Pianists 

Giulietta Koch

Giulietta is an exciting young pianist. Born 1989, she started her international career at the age of fourteen as soloist of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester performing at the famous "Konzerthaus" in Berlin with Michael Sanderling. Since then, she has appeared with many orchestras including the Ukrainian State Philharmonic, the Jenaer Philhamonic, the Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Symphony Orchestras of Basel, Münster/Westf., and Salvador da Bahia, the Kurpfälzisches and Südwestdeutsche Kammerorchester and the Musikkollegium Winterthur. One of the highlights in 2008 was Giulietta's debut in the Tonhalle Zürich with Howard Griffiths, with whom she and the Brandenburg State Orchestra recorded Gershwin's rhapsody in blue in 2009. Giulietta regularly gives recitals and performs at international festivals (St.Moritz, Gstaad, Bad Tegernsee) but also enjoys playing chamber music with musicians such as Indira Koch, Wolfgang Schmidt, Ricardo Castro or Sol Gabetta. Furthermore she recently founded the 'Rahn Trio' with Maria Stabrawa (violin) and Julian Arp (cello). The name 'Rahn' is based on the 'Rahn Musikpreis' competition in Zürich (for the most outstanding piano student at Swiss music universities and conservatories) which Giulietta won in 2008. Before that, she had already been recognized as one if the leading young musicians by winning first prizes in the German and Swiss Young Musician's competitions (solo as well as chamber music). She has received many scholarships in Germany and Switzerland including stipends from the "Deutscher Musikrat", the 'Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben" and since 2009 also the "Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes" as well as from the foundations of Ruth and Ernst Burkhalter and Thiébaud-Frey (CH). From the age of three she was taught by her mother and at the age of thirteen she entered the Music Academy Basel under Prof. Adrian Oetiker. She also received valuable impulses from Lazar Berman, Andrzej Jasinski, Elena Richter and Krystian Zimerman. After graduating from Swiss high school, she entered the class of Prof. Klaus Hellwig at the University of the Arts (Universität der Künste) in Berlin in 2008.

my detailed biography

 Wladyslaw Szpilman

Wladyslaw Szpilman was born in 1911 in Sosnowiec. On leaving school, he went to Warsaw to study music (piano) in the Chopin School of Music, under Professor Jozef Smidowicz, and later, under Professor Aleksander Michalowski (both scholars of Franz List). In 1931 he went to Berlin to the Academy of Music studying under Professor Leonid Kreutzer and Arthur Schnabel (piano) and Professor Franz Schrecker (compositio n). At this time he wrote his Violin Concerto, Piano Suite "Zycie Maszyn" (The Life of Machines), Concertino for piano with Orchestra, many works for piano and viol in and also some songs. In 1935 Szpilman entered the Polish Radio, where, except during the war, he has worked until 1963. In 1946 he published his book "Death of a City"- memories from 1939 to 1945. Since 1945 Szpilman has appeared in concerts as a soloist and with chamber groups in Poland, throughout Europe and in America. He and Bronislav Gimpel have formed a very successful piano duet (since 1932), which grew in 1962 to 3the Warsaw Piano Quintet 3, that performed about 2500 conc erts until 1987 in whole world with exception of Australia. Since 1936 he started also his career as a composer of songs (about 500). About 150 of them were in a pop-charts of Poland and they are until today "evergreen's " of a polish popmusic culture. In the 50`s he wrote also about 40 songs for children, for which he received in 1955 the award of the Polish Composers Union. He wrote also many orchestral pieces (Ballet, Small Overture a.o.),musicals,music for children theater and a music for about 50 children radio broadcast, as well as film music 1937- "Wrzos", 1939 - "Dr. Murek", 1950- "Pokoj Zwyciezy Swiat", 1957- "Call My Wife" a.o. In 1961 he initiated and organized International Songs Festival in Sopot - Poland aslso founded Polish Union of Authors of Popular Music. Since 1964 he was member of Presidium of Polish Composers Union, and ZAIKS (Polish ASCAP). In April 1998 his book "Death of the city" will be published by a main German publisher the ECON Verlag with commentar of a famous German writer and poet - Wolf Biermann 

 

Dinu Lipatti 

Dinu Lipatti (Piano)

Born: March 19, 1917 - Bucharest, Romania Romania
Died: December 2, 1950 - Geneva, Switzerland

The Romanian classical pianist, Dinu Lipatti, was born into a musical family: his father was a violinist, his mother a pianist, and his godfather was the violinist and composer George Enescu. He studied at the Gheorghe Lazăr High School, and finished second at the 1934 Vienna International Piano Competition, which led to Alfred Cortot, who thought he should have won, resigning from the jury in protest. Lipatti subsequently studied under Alfred Cortot, Nadia Boulanger (with whom he recorded a number of Johannes Brahms' Liebeslieder waltzes in the four-hand arrangement), Paul Dukas (composition) and Charles Munch (conducting) in Paris.

Dinu Lipatti returned to Rumania in 1939. His career was interrupted by World War II, although he continued to give concerts throughout Europe, including Nazi-occupied territories. He only fled the country in 1943 with his fiancée Madeleine Cantacuzene (later his wife and then widow), via Scandinavia, to Switzerland, where at the Geneva Conservatoire he held the highest piano professorship from 1944 to 1949. He concertized widely in Europe, including Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium and Holland, and his fame and popularity grew rapidly. He was also much sought after as a teacher for his masterclasses.

In the last six years of his life, Dinu Lipatti was diagnosed with leukaemia. Yet his drive did not diminish and his playing never suffered. There were even plans for a concert tour in America, but relapses caused it to be cancelled. In his last year, his illness was kept at bay temporarily with a new drug, cortisone - the cost of which devoted friends like Yehudi Menuhin, Charles Munch and Igor Stravinsky contributed no small amounts. It was during this remission that Lipatti, much against the advice of his doctors, decided to honour his concert engagement and played his final recital at Besançon on September 16, 1950. Unfortunately, the leukaemia returned; Lipatti finally succumbed and died a painful death in Geneva on December 2, 1950, at the tragically young age of 33. He is buried at the cemetery of Chêne-Bourg, an outskirt of Geneva close to the border with France, next to his wife Madeleine, a noted piano teacher.

Dinu Lipatti's playing was hailed as having reached the highest degrees in integrity and pianistic technique - which he employed in the quest for musical perfection. Despite a relatively short playing career and a relatively small recorded legacy, Lipatti is considered among the finest pianists of the 20th century. He is particularly noted for his interpretations of W.A. Mozart and F. Chopin, but he also made recordings of Franz Liszt, George Enescu, Maurice Ravel's Alborada del Gracioso, the Schumann Piano Concerto and Grieg Piano Concerto piano concertos, and J.S. Bach (the latter two are widely considered to be among the finest ever made). His recording of Chopin's Waltzes has remained in print since its release and has long been a favorite of many classical music-lovers.

In addition to his pianistic accomplishments, Dinu Lipatti was a composer, who wrote in a neoclassical style with French and Romanian influences. He was posthumously made a member of the Romanian Academy (in 1997).

 

 

Piarre-Laurent Aimard

Widely acclaimed both as a key figure in the new music world and a uniquely significant musical voice in repertoire of the past, Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys an internationally celebrated career which transcends traditional boundaries.

