Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu, recently named as ‘one of 30 pianists under 30 destined for a spectacular career’ (International Piano Magazine), dazzles audiences worldwide with her effortless musicality and captivating stage presence.
From recent appearances in New York’s Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to the Royal Albert Hall, Dariescu’s 2017/18 season marks more important milestones including debuts both at Vienna’s prestigious Musikverein, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Dinu Lipatti with two concertos (Lipatti & Grieg) performed together with the Transylvania Philharmonic conducted by Gabriel Bebeselea and her Vienna Staatsoper debut in recital with Angela Gheorghiu. Alexandra Dariescu makes her US concerto debuts with the Utah Symphony and Kazuki Yamada as well as her Canadian debut with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Marzena Diakun and Orchestre Symphonique de Québec with Fabien Gabel. Alexandra also performs Lipatti and Grieg with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Cristian Mandeal in London’s Cadogan Hall and will be soloist with the Brighton Philharmonic and Barry Wordsworth as well as Bath Philharmonia and Jason Thornton. Following her return to the Enescu Festival for a duo recital, Alexandra will be resident at the Iserlohner Herbsttage für Musik in Germany performing a recital, concertos by Haydn and Rachmaninov and giving a three-day masterclass.
The premiere of Dariescu’s own production, The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu – a ground-breaking multimedia performance created for piano solo with dance and digital animation – will take place at Barbican’s Milton Court, followed by performances at Moscow’s International House of Music, the Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival and multiple tours to China.
This season will see Alexandra complete her trilogy recording of Messiaen and Faure preludes which compliments the previously released CDs of Chopin/Dutilleux and Shostakovich/ Szymanowski preludes (Champs Hill Records). The 2016 release of Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto No. 1 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Mikhail Pletnev’s concert suite of arrangements from The Nutcracker (Signum Records) received high praise. Another recording features Emily Howard’s ‘Mesmerism’ for piano and orchestra with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra was released on NMC Records.
Always curious to continue learning, Alexandra receives advice and guidance from Sir András Schiff. She has been mentored by Imogen Cooper through the Royal Philharmonic Society/YCAT Philip Langridge Mentoring Scheme. A former artist of Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) she was a Laureate at the Verbier Festival Academy. In 2013 Alexandra received the UK’s Women of the Future Award in the Arts and Culture category. She became the youngest musician to receive the Custodian of the Romanian Crown Medal and in 2017 was presented with the Radio Romania’s Cultural Award. In 2017 Alexandra was appointed patron of Music in Lyddington. A former graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, as well as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Alexandra was appointed an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Northern College of Music in 2016.
If you would open any biography of Franz Liszt, you would probably mostly read about his disquiet life as a piano virtuoso, his passionate love life, and the return to his catholic roots at the end of his life. Although all of this might be true, it only scratches the surface of his comprehensive musical personality. Liszt was a pianist, conductor, teacher and organiser, but above all he was a composer of a voluminous, capricious body of work. Even though his piano works formed his core business, he gave rise to the symphonic poem, got rid of the organ's stuffy appearance, and reinvigorated the oratorio. Moreover, with his piano transciptions of Bach's organ works and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, he was an advocate of both old and new music.
Together with his son-in-law Richard Wagner, he was in the forefront of the Romantic movement and anticipated the musical revolutions of the early 20th century with his new composition techniques.
Frédéric Chopin is one of the greatest composers of the Romantic piano tradition. He was a master in making the small form great. His ballades, mazurkas, polonaises, preludes, etudes and nocturnes all belong to the most popular standard works for piano ever written.
As a child prodigy, Chopin grew up in a middle class family, who lived among the literati of Warsaw. When in 1830 the November Uprising broke out in Poland, the twenty year old Chopin stayed in Vienna. He became an exile and never returned to his mother country. He eventually settled in Paris.
He avoided public concerts, but he did like performing in small settings, such as salons and at home for his friends. This way, Chopin built a reputation as an exceptional pianist, teacher and composer.
Chopin brought a unique synthesis between the Viennese bravado and the French/English lyric style. Even though his pieces often are technically very demanding, the focus was always on creating a lyric expression and poetic atmosphere. He invented the instrumental ballade, and brought salongenres to a higher level with his many innovations and refinements.