Often considered to have been ‘born with a bow in the hand’, cellist Mikael Samsonov emerged as a child prodigy at age twelve debuting with the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto at the Belarusian Philharmony, later establishing an international career as a soloist. He has performed with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, the Virtuosi di Praga Orchestra, the Ulm Philharmonic Orchestra, the South-West German Chamber Orchestra and others at venues such as the Megaron Hall (Athens), the United Nations' Hall (New York) and the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall (Moscow). Mikael’s performances are infused with the sense of intimacy that reaches out to the audience through his deep expressivity, exceptional musicianship and technical brilliance of the most challenging virtuoso cello repertoire.
A laureate of numerous international competitions, Mikael won the All-Union Cello Competition (USSR 1989), came first in the Concertino Praga International Competition in Prague (Czech Republic 1991), won first prize at the Chamber Music Competition of the Kulturfond Baden (Germany 2002) and won first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition in Karlsruhe (Germany 2004). He also won the Premio “Luoghi di confine” all’eccellenza & Premio Speciale “Artists in residence” at the International Gaetano Zinetti Competition (Verona, Italy), as well as the first prize at the International Marco Fiorindo Competition (Turin, Italy) in 2008 and the absolute winner prize at the International Competition in Padua, Italy.
Raised as a soloist by the Soviet school, Mikael has always been fascinated by the idea of ‘jouer ensemble’ and “living” the music together with fellow musicians. This prompted him to consider playing chamber and orchestral music in a range of settings. Leading cello groups of the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart, the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg and Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra for a time was a profound and immensely rewarding experience that enriched and yielded new insights into his continued solo career. Among Mikael’s chamber music partners have been Nicholas Rimmer, Timo Handschuh, Hyeyoon Park, Katia Skanavi, Yulia Deyneka, Kilian Herold, Tianwa Yang, Wen Xiao Zheng, Ulf Schneider, Nicolas Chumachenko, Konstantin Lifschitz, Kinan Azmeh. He appeared as a guest at the 6th Hambach Festival, Schwetzinger Festspiele, "Begegnungen" in Kassel, the 14th Kagan Music Festival Kreuth and played at the Royal Albert Hall (London), Salle Pleyel (Paris), Kölner Philharmonic Hall (Cologne), Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (Valencia) and other famous venues.
For the label Oehms Classics in 2010 Mikael recorded duo repertoire by Halvorsen, Kodaly, Gliere and Cirri, followed by a 2012 record ‘Present’ with works by Stroeble, Schulhoff, Ravel, Kukal, Halvorsen, and the world premiere recording of Cirri’s Opus 12 for cello and violin.
Throughout his career Mikael has been under the tutelage of Vladimir Perlin, Jörg-Wolfgang Jahn, Boris Pergamenschikov, Mikhail Kopelman, Valentin Berlinsky, Natalia Gutman, Detmar Tetzlaff, the Alban Berg Quartet and other renowned musicians.
Also of note, Mikael pursued his studies at the Belarusian State Academy of Music and later was awarded a scholarship at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 2004, he graduated with distinction at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart (Germany), class of Natalia Gutman. He plays the cello of an undetermined luthier, a gift from a private collector, given to Mikael after he appeared in a documentary ‘Song of the birds’ produced by the Bavarian State Television.