Grammy-winning classical pianist Evgeny Kissin has long identified himself with Israel. Now, the Russian native who has lived in the UK and the US, can truly call himself Israeli.

Kissin, 42, recently took on Israeli citizenship so that he can tour with an Israeli passport.

“It’s not a traditional move,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, as a special ceremony marking Kissin’s new citizenship.

“I’ve cared about Israel my whole adult life, and I felt I couldn’t continue to enjoy my success with the growing hatred toward Israel all over the Western world,” Kissin said at the ceremony. “Then I thought, ‘which country do I represent, which country do I fully identify with.’ And the only answer was Israel.”

He added: “I now feel I have more in common with my soul, it feels more natural.”

Kissin, who has played at all the major auditoriums around the globe, combined his citizenship ceremony with concerts in Israel. In 2011, Kissin chose to launch his 2011 worldwide tour with a recital at the internationally-acclaimed Jerusalem Music Center (JMC).