Grigory Sokolov (Григорий Соколов; born April 18, 1950 in Leningrad) is a Russian pianist. Sokolov began studying the piano at the age of five and at seven entered the Leningrad Conservatory to study with Leah Zelikhman, where he later studied with Moisey Khalfin. He gave his first major recital in Moscow at the age of 12, and came to international attention after winning the 1966 International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. Aged only sixteen, he won the Gold Medal on a unanimous decision by a jury headed by Emil Gilels. He was largely unknown in the West, however, until the late 1980s, but is now rightfully regarded as a giant of the piano. Sokolov's concerts are anticipated with eagerness wherever he travels. He's not been outside of Europe for several years now, preferring to tour Europe. His programmes change twice a year, Sokolov mining the music he plays for every jewel before he feels ready to consider a new work. Sokolov's concerts have been notable for a wide choice of repertoire including a foray into music of the 17th and 18th centuries by William Byrd, Johann Jakob Froberger, François Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau. He's focused mainly on Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Robert Schumann and Johann Sebastian Bach in recent years. Sokolov appears to have stopped playing the blockbuster works such as Sergei Rachmaninoff's second and third concertos, the latter making a profound impact on a 1995 London Proms audience for its coruscating virtuosity and nobility of conception. Recently he has been playing Mozart's 23rd concerto to enormous acclaim selling out weeks in advance, and in Spain earning a half-hour ovation after one performance. Sokolov has recorded all of his albums live (for Naive Classics), and has released music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Alexander Scriabin, and Sergei Prokofiev, among others. His 2002 Paris recital was recorded by the celebrated director Bruno Monsaingeon and released on DVD.