Nikolai Girshevich Kapustin (Russian: Никола́й Ги́ршевич Капу́стин; born November 22, 1937 in Horlivka, Ukrainian SSR) is a Russian composer and pianist.
At age of 14 he moved to Moscow and started lessons with Avrelian Rubakh, himself a pupil of Felix Blumenfeld who also taught Simon Barere and Vladimir Horowitz. Later he studied with pedagogue professor Alexander Goldenweiser at the Moscow Conservatory, who also told him about Rachmaninov, Medtner, Scriabin and Tchaikovsky whom Goldenweiser knew personally.
Nikolai Kapustin is an autodidact on composing; he made his first attempt to compose a piano sonata at age of 13. During his conservatory time he composed and played his Op. 1; a Concertino for piano and orchestra. The Op.1 was a jazz piece and turned out to be his first work performed publicly (1957). He also had his own quintet and was a member of Yuri Saulsky’s Big Band.
After graduating in 1961 at the Moscow Conservatory, he became a member of the Oleg Lundstrem Big Band. Several works of his are performed by Oleg Lundstrem, this with Nikolai Kapustin himself on piano. Around 1972 he stopped working with them and started working with the radio orchestra (5 years), then with the cinema orchestra (7 years). Early 80’s he started fulltime as composer.