Künstler

Francesco Tristano ® Aymeric Giraudel

Francesco Tristano

A young musician and composer causing a stir on the club scene as well as in classical concert venues is probably a world-first. It may also be the first time that purists from the classical and techno camps actually agree on something – That they don’t know quite what to make of this young musician who refuses to stick to the rules. For Francesco Tristano this kind of reaction is nothing new. Experienced concert audiences and classical music lovers may feel equally baffled when they hear a pianist blend and mix his own composition – just like a DJ – into a piece by baroque composer Girolamo Frescobaldi…
The intrepidness with Francesco Tristano combines eras and styles, occasionally allowing them to collide, may initially create a baffled response. However, Luxembourg-born Tristano has no aspirations as an agitator. Almost everything he does is an expression of an open-minded attitude which refuses to accept borders and constrictions. Tristano knows all about the interpretational conventions that have shaped generations of classical pianists – and he has chosen to ignore them. He does not seek approval as an artist and when his dynamic performance emotively basks in the intrinsic severity of Old music – that’s when he’s truly radical.
Tristano, born in 1981, discovered the piano at the age of five. Aged 13, he played his first concert, presenting his own compositions. He later toured both as a soloist and with renowned orchestras, such as the Russian National Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra among others. Tristano founded his chamber ensemble, The New Bach Players which he also conducts. This ensemble consciously breaks with conventions, using a modern grand piano and old, vibratoless bows on contemporary string instruments.
Tristano visited New York’s Juilliard School during five years. The city of New York opened his ears to electronic and club music. to complete Bach legend Rosalyn Tureck’s master class. In 2004, he won the first prize at the International piano competition for contemporary music in Orléans, France. Tristano has released twelve albums, among them recordings of Bach Goldberg Variations and complete keyboard concertos, Luciano Berio complete piano works, and Girolamo Frescobaldi Toccatas. ‘Not for Piano’ (inFine, 2007), presented his own compositions as well as versions of techno classics at the piano. ‘Idiosynkrasia’ (inFine, 2010), recorded at Carl Craig’s Planet E-communications in Detroit, was released to critical acclaim in 2010. ‘bachCage’, produced by Moritz von Oswald, was released on DGG in 2011. Tristano is a Deutsche Grammophon artist and he released his third album “scandale” with Alice Sara Ott on that label in 2014. In 2017, the album »Piano Circle Songs feat. Chilly Gonzales« has been releasec on Sony Classical. His collaborative tracks and remixes have been released on labels such as Innervisions, CLR, Visionquest, PIAS and Infine.

Thomas Hampson

Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, hails from Spokane, Washington. He has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. Comprising more than 150 albums, his discography includes winners of a Grammy Award, five Edison Awards, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist-in-Residence.

In 2010 he was honored with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he serves as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Hampson was made honorary professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Heidelberg and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, as well as being an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences. He is the artistic director of the Heidelberger Frühling’s Lied Academy In 2020, he was awarded the Heidelberger Frühling music award.

Sir András Schiff © Roberto Masotti

Sir András Schiff

Sir András Schiff was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953 and started piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadász. Subsequently he continued his musical studies at the Ferenc Liszt Academy with Professor Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados, and in London with George Malcolm. Recitals and special cycles, ie the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Bee-thoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann and Bartók form an important part of his activities. Since 2004 he has performed complete cycles of the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas in various cities, and the cycle in the Zurich Tonhalle was recorded live. Sir András Schiff has worked with most of the major international orchestras and conductors, but nowadays he performs mainly as a conductor and soloist. In 1999 he created his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca, which consists of international soloists, chamber musicians and friends. In addition to working annually with this Orchestra, he also works every year with the Philharmonia Orchestra London and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Since childhood he has enjoyed playing chamber music and from 1989 until 1998 was Artistic Director of the internationally highly praised “Musiktage Mondsee” chamber music festival near Salzburg. In 1995, together with Heinz Holliger, he founded the “Ittinger Pfingstkonzerte” in Kartause Ittingen, Switzerland. In the 2007/2008 season he was Pianist in Residence of the Berlin Philharmonic.

Sir András Schiff has been awarded numerous international prizes, the most recent being the Schumann Prize 2011 awarded by the city of Zwickau. In 2006 he also became an Honorary Member of the Beethoven House in Bonn in recognition of his interpretations of Beethoven’s works.
Sir András Schiff has been made an Honorary Professor by the Music Schools in Budapest, Detmold and Munich, and a Special Supernumerary Fellow of Balliol College (Oxford, UK).

