Famous Pianists

Leszek Możdżer – Polish music star making his way to the international fame

leszek mozdzer 01
Source: zadymka.pl

Leszek Mozdzer is a polish pianist distinguished for his ceaseless work to make jazz music scene thrive in Poland, which he became extremely successful at. He is known to be a cultured, disciplined and seasoned musician. Leszek won numerous musical and cultural awards. These include Melomani awards, Jazz Oscars and Jazz Forum Award to mention a few. He belonged to musical band Emil Kowalski which he himself initiated. Mozdzer plays mainly the piano, on top of that being a successful song writer and a producer.

 

“I consider him to be the greatest talent among Polish

 jazz pianists of recent years”

Zbigniew Preisner

 

Leszek Mozdzer was born in Poland on the 23rd march 1971. He is a pianist, music producer and film music composer. Mozdzer was encouraged by his parents at his early stage of life (5 years) to start practicing piano. A tutor and a standard piano was provided for him to aid his piano training. He was later admitted into Stanislaw Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdansk from which he graduated in the year 1996. Mozdzer later formed his first jazz band. His career took a full turn towards being a renown jazz player when he joined Milosc band later in 1991. The next year marked the starting point of successes for Mozdzer as a jazz pianist. He won his first award during the International Jazz Competition Jazz Juniors which was then held in Cracow.

His commitment to jazz music was rewarded with recognitions and various awards and accolades. Mozdzer was named the most promising musician and the Best Jazz Pianist in the year 1993 and 1994. He was then honored as The Musician of the Year on various occasions during his career life.

Mozdzer was also deeply involved in theater music. Some of his notable works in this area include Hair Love, Rock Musical for the Musical Theater in Gdynia, Tango z Lady M. (also called Tango with Lady M.) done at the Polish Dance Theater in Poznan as well as Psychosis staged in Dusseldorf, Germany in the year 2002. He wrote a trans opera named A Midsummer Night’s Dream staged by Wojciech Koscielniak at the Musical Theater in Gdynia which had its premiere in October 2001.

leszek mozdzer 02
Source: Pinterest

 

Leszek Mozdzer’s musical career thrived thanks to his dynamism and improvisation which helped him a lot in his compositions and creativity. He is very flexible in his expression of music and always comes up with a unique piece of music composition and stage performance. He was rewarded with best original soundtrack for the album Kaczmarek to Mozdzer (a collection of contemporary film music) in the year 2011. Leszek Mozdzer has never been a lone cowboy. In fact he was always respected as a great team player, winning him the spectacular opportunities to work hand in hand with numerous notable musicians. He produced various music recordings with some of most renown legends of Polish music including Zbigniew Preisner and Jan Kaczmarek. Mozdzer also performed live with numerous Poland based musicians such Tomasz Stanko, Janusz Muniak, Michal Urbaniak, Anna Maria Jopek, Adam Pieronczyk and Piotr Wojtasik. He also collaborated with internationally famous artists such as David Friesen, Pat Metheny, Buster Williams, Billy Harper, Archi Shepp, David Liebman, Charles Fox, Eddie Daniels and others.

Leszek Mozdzer also worked as Artistic director of his home based festival done annually in Poznan on the lake of Strzeszynski shoreline called Enter Music Festival. In 2011, Leszek Mozdzer – Komeda album was released by the German popular record label, the ACT. The album contains collection of songs composed by Krzysztof Komeda, a widely acclaimed film music composer.

Notable albums:

  • Chopin – Impressions – 1994
  • The Time – 2005
  • Between Us and The Light – 2006
  • Pasodoble – 2007

Selected theater music scores:

  • Hair – love, rock musicalMusical Theater in Gdynia
  • Tango with Lady M.Polish Theater of Dance in Poznan
  • A midsummer Night’s DreamMusical theater in Gdynia

Arthur Rubinstein – one of the grandest piano virtuosos of our times

arthur rubinstein 02
Source: telegraph.co.uk

Arthur Rubinstein was one of the notable musicians (a pianist precisely) in the twentieth century, with so many recognitions he received for his live performance and recordings. He was even considered to be the frontier of those that made music flourish in Spain during his time. He performed with great notable figures in music, the likes of Mozart and the host of others. He wrote so many music pieces, composed songs and hosted many stage performances to which he received accolades internationally for all these. Arthur lived a fulfilling life in music where he was able to express his greatest expression to the fullest till his death in the year 1982.

