Heralded as "one of the most significant and unusual figures of Russian contemporary music" (Newsweek, Russian edition, 1997) and "a Russian Terry Riley" (Los Angeles Times, 2008), Anton Batagov is one of the most influential Russian composers and performers of our time.
A graduate of the Gnessin School and the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and prize-winner at the International Tchaikovsky Competition (1986) and other competitions, Batagov introduced the music by John Cage, Morton Feldman, Steve Reich and Philip Glass to Russian audiences. His debut CD, a 160-minute recording of Olivier Messiaen's Vingt regards sur l'Enfant Jesus (Melodiya, 1990, 3-CD set), became a major sensation. Three years later a well-known American musicologist Richard Kostelanetz characterized Batagov's 1993 recording of Bach's "The Art of the Fugue" as "the most stunning interpretation of Bach since Glenn Gould."
His interpretations of Bach, Schubert, Beethoven, Messiaen, Ravel, composers of the Russian avant-garde and those of the post avant-garde, distinguish themselves with expert knowledge of performing traditions.
Not only as a musician, but also as the artistic director of the legendary festival of contemporary music "Alternativa" (1989–1996), Anton Batagov was a principal influence on the broadening of the aesthetic horizon of the musical community, and on the meaning of musical practices in Russia.
In 1997 Batagov stopped performing live, and since then, he had been focusing on composition and studio recordings for 12 years.
As a composer, Batagov began in the traditions of minimalism that in Russia has its own idiosyncrasies and unique history. He has been compared with the classics of American minimalism. He has fundamentally changed the character of new Russian music. The post-Cagean philosophy of Batagov's projects eliminates any boundaries between "performance" and "composition" by viewing all existing musical practices—from ancient rituals to rock and pop culture and advanced computer technologies—as potential elements of performance and composition.
The post-minimalist language of Batagov’s compositions is rooted in the harmonic and rhythmic patterns of Russian church bells and folk songs seamlessly mixed with the spirit of Buddhist philosophy, the dynamic pulse of early Soviet avant-garde, and the unfading appeal of progressive rock music. Batagov's works feature a unique sense of large-scale architecture and textured emotionalism.
Having begun to work in the sphere of film and television music, Batagov forced many to change their attitude to this field of art that is otherwise strictly reckoned as "applied". He is the author of several movie soundtracks, and over 3.000 tunes for the major Russian TV channels. He brought the depth and refined beauty of contemporary classics to the world of television music.
Some of his works written since the late 1990s have been deeply influenced by Buddhist philosophy and practice. He has composed a number of major works based on ancient Buddhist texts chanted by Tibetan lamas as well as several large-scale instrumental compositions inspired by Buddhist teachings.
Since the early 2000s, Anton Batagov has been seen not only as a successor of the post-minimalist tradition, but as a one-of-a-kind composer / musician / thinker. His multifaceted work and spiritual experience are unique. His views and principles are as unorthodox as they are clear and convincing.
In 2009 Anton Batagov received the prestigious national Steppenwolf Award in the Best Music category.
In 2009, after twelve years of seclusion, he returned to live performances. Since then, he has been performing a series of unique solo piano recital programs. The critics call his recitals "a revelation", "a work of enlightened person".
Batagov paints whole worlds on the piano (Time Out New York)
Batagov shakes up our notion of what a solo piano recital can sound like. (The Gathering Note, Seattle)
Batagov somehow managed to bring the atmosphere of confidence back to the classical concert hall. It had been lost long time ago. It's a tremendous victory no one has expected. It's a unique chance for classical music. The next one will not happen again soon. (Novaya Gazeta, Russia)
In 2013 WNYC radio named his album Tayatha (with Yungchen Lhamo) among the top 10 contemporary classical releases of the year.
In 2015 his album I Fear No More, a symphonic/rock vocal cycle performed by the Russian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, was nominated for International Classical Music Awards.
The premieres of Batagov's three recent evening-length works were truly sensational.
A piano cycle Selected Letters of Sergei Rachmaninoff (2013): "The most significant musical event on the year; a landmark work that changed the coordinate system of the classical music scene" (Vedomosti, Russia).
A rock cantata The One Thus Gone (2016): "The most outstanding premiere of the year" (Colta).
A piano cycle Where We Are Not. Letters of Mother Seraphima (2017): "Tremendous success" (Trud)
Batagov began in the traditions of minimalism that in Russia has its own idiosyncrasies and unique history. He has been compared with the classics of American minimalism. He has fundamentally changed the character of new Russian music, which from a closed sphere has transformed into a more open space. The post-Cagean philosophy of Batagov's projects eliminates any boundaries between "performance" and "composition" by viewing all existing musical practices—from ancient rituals to rock and pop culture and advanced computer technologies—as potential elements of performance and composition.
The post-minimalist language of Batagov's compositions is rooted in the harmonic and rhythmic patterns of Russian church bells and folk songs seamlessly mixed with the spirit of Buddhist philosophy, the dynamic pulse of early Soviet avant-garde, and the unfading appeal of rock music. Batagov's works feature a unique sense of large-scale architecture and textured emotionalism.MUSIC BY ANTON BATAGOV
I was looking at the green trees for a long time (1994)
Music for December (1998)
Best Before 02.2000 (2000)
Prayers and Dances (2-CD set) (2001)
Music for the 35 Buddhas (2001)
The Wheel of the Law (3-CD set) (2002)
Music for Piano (2003)
Save Changes Before Closing? (2003)
From the Beginning up to the End (2004)
Music for Films (2-CD set) (2005)
Passionate Desire to Be an Angel (2006)
Breathing In Breathing Out (original motion picture soundtrack) (2007)
The Monk Thogmey's Thirty-Seven Precepts (2007)
The Musicmaker's Contract (NTV/NTV+ channels greatest hits) (2007)
ab & xmz. The Piano And Other Sounds (2008)
Lama Sonam Dorje & Anton Batagov. Daily Practice (2008)
Lamrim. A prayer to the Lineage Gurus (2009)
ab & xmz II (2009)
Tayatha (Yungchen Lhamo & Anton Batagov ) (2013)
Selected Letters of Sergei Rachmaninoff (2013)
Post Production (2014)
I Fear No More. Selected songs and meditations of John Donne (2015)
The One Thus Gone (2017)
MUSIC BY VARIOUS COMPOSERS PERFORMED BY ANTON BATAGOV
Messiaen: Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus (3-CD set) (1990)
Rails (Russian avant-garde piano music) (1991)
Bach: Die Kunst der Fuge (2-CD set)(1993)
Ravel: Piano works (1994)
Alexandre Rabinovitch: Oeuvres pour piano (1994)
The New Ravel (Ravel: Piano works) (1996)
Yesterday (Russian post-minimalist piano music) (1998)
Vladimir Martynov: Opus posth (1998)
Sergei Zagny: Sonata (2000)
Remix (Beethoven, Schubert, Bach) (2002)
Morton Feldman: Triadic Memories (2003)
The Battell (music of William Byrd and Johann Pachelbel) (2014)
Alle Menschen Müssen Sterben (music of Johann Pachelbel) (2015)
Prophecies (Music by Philip Glass from Einstein on the Beach and Koyaanisqatsi arranged for piano solo and performed by Anton Batagov) (2016)
Tchaikovsky Competition 1986 (2016)
BACH (Johann Sebastian Bach: Partitas No.4 & 6, Jesus bleibet meine Freude) (2017)