Anna Gourari was born in Kazan, Russia. She began piano lessons at the age of five, and from 1979 attended a special school for gifted children in her home town, studying with Kira Shashkina, the teacher of Mikhail Pletnev, and giving her first recital in the same year. Several master classes with Professor Vera Gornostaeva at the Moscow Conservatory stand out among Anna Gourari’s early and some of the most influential musical experiences; then, in 1990, she moved to Germany and continued her piano studies with Professor Ludwig Hoffmann und Gitti Pirner in Munich. She has won several distinctions including the first prizes at the Kabalevsky Competition in Russia (1986) and the first International Chopin Competition in Gottingen (1990), a bursary from the “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”, the “Staatliche Förderungspreis” for young musicians etc.
Since then Anna Gourari has built up an excellent reputation as soloist and chamber musician in the most important centres of music. She regularly performs at international music festivals like the Salzburg Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Festival Pianistico Internazionale Bergamo-Brescia, the Gustav Mahler Festival in Dobbiaco, the St Moritz Festival, the Bad Kissingen Summer Festival, the Lockenhaus Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Festival of Flanders, the Ruhr Piano Festival, the Septembre Musical Montreux, the European Weeks in Passau, the Musica Insieme festival in Bologna a.o., performing with renowned orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Solistes Européens in Luxembourg, the Russian State Academic Symphonic Orchestra, the SWR Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra with conductors like Lorin Maazel, Roger Norrington, Zubin Mehta, Colin Davis, Marco Armiliato and Iván Fischer.
“You do not make music, you are music!” That was the opinion of the legendary film and opera director Werner Herzog, who cast Anna Gourari in the lead part in his cinema film “Invincible”, in which she portrays a pianist. The acclaimed premiere of the German-American co-production took place at the Venice International Film Festival in the autumn of 2001.
In February 2007 Anna Gourari returned to Russia for the first time after many years to film six TV articles on art and culture in Moscow for Deutsche Welle.
Numerous radio and CD recordings document her wide-ranging repertoire, including her special interest in twentieth-century music. The album “Désir”, released on Decca, presents works by Alexander Skryabin and Sofia Gubaidulina. Composers like Rodion Shchedrin and Jörg Widmann have dedicated works to her.