Piano Sonata No. 3. This eagerly anticipated CD, produced by Grammy Award winner Adam Abeshouse, has now been released on the Elysium label.
November 2007 saw him joining a star-studded lineup in Beijing for the 2008 Beijing Olympic cultural celebrations, performing Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra under Tan Lihua. A highlight of the 2009 season was Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra of London directed by Jiri Belohlavek. He embarked on an inaugural tour of the Ukraine in 2010, with concerts in Kiev and Odessa.
As one of the foremost interpreters of Chopin, his appointment to the celebrations committee of Chopin 2010 comes as little surprise (the year 2010 having been officially declared Fryderyk Chopin Year by the Polish Parliament). And in homage of the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt in 2011, EMI/Warner Classics has issued a new double-CD set entitled “Essential Liszt” with landmark recordings by Dimitris Sgouros and other featured Liszt exponents of the modern era.
He made a welcome homecoming to the gilded mansions of the Newport Music Festival in Rhode Island in July 2011, and 2012 saw him open the Festival of the Aegean in Greece and headlining the 2012/2013 seasons of the Mannheim Philharmonic and Qatar Philharmonic Orchestras. He ushered in 2013 with Orchestre National de France in Mozart's Piano Concerto No 21, and embarked on a tour of Italy with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Ivan Fischer in May 2013. A wider European tour with the Budapest Festival Orchestra embracing The Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Greece and Hungary is confirmed for the 2015/16 season. In recognition of his distinctive achievements, UNESCO conferred upon him their Prize for Arts, Sciences and Literature in May 2014.
Dimitris Sgouros is widely acclaimed for his superlative artistry and virtuosity. From the tender age of 7 he has performed again and again in all the major cities and countries across 6 continents, and he is now firmly established as one of the leading pianists of the younger generation.