Performing throughout the world each season with its most significant orchestras and conductors, Pierre-Laurent Aimard has also in recent seasons been invited by Carnegie Hall, New York; Konzerthaus Vienna; Berlin Philharmonic; Palais Garnier / Opera de Paris; Lucerne Festival; Mozarteum Salzburg; the Cleveland Orchestra and Cité de la Musique, Paris to devise groundbreaking "carte blanche" and residential projects, performing himself within chamber music, lieder, solo piano and orchestral programmes. In 2008 he is Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre's Messiaen centenary festival in London; and from 2009, he assumes the title of Artistic Director at the Aldeburgh festival, while continuing as Artistic Partner with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra. He holds professorships in Cologne and Paris and inspires audiences worldwide in series of concert lectures and workshops.

Aimard has an extensive discography and has been honoured with several recording prizes including two ECHO Classic Awards and a Grammy. In August 2007 he signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft - his first disc under this agreement, Bach: Art of Fugue, was released in January 2008. His most recent recording of solo piano pieces - "Hommage à Messiaen" - was released in October 2008.

 

Piotr Anderszewski

is regarded as one of today's most inspired musicians and is a regular visitor to major concert venues around the world.

In recent seasons he has appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston, Chicago and London Symphony Orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Royal Concertgebouw.

He has also developed a special reputation for playing and directing, collaborating with many ensembles including the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic. His play/direct partnership with the Scotttish Chamber Orchestra  has been particularly fruitful, and as well as touring extensively with the orchestra he has recorded a disc featuring Mozart's G major and D minor piano concertos. He has also made recordings with the Sinfonia Varsovia and, most recently, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

An exclusive artist with Virgin Classics since 2000, Anderszewski's first disc on the Virgin label was Beethoven's Diabelli Variations. His strong identification with this work went on to become the subject of a film by Bruno Monsaingeon (creator of documentaries on Sviatoslav Richter and Glenn Gould). Anderszewski's discography also includes a Grammy-nominated CD of Bach's Partitas 1, 3 and 6 and a critically-acclaimed disc of works by Chopin. His affinity with the music of his compatriot  Szynanowski is captured in a highly-praised recording of the composer's solo piano works, which received the Classic FM Gramophone Award in 2006 for best instrumental disc. His most recent recording for Virgin is of a recital given at New York's Carnegie Hall in December 2008.

Recognised for the intensity and originality of his interpretations, Piotr Anderszewski has been singled out for several high profile awards. In April 2002 he received the prestigious Gilmore award, given every four years to a pianist of exceptional talent. He has also been a recipient of the Szymanowski Prize (1999) and the Royal Philharmonic Society's Best Instrumentalist award (2001).

Anderszewski recently collaborated with Bruno Monsaingeon on a second prize-winning film, released by Idéale Audience at the end of 2008. His engagements in the 2009-2010 season include appearances with the Philharmonia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Norddeutscher Rundfunk and Philadelphia orchestras. He will also give recitals at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Warsaw Philharmonic and Herkulessaal Munich. In the summer of 2010 he will lead a Szymanowski concert series at both Carnegie Hall in New York and the Wigmore Hall in London.

Piotr Anderszewski was born in Warsaw to Polish-Hungarian parents. Currently he lives in Paris and Lisbon.

September 2009 

He has also developed a special reputation for playing and directing, collaborating with many ensembles including the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic. His play/direct partnership with the Scotttish Chamber Orchestra  has been particularly fruitful, and as well as touring extensively with the orchestra he has recorded a disc featuring Mozart's G major and D minor piano concertos. He has also made recordings with the Sinfonia Varsovia and, most recently, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

An exclusive artist with Virgin Classics since 2000, Anderszewski's first disc on the Virgin label was Beethoven's Diabelli Variations. His strong identification with this work went on to become the subject of a film by Bruno Monsaingeon (creator of documentaries on Sviatoslav Richter and Glenn Gould). Anderszewski's discography also includes a Grammy-nominated CD of Bach's Partitas 1, 3 and 6 and a critically-acclaimed disc of works by Chopin. His affinity with the music of his compatriot  Szynanowski is captured in a highly-praised recording of the composer's solo piano works, which received the Classic FM Gramophone Award in 2006 for best instrumental disc. His most recent recording for Virgin is of a recital given at New York's Carnegie Hall in December 2008.

Recognised for the intensity and originality of his interpretations, Piotr Anderszewski has been singled out for several high profile awards. In April 2002 he received the prestigious Gilmore award, given every four years to a pianist of exceptional talent. He has also been a recipient of the Szymanowski Prize (1999) and the Royal Philharmonic Society's Best Instrumentalist award (2001).

Anderszewski recently collaborated with Bruno Monsaingeon on a second prize-winning film, released by Idéale Audience at the end of 2008. His engagements in the 2009-2010 season include appearances with the Philharmonia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Norddeutscher Rundfunk and Philadelphia orchestras. He will also give recitals at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Warsaw Philharmonic and Herkulessaal Munich. In the summer of 2010 he will lead a Szymanowski concert series at both Carnegie Hall in New York and the Wigmore Hall in London.

Piotr Anderszewski was born in Warsaw to Polish-Hungarian parents. Currently he lives in Paris and Lisbon.

September 2009  

Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires. From the age of five, she took piano lessons with Vicenzo Scaramuzza. In 1955 she went to Europe with her family, and received tuition from Friedrich Gulda in Vienna; her teachers also included Nikita Magaloff and Stefan Askenase. Following her first prizes in the piano competitions in Bolzano and Geneva in 1957, she embarked on an intensive programme of concerts. Her victory in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1965 was a decisive step on her path to worldwide recognition.

Martha Argerich rose to fame with her interpretations of the virtuoso piano literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. But she does not regard herself as a specialist in "virtuoso" works - her repertoire ranges from Bach through Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy and Ravel, to Bartók.

Martha Argerich has worked as a concert pianist with many famous conductors. She has also attached great importance to chamber music ever since, at the age of 17, she accompanied the violinist Joseph Szigeti - two generations older than herself. She has toured Europe, America and Japan with Gidon Kremer and Mischa Maisky and has also recorded much of the repertory for four hands and for two pianos with the pianists Nelson Freire, Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich, Nicolas Economou and Alexandre Rabinovitch. Martha Argerich has performed at Gidon Kremer's festival in Lockenhaus, at the Munich Piano Summer, the Lucerne Festival and at the Salzburg Festival, where she gave, for instance, a recital with Mischa Maisky in 1993.

She appeared with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic at the 1992 New Year's Eve Concert with Strauss's Burleske and also at the Salzburg Festival at Easter 1993. May 1998 saw the long-awaited musical "summit meeting" between Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky and Gidon Kremer. On the occasion of a memorial concert for the impresario Reinhard Paulsen, the three artists came together in Japan, where they performed piano trios by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky (recorded live by DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON). In March 2000 Martha Argerich gave her first great solo appearance in almost 20 years in New York's Carnegie Hall.

Martha Argerich has close ties with DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON, dating back to 1967. She has recorded prolifically during this period: solo works by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt and Schumann; concerto recordings of works by Chopin, Liszt, Ravel and Prokofiev with Claudio Abbado, Beethoven with Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Stravinsky's Les Noces with Leonard Bernstein. Her recording of Shostakovich's First and Haydn's Eleventh Piano Concertos with the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn conducted by Jörg Färber was crowned with the Tokyo RECORD ACADEMY AWARD in 1995 and that of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was awarded the CD COMPACT AWARD in 1997.

