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Martino Tirimo & Atsuko Kawakami

Preview: Chichester Music Society: Martino Tirimo & Atsuko Kawakami Piano Duo: ‘The Dance in Music’

08/11/2020

Wednesday 11 November via livestream – concert details.

Due to the Covid crisis, the concert on 11th November with the Rosamunde Trio has had to be postponed as two of their members have not been able to travel from the US. However, we are delighted that Martino Tirimo (the Trio’s pianist and leader) and his brilliant student Atsuko Kawakami will be giving a recital for piano duo instead. The pair will be playing a very attractive programme of music entitled ‘The Dance in Music’, and includes music by Brahms (St. Anthony Variations) and Tchaikovsky (Nutcracker Suite).

Martino has asked that this evening’s concert be dedicated to the memory of our late Treasurer, Chris Coote. Chris had known Martino for many years through the masterclasses at Morley College and had invited him to perform for CMS with the Rosamunde Trio.

Regarded by both critics and fellow artists as one of today’s most distinguished musicians, Martino Tirimo’s career started early. From age eight he was performing Concertos and at twelve conducted seven complete performances of ‘La Traviata’, with οrchestra and soloists from La Scala, Milano. Born in Cyprus into a musical family, he first studied piano and violin with his father, a distinguished violinist and opera conductor. After winning the Liszt Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, he studied there and graduated with the highest honours, winning all prizes. He completed his studies in Vienna and finally with Gordon Green, whom he regarded as his greatest mentor. Victories at the international competitions in Munich and Geneva launched his international career.

In 2010 alone, he gave more than 100 concerts including the complete works of Chopin at London’s Kings Place, described by critics as “a colossal feat”. His playing is often compared to that of Schnabel, Arrau, Rubinstein and other great pianists. He has performed all over the world with most major orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Cleveland Orchestra, London Symphony, Philharmonia and numerous others and has worked with such conductors as Barbirolli, Boult, Bychkov, Marriner, Masur, Norrington, Rattle and Kurt Sanderling.

His numerous recordings for EMI, Warner, BMG, Nimbus and other companies include the complete works of Mozart, Debussy, Janacek, Schubert’s 21 Sonatas and the Concertos of Brahms, Chopin, Mozart, Rachmaninov and Tippett (with composer conducting), with London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic and Prague Chamber orchestras. In 1995 he won a Gold Disc for his Rachmaninov Concerto No.2 and ‘Paganini’ Rhapsody, one of EMI’s best-sellers.

As conductor he worked closely with the Dresden Philharmonic over many years, and also worked with orchestras such as the English Chamber, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and Prague Chamber. His compositions include the film score for the ‘Odyssey’. In 2002 he founded the Rosamunde Trio, which has since concertized widely in Europe and the US. He also works with talented young pianists and twelve of his students have won first prizes at international competitions. Moreover, he is in demand for masterclasses worldwide, most recently at festivals in Japan, China, the USA and Italy.

His enormous repertoire embraces 80 Concertos and nearly the entire major solo works of the great composers. He is particularly famous for his Schubert interpretations, having given the first-ever cycle of all the Sonatas at London’s South Bank and many other series at Wigmore Hall and Kings Place, devoted to all the composer’s major works. His edition of the 21 Sonatas in three volumes is published by Wiener Urtext Edition.

Other notable events include many series devoted to Mozart’s complete piano works, Beethoven’s 32 Sonatas and all of Chopin’s and Debussy’s works. With the Rosamunde Trio he has performed all the Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Dvorak and Shostakovich Piano Trios. In 2016, engagements included a five-concert festival in London comprising all the great Piano Quintets, in collaboration with five distinguished String Quartets. Of numerous festival appearances, memorable was his Beethoven Concerto No.4 during the Olympic period in Athens with the Vienna Philharmonic. At that time, he also had the honour of running with the Olympic torch, perhaps the first classical musician to do so. In recent years his tours have also included concerts in Asia, notably China and Japan. In 2011 he was awarded the Nemitsas Foundation Prize for Excellence in the Arts and Sciences.

In October 2019 Hänssler Classic released the first-ever complete recording of Beethoven’s entire Piano Solo Works on the modern piano. The boxed set of 16 CDs, all of which he recorded at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, comprises more than 20 hours of music and includes many fine pieces which are little-known and rarely-played, like the many elegant Dances. Gramophone has already welcomed it as “a major recorded achievement” and the French magazine Artamag as “a unique collection” and singled out “a staggering Hammerklavier”.

The Spectator, in an article comparing all recordings of the Beethoven Sonatas, concluded that “one new cycle sweeps all before it” and that this is “surely the greatest recorded achievement of this anniversary year.”

The Daily Telegraph has characterized him as “a pianist of vision” and “an inspiring poet of the piano” and ‘Musical Opinion’ described him as “a true giant of the keyboard”. In Music and Vision, critic Bill Newman simply wrote: “Tirimo’s playing belongs to a past generation of ‘greats’. Listening to him, I conjure up aural images of Solomon, Arrau, Kempff, Schnabel and Rubinstein. Throughout the evening, one was consistently aware that this supreme musician placed himself entirely at the service of the composer.”

In the last few years Atsuko Kawakami has been making a name for herself as a brilliant pianist of great sensitivity. Born in Sapporo, Japan, she started learning the piano at the age of three when she entered the Yamaha Music School. As a child she won several first and other prizes at the prestigious PTNA (Piano Teachers National Association) Competitions in Japan.

In 1999 she entered the Tokyo College of Music and during her studies she also took part in a number of masterclasses in Europe, including at the Salzburg Mozarteum and the Nice Academy. She later graduated with honours and a PGDip from the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied with Diana Ketler and also Clifford Benson in chamber music. She completed her studies with Martino Tirimo at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, again graduating with distinction.

In chamber music she has performed with a number of distinguished violists, cellists, flautists, clarinettists and singers, giving numerous concerts. In 2008 she was a finalist at the Khurau International Flute and Piano competition in Ulzen, Germany, and since then has performed with several different flautists in the UK and Japan.

In the last few years she has also performed extensively as solo pianist, both in her native Japan and England, in a wide variety of repertoire from Scarlatti to Takemitsu. She took part in the Beethoven 32 Piano Sonatas project at St.Barnabas in London, and recent concerts included recitals at Kings Place, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, London School of Economics, Steinway Hall, Yamaha Chapell Hall, St. James’s Piccadilly, Cheltenham Town Hall, Kendall Town Hall and for many other music clubs in the UK. In 2014, at St. Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London, she performed the Schumann Piano Concerto with exceptional success.

She has particular empathy with the music of Scriabin, Prokofiev and Ravel and her recent performances of works like Albéniz’s ‘Iberia’ and Ravel’s ‘La Valse’ have stimulated great audience excitement. Also, since 2016 she has given a great number of two-piano and four-hand concerts with Martino Tirimo, including one at the Aegean Arts International Festival, Parnassos Hall in Athens, Kypria International Festival in Cyprus, Kings Place in London, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and at the opening concert of the 2019 Brahms Festival in Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in London. The Arts Desk has described her as “a first-class musician”.

 

Author: Chris Hough
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