Thomas Zaruba, author of the best-selling jazz album Slow Down, is a pianist of Australian-Canadian-Czech origin living in France. Although he was born into a cosmopolitan family of musicians and started playing the piano at the age of two, he opted for a career in advertising and it was a tragic incident that made him turn his life around and devote himself exclusively to music. When Thomas visited Radio Prague this week I asked him what had prompted him to drop everything and pursue his life’s passion.
Earlier this year the young piano virtuoso Tomáš Kačo performed for the first time at New York’s famous Carnegie Hall. It was the fulfilment of a long-held dream for the 31-year-old, who comes from a large Romany family in a small Czech town and was a youth prodigy before seizing a life-changing chance to study in the US. I caught up with Tomáš Kačo when he was visiting Prague last week from his home in LA. My first question: When was he first exposed to music in a meaningful way?
Drew Petersen is a prodigious pianist who is the winner of this year’s American Pianists Award. He is pursuing a Masters at the Julliard School of Music and recently completed a tour of the Czech Republic as part of the American Spring music festival. He and the president of APA, Joel Harrison, stopped by Czech Radio as the concert tour wrapped up, to discuss the American Spring and much more.
The outstanding Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček will perform at Prague’s Rudolfinum on Friday night together with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. Vondráček, who won the Queen Elisabeth Competition for young musicians earlier this year, will perform Witold Lutoslawski’s Little Suite, Sergej Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto in C major and Petr Iljič Čajkovskij’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor under the baton of Polish conductor Michał Nesterowicz. The talented Czech pianist, who first performed in Carnegie Hall at sixteen, now lives and works in Boston, performing with leading music ensembles the world over.
In this week’s Sunday Music show we present the outstanding Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček who recently won the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition for young musicians in Brussels with a breath-taking performance of Sergei Rachmaninov. A child prodigy, Vondráček gave his first concert at the age of four, went on his first international tour at the age of 10 and performed in Carnegie Hall at sixteen. Today he is a recognized musician who has given over a thousand concerts in 27 countries around the world.
Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček has won the Queen Elisabeth Competition for young musicians, which is considered the world’s most demanding piano contest. The 29-year-old Czech impressed the jury with his performance of Sergei Rachmaninov in Brussels last week. He will receive the award, including a cheque for 25,000 euros, at a gala ceremony on Tuesday attended by Belgium’s Queen Mathilde.
Sullivan Fortner is an immensely talented pianist who has been getting plenty of attention on the jazz scene with numerous live performances and with his successful debut Aria on Impulse. This summer he will be performing at the Newport Jazz Festival and in the Czech Republic this week as part of the American Spring Music Festival.