She has also dedicated herself to chamber music, and has recorded works by Schumann and Chopin with Mstislav Rostropovich, and cello sonatas by both Bach and Beethoven with Mischa Maisky. She has made numerous successful recordings with Gidon Kremer, such as violin sonatas by Schumann and works by Bartók, Janácek and Messiaen (PRIX CAECILIA 1991), and Mendelssohn's concerto for violin and piano with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Their recording of Prokofiev sonatas and melodies received the 1992 Tokyo RECORD ACADEMY AWARD, the DIAPASON D'OR 1992 and the EDISON AWARD 1993. One of their most outstanding recording achievements was that of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas (Nos.1-3: RECORD ACADEMY AWARD 1985), which was concluded with the release of the Sonatas op. 47 "Kreutzer" and op. 96 in 1995. Among her more recent releases is the above-mentioned live recording of piano trios by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with Mischa Maisky and Gidon Kremer.

Martha Argerich takes a great supportive interest in young artists. In September 1999 the first International "Martha Argerich" Piano Competition took place in Buenos Aires - a competition which does not only carry her name but in which she is president of the jury. In November 1999 the second "Martha Argerich Music Festival" took place in southern Japan, with concerts and masterclasses being given not only by Martha Argerich but also by Mischa Maisky and Nelson Freire among others.

 

Vladimir Ashkenazy 

In the years since Vladimir Ashkenazy first came to prominence on the world stage in the 1955 Chopin Competition in Warsaw he has built an extraordinary career, not only as one of the most renowned and revered pianists of our times, but as an artist whose creative life encompasses a vast range of activities and continues to offer inspiration to music-lovers across the world.

Conducting has formed the largest part of his activities for the past 20 years and, following on from his period as Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic from 1998 to 2003, Ashkenazy took up the position of Music Director of NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo in September 2004. In Autumn 2005 he completed his second highly successful European tour with them, including a televised concert at the Vienna Musikverein which marked the orchestra’s debut in this prestigious venue. Their regular work in Tokyo has included several television broadcasts and special programmes, such as a commemoration in Spring 2006 of Toru Takemitsu, a composer whom Ashkenazy greatly admires – and in homage to whom he directed ‘Riverrun’ from the keyboard in this concert. After a short visit to Seoul in June 2006 they undertook a major tour of the United States including Disney Hall in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston and Carnegie Hall in New York.

Alongside his position with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Ashkenazy continues to have a warm and rewarding relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra as their Conductor Laureate. In addition to his performances with the orchestra in London and around the UK each season, he tours with them worldwide, and has developed landmark projects such as ‘Prokofiev and Shostakovich Under Stalin’ in 2003 (a project which he also took to Cologne, New York, Vienna and Moscow) and ‘Rachmaninoff Revisited’ in 2002 at the Lincoln Center, New York.

Ashkenazy also holds the positions of Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra, with whom he tours each year, and Conductor Laureate of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. He maintains strong links with a number of other major orchestras with whom he has built special relationships over the years, including the Cleveland Orchestra (of whom he is a former Principal Guest Conductor), San Francisco Symphony and Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin (Chief Conductor and Music Director 1988-96), as well as making guest appearances with many other major orchestras around the world.

While conducting takes up a significant portion of his time each season, Ashkenazy continues to devote himself to the piano, directing Mozart and Beethoven concertos from the keyboard in performances in Europe and Asia, and continuing to build his extraordinarily comprehensive recording catalogue with releases such as the 1999 Grammy award-winning Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues, Rautavaara’s Piano Concerto No.3 (a work which he commissioned) and Rachmaninov Transcriptions. Most recently released is his recording of that most challenging and enriching of works, Bach's Wohltemperierte Klavier.

Beyond his hectic and fulfilling performing schedule, Ashkenazy continues to be involved in some fascinating TV projects, often inspired by his passionate drive to ensure that serious music continues to have a platform in the mainstream media and is made available to as broad an audience as possible. Many will remember the extraordinary Ashkenazy in Moscow programmes which marked his first visit in 1989 to the country of his birth since leaving the USSR in the 1960s. More recently he has developed educational programmes with NHK TV including the 1999 Superteachers working with inner-city London school children, and in 2003-4 a documentary based around his ‘Prokofiev and Shostakovich Under Stalin’ project.

 

Paul Crossley 

In 1973, Paul Crossley gave the world premiere of Tippett’s Piano Sonata No. 3 and overnight achieved international recognition as one of the major pianists of our time. Born in 1944 he studied with Fanny Waterman before going to Paris where he spent inspirational times studying with Messiaen and his wife Yvonne Loriod.

Crossley has given the world premières of works by Tippett, Henze, Takemitsu, Maw, Berio, Adams, Lindberg and Benjamin. His discography of over 50 recordings includes the complete solo piano works of Ravel, Debussy, Faure, Franck, Poulenc, Janacek, Tippett and Takemitsu. Many of these won major recording awards.

In 1991 he was made an Honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford, and in 1993 received a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

To celebrate his 60th birthday in 2004 Paul Crossley gave a Wigmore Hall recital performing new piano works composed for the occasion by his friends and colleagues as a tribute to his lifelong commitment to contemporary repertoire.

Recently Paul Crossley has performed the Henze Requiem in London, Paris and Berlin, appeared at the Ojai Festival in California, given performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Kansas City Symphony, at Stuttgart Opera and a recital tour of Japan. His most recent engagements have taken him to Italy and Spain and the UK where he explored the repertoire of Takemitsu, Lutoslawski and Messiaen, whose Turangalîla Symphony he played in last year’s Proms.

 

Janusz Olejniczak

Born in 1952,winner 6th award VIII Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warszawa (1970) .
He is a Polish classical pianist renowned for his music in the movie The Pianist and he played Chopin in the film The Blue Note of Andrzej Zulawski. His hands appear as the hands of Wladyslaw Szpilman in Adrien Brody’s role in the film The Pianist.
He began learning piano at age six. His teacher was Luiza Walewska. During the years 1967-69, he was taught by Ryszard Bakst and Zbigniew Drzewiecki. In 1967, he won the 6th award at the IX Chopin Competition in Warszawa; two years later, he won the 4th award at the Alfredo Casella International Competition in Naples. During 1971-73, he studied in Paris under Constantine Schmaeling and Witold Małcużyński.
He performs both solo and as a member of a chamber orchestra with a wide repertoire of Beethoven, Chopin, Prokofiev, Ravel, Schubert, and Schumann.
He has performed under the baton of conductors such as Witold Rowicki, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Grzegorz Nowak, Charles Dutoit, Wojciech Michniewski, Kazimierz Kord and Jack Kaspszyk in many countries of the world. 

Freddy Kempf 

Freddy Kempf is a pianist born in London in 1977 to a German father and a Japanese mother.He now lives in Berlin.

Early career

He was educated at St Edmund's School, Canterbury and the Royal Academy of Music. He now lives in Berlin. Taking up the piano at the age of four, Kempf first caught the attention of British concertgoers four years later when he played Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 12, K 414, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. The child virtuoso was shortly invited to Germany to repeat his performance. In 1987, Kempf won the first National Mozart Competition in England and in 1992, was named BBC Young Musician of the Year for his performance of Rachmaninoff's Paganini Rhapsody. He won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1996 which led to his New York City recital debut at Carnegie Hall.

