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International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes College The New School For
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MARTINA FILJAK , pianist
Martina Filjak is considered to be one of those young artists who have successfully made the path from a child prodigy to a mature musician. Her ‘magnetic stage presence’ and ‘charismatic personality’ regularly impress audiences and critics with a wide range of repertoire, which includes monumental pieces such as the “Hammerklavier” Sonata of Beethoven or the 2nd piano concerto of Bartok.
Since her debut in native Croatia at the age of 12 with the renowned “Zagreb Soloists” playing Mozart concerto KV 449, she has developed an extensive repertoire of piano concertos performing regularly in the most prominent concert cycles in her home country (with for example the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Zagreb Symphony Orchestra and the Croatian Chamber Orchestra) as well as with orchestras abroad.
She was featured in numerous important solo engagements both at home and internationally (Concertgebouw , Amsterdam ; Hotel de Ville , Bruxelles ; Philharmonic Hall , Ljubljana ;Salle Cortot , Paris ; Palais des Congres , Strasbourg ; National Palace of Culture , Sofia; Boesendorfer Saal , Vienna ; Steinway Hall New York ).
The season 2005-2006 brought her over 50 appearances worldwide where she performed as a soloist with orchestras of the Strasbourg Philharmonic , Croatian Symphony Orchestra ,The Morocco Philharmonic , The Belgrade Philharmonic , as well as toured with Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and Croatian chamber Orchestra , featuring concertos of Mozart and (KV 414 and KV 466) , Rachmaninov , Grieg and Schostakovitch. In the same season she held recital performances in France , Germany , Italy , Greece and Japan . Her interpretation of Beethoven's op.106 in Germany's 'Villa Musica ' have earned her standing ovations and rave reviews.
In 2007 - 2008 she became a laureate of important international piano competitions: in the finals of the 'Busoni' piano competition in Bolzano she received the 5th prize , and n November 2007 she won 1st prize at the 58. International 'Viotti' Piano Competition between 122 contestants. In January 2008 she was awarded 5th Prize at the UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria and in May 2008 1st prize and Gold Medal at the 54 International Piano Competition 'Maria Canals' in Barcelona. She performed with the ensembles of Streicherakademie Bozen , Torino Philharmonic Orchestra , the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa as well as the Orquestra Simfonica del Valles.
Martina Filjak was twice awarded prizes that brought her the title of the most succesful young Croatian musician: 1993 the prize of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and 1998 the prize of the Jeunesses Musicales, Croatia.
Since childhood she was a winner of a number of international prizes that include the prize of the Boesendorfer company in Vienna , a special prize at the Okiden Competition in Japan , 1st prizet at the International Competitions ' Johannes Brahms' in Austria , ‘M. Masin’ in Italy , 'International Keyboard Institute Competition' in New York, USA and ‘Vincenzo Bellini’ competition in Italy,the honorary prize on the ´Animato´competition in Paris , the ‘Clara Haskil’ scholarship of the Dutch foundation ‘Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds’ as well as the ´´Alfred Toepfer ´´ scholarship .
Martina Filjak was born in Zagreb and raised in a family of pianists. She completed her musical education in the Music Academy of Zagreb, and the Vienna Conservatory. In 2001 her studies took her to the Netherlands and Germany (the cities of Rotterdam and Karlsruhe).
In search for further artistic development she took part in masterclasses (Moscow, Salzburg , New York) and regularly maintains contact with renowned artists as Cyprien Katsaris, Stephen Kovacevich , Jean Bernard Pommier . Currently she is pursuing her studies at the Soloist Class of the Hochschule fuer Musik und Theater in Hannover with Prof. Mi Kyung Kim .
During the summer 2008 Martina will perform in Music festivals in Berlin , New York , Passau and Dubrovnik. Projects for 2009 include touring Spain and China , performances with Moscow State Symphony Orchestra,Zagreb Philharmonic and the Torino Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a debut recording for the 'Naxos' label.
´'Martina Filjak played her concerto of Mozart KV 449 clearly with more souvereignity , she simply knew professionally what mattered. She showed her capability of producing a long and carrying sound with all the sensitivity of nuances needed. Additionally , she knew how to balance her play with the orchestras ,so that each entry worked perfectly together ....She managed to play the second movement with an intense flow within the musical content.....'
Piano News , September 2007 , Article regarding the Busoni Competition , Carsten Duerer
'The Ravel concerto played by Martina Filjak can only be compared to the performances of young Ivo Pogorelich – very special , extremely personal and as artist bursting with energy ,charisma and self confidence.'
Zeljka Weber , “Jutarnji list” , Zagreb
'...performing Grieg's Concerto in A -minor, Martina Filjak was a real discovery. She was educated in Zagreb and Vienna and is currently the only student of Stephen Kovacevich ...her playing unifies power, lots of nuances and clear articulation that fitted greatly to the romantic expression of Grieg...'
Marc Munch , “Alsace news “ , Strasbourg , December 2005
The surprise of the evening was the appearance of Martina Filjak, a young lady that equally flew over the keyboard as she powerfully used it in an incredibly virtuous and strongly emotional performance of Schostakovitchs 1st piano concerto op.35.
…with outstanding virtuosity and dedication, with forcible rhythms , wild fireworks of technical brilliance and a fine sense for elegiac moments she gave an overwhelming impression…
Susi Hofmann,, “Zuricher Oberlander” ,Switzerland , April 2006
“The artists performance of Mozarts music has the qualities of a great sens of form, an easy and soft velvety tone ....a particulairly succesful Andante movement showed an inner piece glowing out of the masterly shaped musical frases ....an approach obvious in the interpretations of one of her teahcers Stephen Bishop Kovacevich “
Radio Belgrade , Belgrade , May 2006
“ Martina Filjak mastered in a phenomenal way not only the score of the ‘Hammerklavier Sonata ‘ by Beethoven but she also entered into the very centre of the composition….a suggestive playing that never reduced the tension of the musical line…..a very deserved standing ovation!”
‘Die Rheinpfalz ‘ 23.10.2006