Already in 1989, when he was just 6 years of age, he had his debut with a solo evening in Moscow. When he was 14, he started to perform in Europe and Japan. In 2000 Tokarev won the "10th Eurovision Grand Prix of Young Musicians" in Bergen, Norway. In the same year he appeared in Tokyo with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra under Gerd Albrecht. In June 2006 he received the 2nd Prize and the "Audience Award" at the "Geza Anda Competition" in Zurich.
In September 2006 he received the "Orpheum Public Award" at the 8th International Orpheum Music Festival in the Tonhalle Zurich.(for the best interpretation of Mozart’s piano concert with the Camerata Salzburg, conductor Howard Griffith). In October 2009 he received the Montblanc Prix in Berlin.
Nikolay Tokarev is a regular guest player at the international festivals – amongst others at the Klavier Festival Ruhr (2005, 2006, 2007 - he plays the opening concert in the Essen Philharmony – Alfred-Krupp-Saal), the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Menuhin Festival Gstaad (Switzerland), the Mosel Festwochen, the European Weeks Passau, the Kissinger Sommer, the Davos Music Festival, the Schwetzinger Musikfestspiele, etc.
He has peformed with a great variety of orchestras, such as the Camerata Salzburg, the English Chamber Orchestra, the European Soloists Luxembourg, the Zuerich Chamber Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Munich Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonique Orchestre Monte Carlo, the National Philharmonic of Russia, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra London, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, NHK Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra London, etc., with conductors: Ivan Fischer, I. Belohlavek, Mario Venzago, Y. Kout, Thomas Dausgaard, Marc Albrecht, Yakov Kreizberg, George Pehlivanian, Tougan Sokhiev, Maxim Vengerov, Howard Griffits, Valdimir Spivakov, etc.
In 2007 he concluded the exclusive contract with the Sonymusic and in April he published his first piano recital with works by Schubert, Chopin and Alexander Rosenblatt (prize “Echo-Classic, 2007 in Germany), the second CD “French Album” in September, 2008 with works by Rameau, Debussy, Franck, Ravel, 2009 with piano concerts by Grieg and Chopin (live in Lucerne, Switzerland), 2010 with piano concerts by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov (National Philharmonic of Russia, conductor Spivakov).