Nikolai Lugansky was born in Moscow in 1972. At the age of seven Nikolai entered the Central School of Music in Moscow and was a pupil of Tatiana Kestner and Tatiana Nikolaeva. In 1988, Lugansky won the First Prize at the All-Union Competition in Tbilisi and the Silver Medal at the 8th International Bach Competition in Leipzig. In 1990 he was awarded Second Prize at the Rachmaninov Competition in Moscow. In 1994, Nikolai Lugansky won the 10th International Tchaikovsky Competition.
He is now acknowledged as one of the world's great interpreters of the piano repertoire. He regularly works with prominent conductors of major orchestras and his concerts, recitals, and chamber music performances throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas have earned him the rapturous applause of critics as well as audiences. In 2000, he won the Diapason d'Or de l'Année for his recording of the complete Chopin Etudes just as his subsequent recordings of Rachmaninov Preludes and Moments Musicaux and Chopin Preludes. His disc of Rachmaninov Piano Concertos 1 & 3 has been awarded Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. His recording of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 for Pentatone Classics was selected as Gramophone Editor's Choice (February 2004). In addition to performing, Nikolai teaches at the Moscow Conservatory, where he is currently an assistant to Professor Sergei Dorensky.