Scherbakov was born in the Siberian city of Barnaul in 1963. He was a child prodigy, first playing the piano at five and then making his debut with an orchestra at 11 in a performance of the Beethoven
First Piano Concerto. He later moved to Moscow for studies at the Tchaikovsky
Conservatory where he was mentored by his chief teacher there, Lev Naumov.
Scherbakov won the 1983 (first) Rachmaninov
Competition and followed that victory with a string of others in Europe. He steadily built his career in the former Soviet Union, then made his first important appearance abroad at the 1990 Asolo (Italy) Chamber Music Festival, where he gave four recitals covering the complete solo piano output of Rachmaninov
In 1992 he and his family relocated to Switzerland and thereafter his career had a rather meteoric rise. EMI introduced Scherbakov via its Debut Series in a disc of Johann Strauss II
waltz paraphrases by Reger
, Rosenthal, Cziffra
, and others. Naxos signed him and his first recording, the Transcendental Etudes by Liapunov
, was released in 1994 on that label's sister enterprise Marco Polo.
Amid a heavy concert and recording schedule, Scherbakov joined the faculty at the Hochschule für Musik Winterthur-Zurich in 1998. He also began regularly conducting master classes in pianism and appearing as a jury member for various prestigious piano competitions. In 2003 Scherbakov marked the 20th anniversary of his victory in the Rachmaninov
Competition by giving four recitals that once more covered the composer's complete solo output. He also appeared with several orchestras (the Russian State Philharmonic, the Singapore Symphony
, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra, and others), performing the composer's four concertos. Among Scherbakov's later recordings is his 2006 Naxos CD of the Shostakovich
Piano Sonata No. 2 and other Shostakovich