Born in Armenia into a musical family, Sergei Babayan began his studies there with Georgy Saradjev and continued at the Moscow Conservatory with Mikhail Pletnev, Vera Gornostayeva, and Lev Naumov. He won consecutive first prizes in several major international competitions including the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Hamamatsu Piano Competition, and the Scottish International Piano Competition. An American citizen, he lives in New York City.
Mr. Babayan has collaborated with such conductors as Yuri Temirkanov, Neeme Järvi, Hans Graf, David Robertson, Tugan Sokhiev, and Dima Slobodeniouk, and with orchestras including the London Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, Orchestre Nationale de Lille, Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and the New World Symphony, among others. He has performed at the Stars of the White Nights International Festival, Moscow Easter Festival, the Barbican Centre, Saint Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Théâtre des Champs-Élyseés in Paris, the Salzburg Festival, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic-Gergiev Festival, where he was artist-in-residence.
In the 2017-18 season, Mr. Babayan's schedule includes concert performances with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Cameristi del Teatro alla Scala, BBC Scottish Symphony, the Mariinsky Orchestra, Szczecin and Belgrade philharmonics, and the Verbier Festival Orchestra, at Pierre Boulez Hall in Berlin, Philharmonie Essen, Stuttgart Liederhalle, and Wigmore Hall. He also appears with frequent collaborator Martha Argerich in a number of European cities.
His engagements and tours have brought him to leading international concert venues including Salle Gaveau in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Warsaw National Philharmonic Hall, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Herkulessaal in Munich, Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg, Konzerthaus Berlin, Brahms-Saal Karlsruhe, Beethovenhalle Bonn, Rudolfinum-Dvořák Hall in Prague, Victora Hall in Geneva, and many others. Mr. Babayan's performances have been broadcast by Radio France, Polish Radio and Television, BBC-TV and BBC Radio 3, NHK Satellite Television, and Medici TV. This performance marks his debut under San Francisco Symphony auspices.