Career

In a controversial turn of events, Kempf's early adult career ironically benefited from his failure to win the 1998 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, where the first prize in the piano section went instead to Denis Matsuev. Apparently, some judges had wanted to award the first prize jointly to Matsuev and Kempf and had successfully negotiated with the Russian Culture Ministry for the additional funding. However, Kempf collected only third prize in the end, which provoked a barrage of indignant protests from the audience and the Russian press, who accused some of the judges of bias (especially towards contestants who also happened to be their former pupils).

In April 1999, Kempf returned to Moscow with a series of television broadcasts and sold-out concerts. Kempf's popularity has been compared with that garnered by American pianist Van Cliburn who, in a different result in 1958, had won the inaugural Competition.

Kempf has continued to perform solo, chamber, and concertante music in Europe, the Americas, East Asia, and Australia, and has recorded recital discs of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Schumann. He was voted Best Young British Classical Performer in the Classical BRIT Awards in 2001.

In 2000 Kempf formed the Kempf Trio, with Pierre Bensaid violin and Alexander Chaushian cello. The trio has been well received on the continent, as well as in their international concerts. Now London based and well received in Europe, they have appeared at the Flanders Festival in Belgium, and in France at the Orpheus & Bacchus Festival. "The ensemble made its United States debut in the chamber music series at La Jolla, California, and in Scottsdale, Phoenix" [Arizona]. *

Nikolai Lugansky 

Nikolai Lugansky was born in Moscow on the 26th of April, 1972, to research scientists. When he was five years old, signs of his innate musicality appeared, to the astonishment of his parents.

"I was simply pre-destined to be a pianist." says Nikolai. He recalls an incident from the days before he had even been taught how to read music: he went to a neighbour's dacha, sat down at the piano, and played a Beethoven sonata from memory, having learned the music by ear.  Soon afterwards he began taking piano lessons from that neighbour, a composer and pianist named Sergei Ipatov. Decades earlier, Ipatov had been a pupil of the legendary virtuoso Konstantin Igumnov. 

During the summer of 1993, Nikolai sustained foot and back injuries in an accident. It was not until several months later that he was able to resume practicing and performing with confidence. In November of that same year, Tatiana Nikolaeva died while performing a recital in San Francisco. In her last interview before her death, Nikolaeva declared that Nikolai Lugansky was to be "The Next One" in a line of great Russian pianists.

It was during this difficult period of adjustment that Nikolai had to decide whether or not he would enter the 10th International Tchaikovsky Competition which was to be held in the summer of 1994. He concluded that preparing for this colossal event would help him to return to his peak performing condition. Nikolai continued his studies with Sergei Dorensky, the distinguished pianist who, for some time, had been Tatiana Nikolaeva's assistant. 

One Russian newspaper gave the following description of Nikolai's performance in the final round of the Tchaikovsky Competition:

05/07/94

"It was like getting sunstroke, a musical shock. Nobody could imagine that the soul of this unpretentious, modest young man, with his ascetic, but also poetic appearance, held such a
volcano
inside with inspired and resolute control."

Nikolai won the 1994 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. But that was only the beginning.

 

Nikolai Lugansky was born in Moscow in 1972 into a family of scientists. He began studying the piano at the age of five, and shortly afterwards was enrolled in the class of Tatiana Kestner at the Moscow Central Music School. During his fifth year at the school, Lugansky became a pupil of Tatiana Nikolaeva, with whom he was to work closely for nine years. In her last interview, Nikolaeva declared that Lugansky would be “The Next One” in a line of great Russian pianists. Lugansky completed his studies at the Moscow Conservatory with another renowned pianist and teacher, Sergei Dorensky.

In 1988, Lugansky won first prize at the All-Union Competition for Young Musicians in Tbilisi and second prize at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig. He went on to win prizes at the 1990 Rachmaninov Competition in Moscow, the 1992 International Summer Academy “Mozarteum” in Salzburg and the 1994 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

Lugansky’s glittering career has taken him to many of the world’s great concert venues. His repertoire includes over 40 concertos and a diverse range of solo and chamber works. He has collaborated with such distinguished conductors as Paavo Berglund, Riccardo Chailly, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Valery Gergiev, Yoel Levi, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kent Nagano, Michel Plasson, Mikhail Pletnev, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leonard Slatkin, Yuri Temirkanov and Edo de Waart.

Highlights of recent seasons include Lugansky’s appearances with l’Orchestre de Paris under Christoph Eschenbach, the Dresden Philharmonic under Marek Janowski and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under Neeme Järvi. In June 2001, at the Grieghalle in Bergen, Norway, Lugansky collaborated with Simone Young and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, the centerpiece of the closing concert of the Bergen International Piano Festival. In September of that year, he performed with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev at the opening concert of the London season. At the 2002 Edinburgh Festival, he played Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio under Vladimir Fedoseyev. This year, Lugansky performed Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, opening the 2003-2004 season of l’Orchestre National de France, in a concert conducted by Kurt Masur and broadcast live on radio stations in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada.

In December 2003, Lugansky will collaborate for the first time with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Stéphane Deneve. The following week, he will give a recital at the University of Washington in Seattle, and will make his New York debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Lugansky records for Warner Classics and for PentaTone Classics. His Warner recordings of Chopin Etudes, Rachmaninov Préludes & Moments musicaux and Chopin Preludes have each been awarded a Diapason d’Or. In addition, his Chopin Preludes CD was selected as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone and cited as one of the “Top 10 Classical Discs of 2002” in The Daily Telegraph.

Lugansky’s latest release on Warner Classics, Rachmaninov Concertos 1 and 3 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sakari Oramo, has won two awards to date: Choc du Monde de la Musique and Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. His next recording for Warner Classics will be dedicated to the solo works of Prokofiev. In October 2003 PentaTone Classics released Lugansky’s recording of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with Kent Nagano and the Russian National Orchestra.

An avid chess player, Nikolai resides in Moscow with his wife and two children

 

Geza Anda

Born November 19th 1921 - Budapest Hungary.

Died: June 14th, 1976 - Zurich Switzerland

The Hungarian pianist, Géza Anda, had studied with Imre Stefaniai and Imre Keeri-Szanto, before becoming piano pupil of Ernst von Dohnányi at the Royal Music Academy. A stipend allowed him to travel to Berlin, where he performed Franck's Symphonic Variations under Wilhelm Furtwängler.

Géza Anda made his debut in 1939 in Budapest under Willem Mengelberg playing Brahms B flat major concerto, which would become his signature. He remained in Berlin during the first years of World War II, but in 1942 he fled to Switzerland, where he encountered the great pianist and teacher Edwin Fischer. Fischer was a proponent of performing the Mozart piano concertos while conducting from the keyboard, and Anda would later adopt this practice, adding bench-led performances of all the concertos (even the early ones) to his repertoire. He was among the first to explore the whole range of Mozart's concertos, at a time when only the "greatest hits" were heard in concert halls; his outstanding 1960's recordings of the complete cycle with the Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum remain a milestone in the history of recorded music.

