Alexander Sotnikov was born in Moscow and studied in his native city at the "Gnesin" Music Academy. He specialized under the guidance of Maestro Arnold Katz. In 1965 he joined the "Igor Moisseev" Ballet of the Soviet State; from 1973 to 1980 he collaborated with the State Opera and with the Ballet Companies and the Perm Philharmonic. After two years with the Russian Symphonic Orchestra, in 1982 he joined the Odessa Opera; from 1985 to 1992 he was the director of the Bolshoi and subsequently of the Danish Royal Ballet.
In 1995 he returned to Russian and became the permanent Director of the Bolshoi.
His extensive repertoire includes 26 operas and 39 ballets by Bournonville, Petipa, Fokine, Balanchine, Cranko and masterpieces such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker, Giselle, Don Quixote, Romeo e Giulietta, Il Corsaro, Coppelia, La Bayadère, Les Sylphides, Paquita, Pas de Quatre, La fille mal gardée, Agon, Serenade, Onegin, Ballet Imperial, Raymonda, La figlia del Faraone and Spartacus. He directed, in the role of guest Director, the National Ballet of Portugal, the Tokyo Ballet, the National Hungarian Ballet, the Asami Maki Ballet (Japan), the National Ballet of Georgia, the Russian Ballet, the international Festival of Japanese.