Early Life

Arthur Rubinstein was born on 28th January 1887 in Lodz, Poland to the family of Isaak Rubinstein and Felicia Blima Fajga. As the 7th child of the family, he lived in the comfort of his family with his father running a textile factory in town which happened to be a lucrative business. Therefore, he lived a comfortable life in his early stage of life. At around age 3, his faltering interest was so glaring to the extent of refusing to play violin as imposed on him by his father but instead he developed interest in the piano. His first piano performance was in Berlin in 14th December 1894 where he attracted the attention of Joseph Joachim (a Hungarian violinist). Impressed with Arthur’s performance and perceiving the potential of the young child, took it on himself to mentor young Arthur in his musical career. So, he was left under the care of Joachim henceforth and that marked the last day Arthur ever lived with his family.

arthur rubinstein 01
Source: wqxr.org/

Music Career

His first tutor ever was Heinrich who to large extent shaped his musical career to what Rubinstein himself later confessed to be a success. His first debut was his first professional performance at the age of 13 at Berlin Beethoven Saal. In quest to further his study in music, he moved to Paris in France in the year 1904. It was in Paris that he got his first contract signing by Maurice Ravel and Saint-Saens. A major set back happen to him in the middle of 1906 when he was criticized that his playing style was not professional enough and immature. He went back to Paris with a heartbreak and was unable to perform publicly not until four (4) years after. His decision not to perform publicly came with its repercussions; He went broke, depression set in which make him to attempt suicide. With the help of friends and encouragement from his lovers, he got back to public performance in the year 1910 with a concert in Berlin. He was well received and this gave him more courage to continue with his music career. He continued his performances till the out break of world war I.

His pace reduced a little as he had to combine the work as interpreter (because he was well vast in eight different languages) with his music career. His career went back to it full bloom in 1914 in Spain as he was received with so much enthusiasm and warmth by his Spanish audiences. They so much loved his music style and dynamism that he became well established there. He had his tour around in Spain with a lot of successful performances. This made him to be back on his feet financially and emotionally. Rubinstein was gifted with the extraordinary skill to memorize a complicated music piece just listening once. He was able to memorize and learn so many music pieces which in return help him in applying dynamics to his music style. He had more time for practice after he moved back to France, practicing not less than twelve hours a day. This further boosted his playing skills.

Another set-back in his career was in the 1969 when he was diagnosed with a Macular disorder, but Rubinstein was determined not to weigh down. He continued with his public performances and also some charity performance. His career pursuit ends 1976 due to blindness.

Rubenstein after 75 years of successful public performance died a natural death on the 20th December 1982 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Li Yundi – the incredible talent Chopin himself would be proud of

li yundi 01
Source: steinway.com

Yundi Li is a well-known China born and bred classical pianist of his generation. He was considered second to none pianist that emanated from the Republic of China during the 21st century. He was the first ever youngster to have won the International Chopin Competition at the age of 18 years. After winning this award, he rapidly became well-know not only in China but also all over Europe, America and so on. Various record-breaking concerts, recordings, classical pieces are accredited to Yundi Li. He was well known to be a consistent and diligent man in his music career which without doubt earn him so many accolades, awards, international recognition e.t.c. he was in the year 2010 awarded a Gold Medal for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis by the Polish Government because of his ceaseless contribution and impact to their culture. He was considered by some as a genius of the piano because of his very rapid ability to learn various skills and moves on the piano in a very short period on time.

 

EARLY LIFE

He was born in 7th October, 1982 in Chongqing to the family of Li Chuan and Zhang Xiaolu who were at that time both worker in a steel company named Sichuan Chongqing. His success today being a world class pianist can be accredited to his parent who although were not music inclined but encouraged young Yundi Li at the age of 3 years old by buying him an accordion or also called the harmonica. Which he studied so well and perfectly that at the age of four his progress is so pronounced to the extent that he attracted the attention of Tan Jianmin who at the time was a professor of music in China. This marks the beginning of Li’s successful music life as he won the golden prize for the Chongqing Children’s Accordion competition. Li’s journey as an Accordion player ends in the year 1989 as his Accordion tutor, Professor Tan Jianmin referred him to a well renown piano tutor of their time in China, Dan Zhaoyi. This mark the beginning of Li’s professional piano journey. Li studied with Dan Zhaoyi from 1989 to about 1993. He then seek to further his professional piano career by gaining admission into Shenzhen Arts School located in the axis of China.

li yundi 02
Source: thatsmags.com

HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS

His accomplishments start with winning the Chongqing Children’s Accordion competition at age 4. He then won the Piano Competition children’s category in 1994 in Beijing. Later in 1995, he won the Stravinsky International Youth competition in the first place and the next year was a big achievement for him also as he won the most contending competition which brings all together pianist all over the world to Asia annually. The consequents award he won with the years are shown below:

The victory of Li in the year 2000 edition of chopping Competition makes him to come to the limelight and places him on a demand far and near places. He got his first recording consisting entirely of Chopin’s pieces released in 2002 and in the very next year which is year 2003, Li made his Carnegie Hall debut to great acclaim. This gave the CD the award of the New York Best CD of the year. Li moved to Hong Kong in the year 2006 where he has since lived till date. 

REPERTOIRE

Li’s repertory is so large and extensive, by simply taking in works by Domenico Scarlatti, Mozart , Schumann , Prokofiev, and Ravel . li’s performance style “is broad, almost chameleonic, sounding plush and Romantic and fiery for Chopin and Liszt, but turning grittier and darker for works such as Prokofiev Second Concerto.

In addition to his repertoire, Li has written and recorded exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon. Yundi Li has then consistently performed numerous concerts around the world.