Ivan Sokolov graduated from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory as pianist and composer and worked as assistant professor of composition there from 1984-1994. Sokolov has appeared in recitals and as a soloist with different orchestras in many European countries and in the USA. An extraordinary and inspired performer of baroque, classical and romantic music, Sokolov is one of the major Russian artists committed to the contemporary music world. His extensive contemporary music repertoire includes music by Prokofiev, Schönberg, Shostakovich, Hindemith, Bartók, Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Kagel, Crumb, Feldman, Cage, Boulez and many other composers.
Sokolov is one of the most prominent and recognized performer of piano and chamber music by Soviet and contemporary Russian composers. He has premiered many works by Gubaidulina, Silvestrov, Denisov, Korndorf,
Since 1979 Sokolov has performed as a soloist in all major cities of the former Soviet Union and Europe. Since 1986 he has regularly appeared in concerts and festivals for contemporary music, including the Alternativa Festival in Moscow (of which he is one of the founders), the Schleswig-Holstein festival, Almeida Festival London, the Luzerner Festwochen, the Copenhagen Culture festival, and others. Sokolov made his debut in Seattle with the Seattle Chamber Players at the Icebreaker I: Voices from New Russia festival in 2002 and since then he has been a frequent collaborator with the ensemble.
Sokolov's own works have been performed in Moscow and in many other Russian and European cities. In his music, Sokolov works with different types of musical expression, including cryptophonic encodings, graphic notational experiments, happenings as well as truly romantic stylistics. Since 1995 Sokolov has divided his time between Cologne (Germany) and Moscow.