Géza Anda's style was noteworthy for its transparency of texture and its singing qualities, which led Wilhelm Furtwängler to dub him a "troubadour" of the piano. His flawless technique allowed him to invest his performances with considerable individuality: his readings of Schumann, for instance, were breathtakingly multidimensional, full of asides and highly appropriate introspective commentary conveyed from within Schumann's notes. He was especially influenced by his artistic partnership with the great Romanian pianist Clara Haskil, with whom he played two-piano repertoire from 1953 to 1958. Her moral commitment to conveying music's essence deepened Anda's own musical insight; his subsequent performances reflected a new harnessing of his strong musical personality to the service of the music's meaning.

Although his repertoire was wide and ranged across core Classical-Romantic territory, it is likely that Géza Anda will be most remembered for his interpretations of the music of his countryman Béla Bartók, whose three piano concertos he recorded in 1959 and 1960. These performances are masterpieces of technical ease and artistic mastery, and remain available in commercial release. A few months before the end of his too-brief life, Anda went into the studio and left a final testament of waltzes by Chopin, interpreted in an astonishing otherworldly manner. He allows the rhythmic impulse of Chopin's triple-time to hover almost motionlessly, as if contemplated from a distant and ethereal height.

Since his death in 1976 at the age of 55, Géza Anda's considerable reputation has faded somewhat from view. But in his heyday he was widely regarded as a transcendent pianist, possessed of a natural technique that gave his performances an intimate quality.

Marc-André Hamelin 

Hamelin, Marc-André (piano)  
© Fran Kaufman

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'One of the most adventurous and certainly the most courageous pianists of recent times.' (International Piano Quarterly)

French-Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin’s flourishing international career sees him appearing throughout North America, Europe, Australasia and the Far East. He made his name playing rare and adventurous repertoire, now his output also embraces music from the classical and romantic periods. Highlights of his recent and forthcoming concerto engagements include performances of Beethoven’s Emperor concerto, Brahms’ 2nd and Rachmaninov’s 3rd. Marc-André Hamelin appears regularly in the International Piano Series at London’s South Bank Centre and the London Pianoforte Series at Wigmore Hall. During the 2007/08 season he will be giving his Haydn, Chopin, Debussy programme at the Lincoln Center, New York; the Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow; and Wigmore Hall, London; and in the recital series at Boston, Chicago & San Francisco.

Christina Putnam, Colbert Artists Management Inc. 111 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019, U.S.A Tel: 00 1(212) 757 0782: Fax: 00 1(212) 541 5179

 

Leif Ove Andsnes

The internationally acclaimed pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has been referred to as “an eminently sensual musician, an artist capable of grace and introspection” by the Financial Times whilst the BBC Music Magazine commented on "how hard it is to over-praise the vitality and distinction of this princely pianist."

In addition to giving recitals and playing concertos each season in the world’s leading concert halls and with the all the foremost orchestras, Andsnes is an avid chamber musician who joins select colleagues each summer at Norway’s Risør Festival of Chamber Music, of which he is co-artistic director. The New York Times has placed Risør amongst the top 10 musical events of the year.

Leif Ove Andsnes opens the 2009/2010 season in Copenhagen performing Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no. 2 with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard. He goes on to perform the same work with the Bergen Philharmonic under Andrew Litton and then moves his attention to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 4 which he performs with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Stephane Deneve, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel and the Academy of Sanata Cecilia and Antonio Pappano. In May 2010 Andsnes will perform and record Rachmaninov’s fourth concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and Antonio Pappano for release by EMI Classics.

Andsnes’ major project this Autumn sees the culmination of several years of planning for a programme centered around Mussorgsky’s epic piano cycle “Pictures at an Exhibition“ which will be premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center in November 2009 and toured throughout Europe with performances in Brussels, London, Paris, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Oslo, Stavanger, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Naples and Moscow. With sponsorship from StatoilHydro "Pictures Reframed" sees the collaboration of Andsnes and South African artist Robin Rhode who has created a video and still imagery installation for a unique programme culminating in Mussorgsky's masterpiece. EMI Classics will release “Pictures Reframed” on both CD and DVD and Norwegian TV is documenting the project on film.

Other highlights of the upcoming season include the world premiere of a new work written by Danish composer Bent Sørensen which Andsnes will perform with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra in Oslo in October and performances of Mozart Piano Concerto no. 23, K488 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert over the New Year. In January he performs the same work at the famous Salzburg Mozartwoche with the Vienna Philharmonic and Nicolas Harnoncourt and remains in Salzburg for a chamber music concert of Mozart and Kurtag with Antje Weithaas, Nicolas Alstaedt, Kim Kashkashian and Jorg Widmann before embarking on a recital tour of Spain, Italy and the Netherlands which also includes recitals in London and Warsaw. In March 2010 he will tour Japan and Asia with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra leading concerts of Mozart piano concertos from the piano and he stays in Asia for performances of “Pictures Reframed” in Shanghai, Tokyo and finally Abu Dhabi.

StatoilHydro has a long tradition of supporting musical talent and presented Leif Ove Andsnes with the StatoilHydro Award for musical excellence in 1990. This was the starting point for an ongoing cooperation, and, as part of this relationship, StatoilHydro is proud to be the commissioning sponsor of ”Pictures Reframed”. For more information about StatoilHydro's sponsorships please visit: www.statoilHydro.com/heroes.

As an exclusive EMI Classics artist, Andsnes has recorded over 30 discs spanning repertoire from Bach to the present day, been nominated for seven Grammies and awarded many international prizes including 4 Gramophone Awards to date. His latest disc on EMI Classics released in Spring 2009, entitled “Shadows of Silence”, features works by the Danish composer Bent Sørensen and the French Marc-André Dalbavie both of which works Leif Ove Andsnes premiered at New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Proms respectively. Other repertoire on the disc includes solo works by Kurtag and Lutoslawski’s piano concerto recorded live with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst.

Leif Ove Andsnes has received Norway’s most distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. In 2007, he received the prestigious Peer Gynt Prize, awarded by members of parliament to honor prominent Norwegians for their achievements in politics, sports, and culture. Andsnes has also received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award, the Gilmore Artist Award, four Gramophone Awards and seven Grammy nominations – including a nomination for this year’s Awards for his latest recording of Mozart piano concertos with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. Saluting his many achievements, Vanity Fair named Andsnes one of the “Best of the Best” in 2005.

Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway, in 1970 and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jiri Hlinka. Over the past decade he has also received invaluable advice from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège, who, like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. Andsnes cites Dinu Lipatti, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, and Géza Anda among the pianists who have most inspired him. Andsnes currently lives in Copenhagen and Bergen, and also spends much time at his mountain home in Norway’s western Hardanger area. He is a professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, a Visiting Professor at the Royal Music Conservatory of Copenhagen and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
 

Claudio Arrau 

Chile

The internationally acclaimed pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has been referred to as “an eminently sensual musician, an artist capable of grace and introspection” by the Financial Times whilst the BBC Music Magazine commented on "how hard it is to over-praise the vitality and distinction of this princely pianist."

In addition to giving recitals and playing concertos each season in the world’s leading concert halls and with the all the foremost orchestras, Andsnes is an avid chamber musician who joins select colleagues each summer at Norway’s Risør Festival of Chamber Music, of which he is co-artistic director. The New York Times has placed Risør amongst the top 10 musical events of the year.