Fazil Say

With his extraordinary pianistic talents, Fazıl Say has been touching audiences and critics alike for more than twenty-five years, in a way that has become rare in the increasingly materialistic and elaborately organised classical music world. Concerts with this artist are something different. They are more direct, more open, more exciting; in short, they go straight to the heart. Which is exactly what the composer Aribert Reimann thought in 1986 when, during a visit to Ankara, he had the opportunity, more or less by chance, to appreciate the playing of the sixteen-year-old pianist. He immediately asked the American pianist David Levine, who was accompanying him on the trip, to come to the city’s conservatory, using the now much-quoted words: ‘You absolutely must hear him, this boy plays like a devil.’

Fazıl Say had his first piano lessons from Mithat Fenmen, who had himself studied with Alfred Cortot in Paris. Perhaps sensing just how talented his pupil was, Fenmen asked the boy to improvise every day on themes to do with his daily life before going on to complete his essential piano exercises and studies. This contact with free creative processes and forms is seen as the source of the immense improvisatory talent and the aesthetic outlook that make Fazıl Say the pianist and composer he is today. He has been commissioned to write music for, among others, the Salzburger Festspiele, the WDR and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Festspiele Mecklenburg- Vorpommern, the Konzerthaus Wien, the Dresdner Philharmonie, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the BBC. His oeuvre includes four symphonies, two oratorios, various solo concertos and numerous works for piano and chamber music.

From 1987 onwards, Fazıl Say fine-tuned his skills as a classical pianist with David Levine, first at the Musikhochschule “Robert Schumann” in Düsseldorf and later in Berlin. In addition, he regularly attended master classes with Menahem Pressler. His outstanding technique very quickly enabled him to master the so-called warhorses of the repertoire with masterful ease. It is precisely this blend of refinement (in Bach, Haydn and Mozart) and virtuoso brilliance in the works of Liszt, Mussorgsky and Beethoven that gained him victory at the Young Concert Artists international competition in New York in 1994. Since then he has played with all of the renowned American and European orchestras and numerous leading conductors, building up a multifaceted repertoire ranging from Bach, through the Viennese Classics (Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven) and the Romantics, right up to contemporary music, including his own piano compositions.

Guest appearances have taken Fazıl Say to countless countries on all five continents; the French newspaper “Le Figaro” called him ‘a genius’. He also performs chamber music regularly: for many years he was part of a fantastic duo with the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Other notable collaborators include Maxim Vengerov, the Minetti Quartet, Nicolas Altstaedt and Marianne Crebassa.

From 2005 to 2010, he was artist in residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund; during the 2010/11 season he held the same position at the Konzerthaus Berlin. Fazıl Say was also a focal point of the programme of the Schleswig- Holstein Musik Festival in the summer of 2011. There have been further residencies and Fazıl Say festivals in Paris, Tokyo, Meran, Hamburg, and Istanbul. During the 2012/13 season Fazıl Say was the artist in residence at the hr- Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt and at the Rheingau Musik Festival 2013, where he was honoured with the Rheingau SEASON 2019/2020 – Musik Preis. In April 2015 Fazıl Say gave a successful concert with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, New York, followed by a tour with concerts throughout Europe. In 2014 he was artist in residence at the Bodenseefestival, where he played 14 concerts. During their 2015/2016 season the Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Zürcher Kammerorchester invited him to be their Artist in Residence, he spent three seasons as Artist in Residence at the Festival der Nationen in Bad Wörishofen and was Composer in Residence at the Dresdner Philharmonie in 2018/19.

In December 2016, Fazıl Say was awarded the International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights, Peace, Freedom, Poverty Reduction and Inclusion, in Bonn. In the autumn of 2017, he was awarded the Music Prize of the city of Duisburg.

His recordings of works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin and Stravinsky with Teldec Classics as well as Mussorgsky, Beethoven and his own works with the label naïve have been highly praised by critics and won several prizes, including three ECHO Klassik Awards. In 2014, his recording of Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 3 (with hr- Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt / Gianandrea Noseda) and Beethoven’s sonatas op. 111 and op. 27/2 Moonlight was released, as well as the CD ‘Say plays Say’, featuring his compositions for piano. Since 2016 Fazıl Say is an exclusive Warner Classics artist. In the autumn of 2016, his recording of all of Mozart sonatas was released on that label, for which, in 2017, Fazıl Say received his fourth ECHO Klassik award. Together with Nicolas Altstaedt, he recorded the album “4 Cities” (2017). In autumn 2017 Warner Classics released the Nocturnes Frédéric Chopins and the album “Secrets” with French songs, which he recorded together with Marianne Crebassa and which won the Gramophone Classical Music Award in 2018. His 2018 album is dedicated to Debussy and Satie, whilst with his most recent recording “Troy Sonata – Fazıl Say Plays Say” he presents only his own works.

