Moscow-born Nikolai Petrov was one of the world's great classical pianists. Nearly four decades since he made his international debut with a silver medal-winning performance at the Van Cliburn International Competition and a second place finish at the Queen Elizabeth International Competition, Petrov continued to make his presence felt as an instrumentalist, piano teacher, and musical activist.
Besides playing an annual average of 100 concerts, he taught at the Moscow Conservatory and served as President of the Academy of Russian Arts and the All-Russia Society. According to The Christian Science Monitor, he possessed "all the technique, heart, and mind to make him a giant among pianists," and someone at the Canadian magazine L'Action wrote, "this Russian pianist has no weaknesses. He has only youth and dash and the deepest respect for the music, as if it were a living being."
Petrov was born to a family of musicians and dancers. His grandfather played bass for the Bolshoi Theater beginning in the 1970s. After studying with Tatiana Kestner at the Central Music School, he graduated to study with Jakov Zak at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1986, Petrov received a gold medal from the Balsac French Academy for his interpretations of Beethoven, Berlioz, and Liszt. A decade later, the academy named him Musician of the Year.