Leif Ove Andsnes opens the 2009/2010 season in Copenhagen performing Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no. 2 with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard. He goes on to perform the same work with the Bergen Philharmonic under Andrew Litton and then moves his attention to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 4 which he performs with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Stephane Deneve, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel and the Academy of Sanata Cecilia and Antonio Pappano. In May 2010 Andsnes will perform and record Rachmaninov’s fourth concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and Antonio Pappano for release by EMI Classics.

Andsnes’ major project this Autumn sees the culmination of several years of planning for a programme centered around Mussorgsky’s epic piano cycle “Pictures at an Exhibition“ which will be premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center in November 2009 and toured throughout Europe with performances in Brussels, London, Paris, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Oslo, Stavanger, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Naples and Moscow. With sponsorship from StatoilHydro "Pictures Reframed" sees the collaboration of Andsnes and South African artist Robin Rhode who has created a video and still imagery installation for a unique programme culminating in Mussorgsky's masterpiece. EMI Classics will release “Pictures Reframed” on both CD and DVD and Norwegian TV is documenting the project on film.

Other highlights of the upcoming season include the world premiere of a new work written by Danish composer Bent Sørensen which Andsnes will perform with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra in Oslo in October and performances of Mozart Piano Concerto no. 23, K488 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert over the New Year. In January he performs the same work at the famous Salzburg Mozartwoche with the Vienna Philharmonic and Nicolas Harnoncourt and remains in Salzburg for a chamber music concert of Mozart and Kurtag with Antje Weithaas, Nicolas Alstaedt, Kim Kashkashian and Jorg Widmann before embarking on a recital tour of Spain, Italy and the Netherlands which also includes recitals in London and Warsaw. In March 2010 he will tour Japan and Asia with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra leading concerts of Mozart piano concertos from the piano and he stays in Asia for performances of “Pictures Reframed” in Shanghai, Tokyo and finally Abu Dhabi.

StatoilHydro has a long tradition of supporting musical talent and presented Leif Ove Andsnes with the StatoilHydro Award for musical excellence in 1990. This was the starting point for an ongoing cooperation, and, as part of this relationship, StatoilHydro is proud to be the commissioning sponsor of ”Pictures Reframed”. For more information about StatoilHydro's sponsorships please visit: www.statoilHydro.com/heroes.

As an exclusive EMI Classics artist, Andsnes has recorded over 30 discs spanning repertoire from Bach to the present day, been nominated for seven Grammies and awarded many international prizes including 4 Gramophone Awards to date. His latest disc on EMI Classics released in Spring 2009, entitled “Shadows of Silence”, features works by the Danish composer Bent Sørensen and the French Marc-André Dalbavie both of which works Leif Ove Andsnes premiered at New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Proms respectively. Other repertoire on the disc includes solo works by Kurtag and Lutoslawski’s piano concerto recorded live with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst.

Leif Ove Andsnes has received Norway’s most distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. In 2007, he received the prestigious Peer Gynt Prize, awarded by members of parliament to honor prominent Norwegians for their achievements in politics, sports, and culture. Andsnes has also received the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist Award, the Gilmore Artist Award, four Gramophone Awards and seven Grammy nominations – including a nomination for this year’s Awards for his latest recording of Mozart piano concertos with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. Saluting his many achievements, Vanity Fair named Andsnes one of the “Best of the Best” in 2005.

Andsnes was born in Karmøy, Norway, in 1970 and studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under the renowned Czech professor Jiri Hlinka. Over the past decade he has also received invaluable advice from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tiège, who, like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. Andsnes cites Dinu Lipatti, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, and Géza Anda among the pianists who have most inspired him. Andsnes currently lives in Copenhagen and Bergen, and also spends much time at his mountain home in Norway’s western Hardanger area. He is a professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, a Visiting Professor at the Royal Music Conservatory of Copenhagen and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
  

Claudio Arrau, renowned throughout the world as one of the supreme keyboard masters of the century, stands today at the summit of his long and legendary career, for the one artistic goal he has pursued for a lifetime: the total fusion of virtuosity and meaning.

Where other famous pianists play the piano for excitement, power or display, Arrau plays to probe, to divine, to interpret. Says Arrau, "An interpreter must give his blood to the work interpreted."

The famed late doyen of London music critics, Sir Neville Cardus of the Guardian, explained Arrau vividly: "Arrau is the complete pianist. He can revel in the keyboard for its own pianistic sake, representing to us the instrument's range and power, but he can also go beyond piano playing as we are led by his art to the secret chambers of the creative imagination."

In a tribute by the Berlin Philharmonic, which bestowed the Hans von Bulow Medal on Arrau in 1980, on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of his debut with that great orchestra, it was put even better: "When Arrau bends over the keyboard, it is as if Music and only Music itself, is flowing out of his entire body. There is not a nuance of feeling or sound that he has not mastered. His pianissimo is more eloquent, more mysterious than that of others, and his fortissimo has more depth of dimension and is more limitless."

But a London Sunday Times interview some years back explained the Arrau mystique best of all: "One regards him as a sort of miracle; the piano is the most machinelike of instruments except the organ - all those rods, levers, little felt pads, wires, no intimate subtle human connection with it by breath, tongueing, or the string player's direct engagement with speaking vibrations. But Arrau makes it live, like God teaching Adam on Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel roof; liquid, mysterious, profound, alive."

At 86, Arrau today is a legend in his own lifetime, not only for the penetrating profundity of his interpretations, but for a still transcendent virtuosity completely at the service of his art. Explains Arrau: "Since in music we deal with notes, not words, with chords, with transitions, with color and expression, the musical meaning always based on those notes as written and nothing else - has to be divined. Therefore any musician, no matter how great an instrumentalist, who is not also an interpreter of a divinatory order, the way Furtwangler was, or Fischer-Dieskau is, is somehow onesided, somehow without spiritual grandeur."

Arrau is definitely not onesided or without spiritual grandeur. Having won particular fame as a great Beethoven interpreter, he is no less celebrated for his Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms and Debussy. Among the famed peers of his generation, it is a range without equal.

As a Beethoven interpreter, Arrau has played cycles of the sonata and concertos throughout the world. During the Beethoven Bicentennial Year, he played the five piano concertos in London for the fifth time around and the "Emperor" Concerto in New York, London, Berlin, at the Casals Festival, at the Bonn Festival and Beethoven recitals everywhere, including New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Zurich. He has played cycles of the complete 32 piano sonatas in New York, London, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Mexico City and most of the sonatas in Zurich, Paris and Hamburg.

The Arrau discography is equally vast. His recordings include the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas, the five Beethoven Piano Concertos (thrice), the two Brahms Concertos (twice) and the complete works for piano and orchestra by Chopin - all on Philips Records and released throughout the world. He has also recorded a great many of the solo works of Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Debussy, Schubert and Liszt, including the awesome 12 Transcendental Etudes, a feat which he pulled off in time for his 75th birthday celebrations. Since then, he has recorded the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Boston Symphony under Sir Colin Davis, the Liszt Concertos and (for the fourth time around) the Grieg and Schumann Concertos, also with the Boston Symphony under Sir Colin Davis. For his 80th birthday celebrations in 1983, Philips Records brought out The Arrau Edition, 59 records in 8 deluxe boxes, CBS brought out a 3-record Retrospective box as did EMI, and RCA later brought out a 2-CD set consisting of Bach's "Goldberg" Variations and the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, recorded in 1941. Recently, he recorded the Beethoven Piano Concertos for the third time around, this time with the Dresden Staatskapelle under Sir Colin Davis, 12 new Beethoven Sonatas (which may form a new set of the 32), the Diabelli Variations and the complete Mozart Piano Sonatas.

