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© Guido Werner/EMC Records

Valery Afanassiev was born in Moscow in 1947 and studied at the Moscow Conservatoire under Jacob Zak and subsequently Emil Gilels. He has won two major international competitions: the Bach Competition in Leipzig (1968) and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels (1972).
In 1974 he requested political asylum in Belgium where he currently lives. Since his defection to the West, he has given concerts throughout Europe, Japan and the United States.

Valery Afanassiev has recorded around 50 CDs, the booklets for which he writes himself. The aim is to give the listener a total picture of his insight into the composer's mind—a guided tour through his alchemical laboratory in which poetry, philosophy, painting, the Kabbalath and even wine, as much as musical notation, may be taken as points of reference. Today, he is under contract to Sony Classical.

Valery Afanassiev has written 39 novels:  23 in English and 16 in French. He has also written sixteen books of poetry in English and nine in Russian, a book of long stories, a book of short stories, a huge commentary on Dante’s Commedia, three books of essays and two theatrical pieces inspired by The Pictures at an Exhibition and Kreisleriana, in both of which he performs as pianist and actor (in four languages). Recently he completed a play based on Kafka’s In the Penal Colony during which he performs Morton Feldman’s Palais de Mari

For several years, Valery Afanassiev has also conducted a variety of international orchestras. He endeavours to approach something of the sound quality and polyphony of his favourite conductors: Furtwängler, Toscanini, Mengelberg, Knappertsbusch, Bruno Walter and Klemperer.