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JAN GOTTLIEB JIRACEK (article first published : 2002-09-23)

In their next recital, the Durban-based Friends of Music will host the acclaimed 27 year old German pianist Jan Gottlieb Jiracek who was recently described by BBC Music Magazine as one of the leading pianists of his generation.

Born into a German-Czechoslovakian family of musicians, he won first prize at the Steinway Competition in Hamburg at the age of ten, and made his formal debut the following year in his hometown of Hanover, performing a piano concerto by Mozart. He also won the top prize at both the 1996 Busoni Competition and the 1996 Maria Canals Competition.

Mr Jiracek has since performed extensively throughout Europe, including recitals at the Herkulessaal in Munich, Steinway Hall in London, Salle Cortot in Paris, Palau de la musica in Barcelona, Tonhalle in Zurich, Musikhalle in Hamburg and the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, as well as orchestral appearances with the Berlin and St. Petersburg Philharmonics, Cologne Chamber Orchestra, and the Northern Sinfonia of England.

Following his North American debut at the tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1997, where he was a favourite of critics and audiences alike, he was immediately asked to join Community Concertís artist roster. Together with his engagements as winner of that competition, this led to more than 40 engagements throughout the United States in the 1998-99 season. This period saw him giving recitals at the Tilles Centre at Long Island University, the University of Vermont Lane Series, and Spivey Hall in Atlanta. He also performed with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at the recently opened Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall in October 1998, performing three piano concertos, including Gershwinís Rhapsody in Blue.

Highlights of the 1999-2000 season included recitals at the International Festival of Music in Lucerne and major halls in Europe, as well as orchestral performances at the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. and the Vienna Musikverein.

Jan Gottlieb Jiracek has been featured on several European radio and television stations, including ZDF, SFB Berlin, Deutschlandradio, Radio Hilversum, Radio Stockholm, and Radio France, and on NDR as a soloist with the NDR Symphony Orchestra.

A 1997 graduate of the Hochschule der KŁnste Berlin, he studied with Hans Leygraf and has performed in masterclasses with Alfred Brendel, Peter Frankl, and Bruno Leonardo Gelber.

His Friends of Music programme will include Sonata in B flat, Op 22 by Beethoven; …tudes Symphoniques by Schumann, Ravelís Valses nobles et sentimentales and Schubertís Wanderer Fantasy.

Prelude Performer for the evening will be violinist Brian Khumalo, who often plays with the KZN Philharmonic and who studied with Kolwane Mantu and more recently with Isaac Melamed.

Book at Computicket. The concert takes place at the Durban Jewish Club, 44 Old Fort Road, on October 8 at 19h45. A cash bar is available and there is safe parking.




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