Without giving up Liszt, Arrau gravitated to Beethoven. Textual fidelity and freedom of expression became his two guiding principles. In starving Germany, he managed to keep himself and his family alive, and by the time he won the famed International Geneva Prize in 1927, when he was 24 (the judges were Cortot, de Motta and Arthur Rubinstein), the great composers - Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert - had become his life. By the time Arrau was 32, he had not only played the 32 Beethoven Sonatas and all the Schubert and Mozart Sonatas as well as Weber in cycles of concerts, but also, all of the keyboard works of Bach in a series of 12 recitals which made him a legend in Berlin.

During that time, he was also playing Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Albeniz, Ravel and Schoenberg, leading the chief music critic of the London Times, William Mann to write years later after World War II, "There are pianists who rank as outstanding in Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt. Arrau is the only pianist alive who, at any rate while he is playing, can convince people that he is the outstanding interpreter of all these composers and a good many others too."

By the time Arrau returned to play at Carnegie Hall again, in February 1941, he felt ready and mature, and this time, his name had preceded him and the house was packed. The New York Times, along with every other paper including Time Magazine, gave him rave reviews. The following season he played over 100 concerts across the United States and Canada and had the additional distinction of being invited back to play twice in that same season with both the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras.

Today, Arrau's schedule of concerts still covers two and three continents and sometimes even more, as it did in 1958 when his world tour included the Soviet Union, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Europe, Israel, the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America - a tour which he repeated for the most part in 1974-75. In fact, with the exception of Peking, there is probably not an important city, large or small, anywhere in the world where Arrau has not been heard. During the 1981-82 season, in addition to the United States, Canada, Europe and Brazil, he also made his fifth return to Japan, capping it with a sixth triumphant return to Japan and South Korea in May 1987.

During 1982-83, the whole world of music joined in celebrating the Maestro's 80th birthday. His Avery Fisher Hall recital at Lincoln Center in February was the official birthday celebration and was televised as was the concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Riccardo Muti on the actual birthday, February 6th. There were also TV documentaries both in London and Germany. He also picked up a new batch of birthday honors and prizes, including the International UNESCO Music Prize for 1983, the National Arts Prize from Chile, the Aztec Eagle from Mexico, a Commandatore from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and a Commandeur de la l'Legion de Honneur, France's highest decoration.

As part of the continuing 80th birthday celebrations, Arrau returned to his native Chile in May 1984 as a symbol of peace after an absence of 17 years, to play as he said, "For a whole new generation which has never heard me," and was given a reception probably without equal since the time of Paderewski's return to Poland after World War I and Liszt's return to Hungary under the Austrians in 1839. As the New York Times reported in a long story which was given an alert on the front page, Arrau dominated the local newspapers for weeks and his concerts in Santiago (six in eleven days) were seen and heard on TV by 80% of the nation. Until recently playing up to 100 concerts each season, Arrau has now reduced the number to around 50, leaving himself more time to record, study and read, a lifelong passion. His fervent wish: "Another hundred years just to read."

His 85th birthday, on February 6, 1988, was another occasion for world celebration, winding up with a grand "Emperor" Concerto in London, under the direction of Sir Colin Davis, which was televised and will be brought out on video disc together with the Beethoven Concerto No. 4 under Riccardo Muti. Since 1941, Arrau and his late wife Ruth, made Douglaston, New York, their home base and also a summer home in Vermont, where he loves to retreat for rest and quiet, sometimes with his children and grandchildren and always with his beloved cats and dogs. Arrau became an American citizen in February 1979, but retains dual passports.

In 1978, Arrau completed a new Urtext Edition of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas for the famous music publishing house of Peters in Frankfurt. A performing edition, the first by a famous Beethoven interpreter since Schnabel's in 1935, it includes all the Arrau fingerings, as well as tempi by Beethoven (where available), Czerny and Arrau and suggestions for dynamics, pedalings and performance practice.

Claudio Arrau was born in Chillan Chile, on February 6, 1903 and like most of history's great pianists, was a child prodigy. His mother was an amateur pianist and his father an eye doctor, who died in a riding accident when Arrau was one-year old. In order to support herself and her three young children, Lucretia Leon de Arrau, an indomitable woman, began to give piano lessons. Claudio, her youngest, was allowed to sit in so she could keep an eye on him and the result was that he could read notes before he could read words. By five, the boy gave recitals both in Chillan and in Santiago and by seven, he and his entire family, including an aunt, were on their way to Berlin (the musical Mecca of that time) where the young piano genius was to study on a Government grant (by an act of the Chilean Congress) over the next ten years. In Berlin, after blundering around for two years with wrong teachers, Arrau, at ten, finally found the teacher he needed. He was Martin Krause, a pupil of Liszt's, a famous music critic and the friend of all the great musicians of his time. Between the young boy and the grand pedagogue, it was love at first sight. For Arrau, Krause became the father he never had and to Krause, Arrau was the pupil he had been searching for. "He will be my masterwork," said Krause, who also taught Edwin Fischer.

In Berlin, the young boy heard all the great pianists of the day; Terese Carreno, d'Albert and later, Busoni, and they all became his idols, especially Carreno and Busoni. At 15, when Krause died from the great flu epidemic of1918, Arrau was 1eft without a teacher. But so much had been imparted to him that he preferred to go on by himself, winning the famed Liszt Prize twice in a row at ages 16 and 17.

Thus, when Arrau, at 20, arrived for his Carnegie Hall debut on October 20, 1923, he was already a seasoned artist who had played throughout Europe since the age of 11, had appeared with Nikisch in Leipzig at 12, and at 17, had made smash debuts both in London (at the Royal Albert Hall) and in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic under Karl Muck.

Arrau had come to the United States for a promised tour of 30 dates and found himself with only five (in those days things like that happened even to veterans like Carreno and Busoni): three concerts in New York and appearances with the Boston and Chicago Symphonies. Boston under Monteux and Chicago under Stock were splendid. Carnegie Hall, with the house mostly empty, was far less so. Arrau, thinking himself a failure, returned home to Berlin no richer than he had come, and that, he says today, was probably the best thing that could have happened to him at the time, artistically-wise.

Berlin, after World War I, was boiling over with new ideas. The time of the salon pianists was about over, musicology was a new discipline and great Beethoven interpreters were coming to the fore who were to transform the art of piano playing in our time. The spirit of Busoni, d'Albert and Ansorge were still everywhere, Schnabel and Edwin Fischer were on the rise, and both freedom of expression and fidelity to the text were the order of the day.

 

Emanuel Ax 

Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studies at the Juilliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University, where he majored in French. Mr. Ax captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.

