Alexander Knyazev, widely considered a true follower of Mstislav Rostropovich, studied the cello at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexandra Fedorchenko and the organ with Galina Kozlova. Knyazev has triumphed at several prestigious competitions: the Gaspar Cassado International Cello Competition, Trapani Chamber Music Competition and UNISA International String Instrument Competition in Pretoria. He placed third (1978) and second (1990) at the Tchaikovsky Competition. In 1998 and 2002, he was member of the Tchaikovsky jury. Knyazev has been a soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic and teacher at the Moscow State Conservatory (1995–2004).
Alexander Knyazev has played with such famous conductors as Yevgeni Svetlanov, Yuri Temirkanov, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Maxim Shostakovich, Neeme Järvi and Kurt Masur, as well as with different world orchestras: London Royal Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony, Haag Residentie Orchestra, Orchestre National de France and Prague Phiharmonic Orchestra. Knyazev has
participated in the December Nights Festival in Moscow organized by Sviatoslav Richter.
Among Knyazev’s chamber music partners have been Brigitte Engerer, Evgeny Kissin, Plamena Mangova, Boris Berezovsky, Nikolai Lugansky; violinists Vadim Repin and Dmitri Makhtin. With Berezovsky and Makhtin, he often performs in a trio: they have played at Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels, London Wigmore Hall, New York Lincoln Center and at Salzburg Festival.
Alexander Knyazev has recorded over 30 CDs, of which several have fetched prizes. The live recording of Bach’s suites at the Grand Hall of Moscow State Conservatory (2000), the recordings of Bach’s Chaconne and sonatas by Reger are among them. In recent years, the musician has increasingly turned to the organ.