Armida Quartett

Winning the ARD International Competition in 2012 (also sweeping all other prizes including the audience prize) propelled the Armida Quartett on to the international concert platform. 2018 saw the quartet make their USA debut. In 2017 the quartet completed a season as ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) “Rising Stars” as their fourth disc was released. In 2016 they participated for two seasons on the BBC New Generation Artists Scheme, during which the Armida Quartett gave its’ BBC Proms debut and celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Founded in Berlin in 2006, the Armida Quartett took its’ name from a Haydn opera, the “father of the string quartet”. They have studied with members of the Artemis Quartett and Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartett), also drawing musical inspiration from Alfred Brendel, Reinhard Goebel, Eberhard Feltz, Walter Levin, Natalia Prischepenko and Tabea Zimmermann. The quartet has participated in masterclasses with the Arditti, Alban Berg and Guarneri Quartets.

The 2019/20 season sees the quartet as guest artists in major European cities including the Louvre, Paris, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Bilbao – the latter with pianist Pavel Kolesnikov. In Barcelona the quartet will give the world premiere of a new work for quartet and electronics by Ramon Humet. Joining the Beethoven anniversary celebrations they are guests of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, joined by their mentor and colleague, Tabea Zimmermann in an all-Beethoven programme. In spring 2020 they will tour to China with Sabine Meyer.

Leading towards a CD release of the complete Mozart quartets (CAvi records) in 2021, the quartet’s unique editing project working alongside G. Henle Verlag publishers on a new edition of the Mozart quartets continues. The quartet established its own Berlin concert series, “Mozart Exploded”, in 2016. The series explores Mozart as an avantgarde of his time and each programme juxtaposes a new composition currently including works by Jörg Widmann, Frangis Ali-Sade and Marco Nicodijevic. Other recent highlights have included tours to the USA and in Europe, they were guest artists at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern where they premiered and performed a new quintet by pianist Kit Armstrong as well as collaborating with Daniel Müller-Schott and the Modigliani Quartet. In the 2018/19 season, their first orchestral residency as Artists in Residence with the Duisburger Philharmoniker saw them performing Daniel Schnyder’s concerto, “Impetus” for string quartet and orchestra alongside chamber and education concerts. As guests of the 2019 Vale of Glamorgan festival, they performed three programmes with works entirely by contemporary composers including a world premiere by Robert Fokkens and works by Dobrinka Tabakova, Sofia Gubaidulina, Arvo Pärt, Pēteris Vasks, Steve Reich and Johannes Fischer.

The ensemble’s debut CD for CAvi in 2013, featuring works by Bartók, Ligeti and Kurtág, was selected for the critics’ choice list by the German Record Critics’ Award. Their disc of Mozart quartets (2016) won equally high praise and 2019 has recently seen the release of their next Mozart disc in a project that will see the complete Mozart quartets recording released in 2021. Beethoven, Shostakovich and a disc exploring their fascination in the fugue, “Fuga Magna” (2017) have all received notable praise.

Working with chamber partners is an inspiration for the Armida Quartett – they have additionally worked with Raphael Alpermann, Thomas Hampson, Ewa Kupiec, Maximilian Hornung, Sabine Meyer and Jörg Widmann and fellow BBC NGA alumni including Pavel Kolesnikov, Lise Berthaud, French horn player Alec Frank-Gemill and Quatour Van Kuijk.

Grigory Sokolov © AMC Verona

Grigory Sokolov

Grigory Sokolov is considered one of the world’s greatest living pianists. He amazes both public and critics alike; by using little pedal, and thus superior finger-work, he draws from the concert grand an immense variety of sounds; he has an unlimited palette of colours, a spontaneous imagination and a magical control of line. His interpretations are poetic and highly individual and he has an unbelievably wide repertoire ranging from the 12th century music of Perotinus through to 20th century composers.
Born in Leningrad, he began music studies when he was five years old and at the age of sixteen he embarked upon a great international career, having been awarded the First Prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
Grigory Sokolov is a regular guest of the most prestigious concert halls and festivals of Europe. He has worked with orchestras including the London Philharmonia, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, New York Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, Montreal Symphony, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Moscow and St. Petersburg Philharmonics, and has worked with many of the world’s most prominent conductors including Myung-Whung Chung, Valery Gergiev, Herbert Blomstedt, Neeme Järvi, Sakari Oramo, Trevor Pinnock, Andrew Litton, Walter Weller and Moshe Atzmon.
A few years ago Sokolov decided to dedicate his entire concert activity to solo recitals and he is one of the few pianists to be a regular guest of the major European halls each year. In 2015 he performed at the Heidelberger Frühling, as well as several times before.