In the 2008-09 season, Mr. Ax returns to several orchestras with which he has had relationships for many years including the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and Kansas City Symphony where he will perform the world premiere of Stephen Hartke's Piano Concerto. Special projects include a duo recital tour with Yefim Bronfman including performances at Chicago's Orchestra Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Carnegie Hall; a performance with Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall; and a solo recital tour in both North America and Europe. Other European engagements include a tour of the Far East with the Dresden Staatskapelle and Fabio Luisi, with whom he will record the Strauss Burleske for Sony BMG; and performances with the Tonhalle Orchestra, Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra in Munich and Carnegie Hall, the London Philharmonia, and Orchestre National de France.

Highlights of the 2007-08 season include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Chicago, Houston, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and National symphonies. In Europe, he appeared with the Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra, the London Philharmonia, the London Philharmonic, and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin. A solo recital tour in Europe and North America included performances at London's Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and Carnegie Hall.

For the opening Gala of the New York Philharmonic in September 2006, Mr. Ax appeared with Mr. Bronfman in Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos conducted by Lorin Maazel with live national TV coverage. As an "On Location" artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the 2006-07 season, he contributed to a series of chamber and orchestral programs centered around Mozart and Strauss works. With his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki, a project with the Mark Morris Dance Group originally conceived for New York's Mostly Mozart Festival in the summer of 2006 was repeated in Vienna and London. Tours included a series of Mozart Concerti with Orpheus on the west coast, Florida with the Atlanta Symphony conducted by Robert Spano, a ten-city recital tour, duos with bassist Edgar Meyer, and concerts in Japan with his long-standing colleague and partner Yo-Yo Ma.

In the 2005–06 season, Mr. Ax served as Pianist-in-Residence with the Berlin Philharmonic, performing with the orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle in Berlin and New York. Other  recent performance highlights have included separate recital tours with two longstanding colleagues, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Yefim Bronfman; a tour of the United States with the Dresden Staatskapelle and Myung-Whun Chung (with performances in Carnegie Hall and Boston's Symphony Hall); and a season-long "Perspectives" series focused on the music of Debussy.

Mr. Ax has been an exclusive Sony Classical recording artist since 1987. Recent releases include Strauss's Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart; discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman; and period-instrument performances of Chopin's complete works for piano and orchestra. Mr. Ax has received Grammy awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn's piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. His other recordings include the concertos of Liszt and Schoenberg, three solo Brahms albums, an album of tangos by Astor Piazzolla, and the premiere recording of John Adams's Century Rolls with the Cleveland Orchestra for Nonesuch. In the 2004-05 season Mr. Ax also contributed to a BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and which was awarded a 2005 International Emmy.

In recent years, Mr. Ax has turned his attention toward the music of 20th-century composers, premiering works by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner. Mr. Ax is also devoted to chamber music, and he has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.

Mr. Ax resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki. They have two children together, Joseph and Sarah. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Yale and Columbia Universities.  

Raymond Banning


"Raymond Banning is a very special and distinguished pianist, whose values reflect the very best qualities of the Golden Era of pianism."

Yonty Solomon

Raymond Banning
Raymond Banning

The common audience consensus, after a Raymond BanRaymond Banningning recital, is that it is rare to hear such a warm and sensitive piano souRaymond Banningnd these days. His recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall have drawn capacity audiences packed with notable figures from the arts world and have helped to establish him as a major performer in the tradition of the Great Romantic pianists.

Raymond Banning at the Wigmore Hall, March 2005




Raymond Banning's background is perhaps not quite the conventional one for concert performers. By sheer determination, he worked his way from a council estate, practising on his battered upright in the cupboard under the stairs, to the main concert platforms of this country, becoming Professor of Pianoforte atTrinity College of Music on the way.




Raymond was highly gifted from an early age and performed his first piano concertos in his teens, followed by study at Royal College of Music. After graduating he became dissatisfied with his piano playing, feeling that he was not able to produce the depth of expression he felt inside. He decided to enter the teaching profession and spent the next eight years as Head of Music at a school in Kent, developing a fine reputation for the excellence of his choral and musical productions.

Raymond Banning at the recording studio, December 2004




Conducting occupied much of Raymond's spare time. He worked with many amateur choirs and orchestras before directing his own professional orchestra in East Kent while still in his twenties. It regularly used to attract capacity audiences and some top name soloists.

Raymond Banning with Yonty Solomon, 2005




In the 1980s Raymond Banning left teaching and relinquished all other musical pursuits to dedicate himself to becoming a solo pianist on a national level. This brought him to the attention of John Bingham, then Head of Keyboard at Trinity College of Music, and in 1990 he invited Raymond to join the professorial staff at Trinity, where he soon established himself as a distinguished teacher and director of teachers’ courses.



Since then, he has built a burgeoning career in the UK and, increasingly, abroad. His concerts have attracted large audiences, often for a wide range of charitable causes such as a recent Wigmore Hall sell-out recital which raised nearly £7000.








Raymond strongly believes that great music should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age and ability. With writer and broadcaster Richard Ingrams, he presides over the hugely popular piano weekends sponsored by The Oldie magazine, which allow amateur adult pianists to develop their playing skills.

Raymond Banning with Richard Ingrams, March 2005



Raymond also performs concerts of words and music with such artists as Edward Fox, Ian Hislop, Stephanie Cole and Dame Beryl Bainbridge.

Raymond Banning with Ian Hislop, March 2005



Lorraine Banning
Lorraine Banning

Born in Yorkshire in 1963 Lorraine grew up in a large family. Her grandmother, Lillian Blackmore, was an esteemed pianist and teacher in Devonshire. It was grandmother’s musical talent which kept the family going, financially, whilst her husband, Frederick Hicks, was away fighting in World War II.

All Lillian’s daughters learned to play the piano, and many evenings were spent round the piano in the war years.



Lorraine clearly inherited her grandmother’s musical flair, as, from an early age, she displayed great interest and talent for the performing arts, singing in choirs and acting, as well as playing the piano. She studied the piano from the age of ten with a scary teacher who would rap her knuckles with a ruler if she took her eyes off the music.



However, as Lorraine says, “this teacher had a large grand piano and from the first time I tried it I was hooked. From then on it was hard to shut me up, as I was constantly playing.”



Lorraine proved naturally talented, going on to achieve excellent exam results and playing in school concerts. She was set to audition for the leading music colleges when illness struck, causing Lorraine to embark on a different route with her musical education, continuing to develop privately rather than at music college.



When she married and had children she continued playing and teaching piano, then in 1995 she moved to Devon with her children. Here, Lorraine developed her playing further, studying with the highly regarded pianist and teacher Susan Steele, successfully gaining a diploma in piano performance. She also spent some time studying music at North Devon College.



She went on to teach piano, and also worked in a children’s hospice during her time in Devon. She says, “Using music therapeutically in a children’s hospice was a most rewarding and enlightening experience, and emphasized to me how music is really all about communication, reaching people of all levels, abilities and situations.



Although this was not my original career plan, and it was often difficult to find the time to develop my performing, the whole experience of working in this hospice did, in fact, benefit my playing by deepening it considerably.”

Despite bouts of ill health, full-time work and bringing up two children, Lorraine achieved an Associated Board Diploma in Piano Performance during her years in Devon.



Lorraine met Raymond in 2006, and the two married in 2008 in Bedford, where they now have a popular and successful piano teaching practice. Lorraine is also increasingly in demand as a performer, both as a soloist and in duets with her husband, and for her workshops and lectures.



Her students have achieved 100% pass rate in examinations for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, both in piano and theory.