Portrait Kaupo Kikkas 2014

Portrait Kaupo Kikkas 2014

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Zsolt Bognár’s rising presence in the musical world in the United States, Europe, and in Asia is receiving uniformly strong praise in unusually diverse and comprehensive capacities as a complete musician and musical personality. He almost completely bypassed the standard competition career circuit by drawing distinction in unique projects at the piano, and around the world in speaking engagements, published journalistic writings, and on screen as the host of the film series “Living the Classical Life.” Especially praised for his work in Germanic, Russian, and Romantic repertoire, he often chooses to highlight lesser-known masterpieces by the great composers with themed programs exploring links between composers and aesthetic trends, often giving his own pre-concert lectures. His 2013 debut recording “Franz & Franz” was recorded in Berlin with Grammy-winning producer Philipp Nedel, has been proclaimed by international press for benchmark status in solo works by Schubert and Liszt.

A protégé of the distinguished teacher and performer Sergei Babayan, Mr. Bognár has traveled as recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. His recent debut performances took place in Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and his performances have included appearances at Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, and the 92nd Street Y. Mr. Bognár won the 2009 Artist Presentation Society Auditions and in 2010 featured two appearances at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago. He has frequently performed chamber music with members of the Cleveland Orchestra and former Cleveland Quartet, and has been involved in premieres of new music, including pieces by award-winning young composers Louis Chiappetta and Dan Visconti.

His international speaking engagements exploring music and the lives of the composers seek to reach new audiences and included two 2014 TEDMED Talks in San Francisco broadcast live in 164 countries to 172,000 people, and has been a regular guest on many NPR programs, including full-length recital programs, interviews, poetry readings, and discussions of historical recordings and performers.

His work with Elyria Pictures in NYC as host of the growing film series “Living the Classical Life” seeks to highlight the inner world, work, and process of famous performers and musical personalities (including Yefim Bronfman, Yuja Wang, Daniil Trifonov, Stephen Hough, Joshua Bell, and Nathan Gunn), and has been described by Norman Lebrecht as “remarkably intimate and reflective” and “fabulously entertaining.” The recipient of an International Festival Society Grant, his work as performer and journalist has been featured in International Piano Magazine, The Examiner, The Washington Post, and also included a multi-part behind-the-scenes portrait of work with Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan in 2013 and 2015. Upcoming projects include appearances with clarinetist Franklin Cohen and two-pianos repertoire with Sergei Babayan.

(Last updated January 2016. © Zsolt Bognar)

© Copyright 2017 Zsolt Bognar