Diana Ketler & Konstantin Lifschitz
Diana Ketler was born in Riga into a well-known family of musicians. She commenced her studies of music and piano at the age of five at the E Darzins specialized music school in Riga, and played her concerto debut at the age of 11 with Latvian National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vassily Sinaisky. Diana graduated from the Latvian Academy of Music with a first class Honours degree in 1993, having studied with Theofil Bikis. From 1992 to 1994 she studied at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg under Karl-Heinz Kammerling. In 1994 Diana continued her studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London under Christopher Elton. She graduated in 1996, receiving the Dip RAM. In 1996/1997 and in 2000/2001 Diana was awarded the Hodgson Piano Fellowship at the Academy.
Diana has appeared as a soloist with Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Sudwestdeutsches Kammerorchester, Riga Chamber Orchestra, Georgisches Kammerorchester and Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. She has performed extensively in Britain, Japan, Canada, Russia and most European countries. Her engagements have included performances at the Gstaad Musiksommer Festival , Ravello Music Festival, St Gallen Musikfestival, Carinthischer Sommer and Kobe International Art Festival. Diana has given recitals at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Purcell Room, Glenn Gould Studios in Toronto, Tokyo Opera City Hall, Osaka Symphony Hall, Atheneum in Bucharest and other prestigious venues.
She has collaborated with artists such as Wolfram Christ, Konstantin Lifschitz, Daishin Kashimoto, Adrian Brendel, Baiba Skride, Remus Azoitei, Sasha Sitkovetsky, Bernhard Hedenborg, Narimichi Kawabata, Inga Kalna and Marlis Petersen. As a member of the ensemble Raro she regularly tours Europe and Japan. Diana has given a number of British and German premieres of the works by contemporary Baltic composers and collaborates closely with Peteris Vasks and Arvo Pärt.
Diana’s performances have been broadcast on radio and television in Japan, Britain (BBC 3, Classic FM), Germany (Bavarian Radio), Romania, Latvia and Austria. Since 2003 Diana has been professor of piano at the Royal Academy of Music. She has given masterclasses in Spain, Czech Republic, England, Latvia and former Yugoslavia, and has served as a jury member at the International piano Competition Jeunesses Musicales in Bucharest. Since 2004 Diana has been artistic director of the Chiemgauer Musikfrühling Festival in Bavaria, Germany.
Konstantin Lifschitz was born December 10, 1976, in Kharkov. As a child, he became irresistibly attracted to the piano, playing by ear and improvising with total absorption for hours on end. This aptitude for his chosen instrument was so remarkable that at age five he enrolled in the renowned Moscow Gnessin Special Middle School of Music, studying with Tatiana Zelikman. In future years of studies in Russia, England and Italy his teachers also included Theodor Gutmann, Vladimir Tropp, Hamish Milne, Alfred Brendel, Fou T’song, Leon Fleisher, Rosalyn Tureck, Karl-Ulrich Schnabel and Charles Rosen.
In the early 1990s the Russian Culture Foundation awarded him a scholarship. Soon afterwards he performed in Paris, Amsterdam, the Hague, Vienna, Munich, Milan and other prominent cities in Europe. The “New Names” programme brought Konstantin Lifschitz to the attention of renowned Vladimir Spivakov, who immediately arranged for Konstantin to perform Mozart Concerto K. 453 as his soloist with the Moscow Virtuosi in Moscow and on tour in Japan doing Bach Concerto in d minor in Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and Sapporo. Following this journey, he was invited by Spivakov to Monte Carlo and Antibes for the performances of Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo.
At 13, Konstantin presented a landmark recital in the October Hall of the House of Unions in Moscow. The capacity crowd responded with an overwhelming enthusiasm that even back then established him as a major artist. In 1994 Konstantin Lifschitz presented his graduation recital from the Gnessin School – his program commenced with Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Denon Nippon Columbia recorded the 17-year-old in this deeply felt interpretation of his beloved Bach. The recording, when released in 1996, was nominated for a Grammy Award and moved critic Edward Rothstein of The New York Times to acclaim Lifschitz’s performance “the most powerful pianistic interpretation since Glenn Gould’s.” A year before he won the German Echo Classic Record Prize, as a “New Young Artist of the Year” for his Debut Recording Album (Bach French Overture, Schumann Papillons, works of Medtner and Scriabin).
Konstantin gives recitals and concerto performances in almost all the important Musical metropoles of the world – Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Leipzig, Dresden, London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Milan, Montreal, Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Cape Town, Chisinau, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Limassol, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tel-Aviv, Tokyo, Perth, Auckland, Seoul, Paris, Vienna, Geneva, Zurich, Gent, Stavanger, Kuhmo etc.
He played as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the London Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic under Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner, the Moscow Philharmonic under Yuri Simonov, Tokyo Symphony, Sapporo Symphony, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the George Enescu Philharmonic under Emil Simon, the Czech Chamber State Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony under Lu Jia, Russian State Orchestra under Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Moscow Symphony, San Paulo Symphony under Michel Tabachnik, Orchestra della RAI under Jeffrey Tate, the New Amsterdam Sinfonietta under Peter Oundjian, I Solisti Veneti under Claudio Scimone, the Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra Lisbon, the Florida Philharmonic under James Judd, The New Zealand Symphony under Matthias Bamert, the New Jersey Symphony under Maximiano Valdes, the Danish National Radio Orchestra under Christopher Hogwood, the MDR Symphony Orchestra under Fabio Luisi and Mark Gorenstein, the Beethoven Festival Orchestra Bonn under Peter Gülke, the German State Philharmonic under Georg Mark, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg under Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as well as the Berlin Symphony under Eliahu Inbal, the Minnesota Symphony under Eri Klaas, the EUYO under Bernard Haitink, the Vienna Chamber Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony under Sir Roger Norrington, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Vladimir Verbitsky, the Berlin Radio Orchestra under Marek Janowski and Mikhail Jurowsky, Belgrade Philharmonic under Leonid Grin and Dmitry Liss, the Saarbruecken Radio Orchestra and the Bern Symphony under Andrey Boreyko and the St.Petersburg Philharmonic under Yuri Temirkanov to name some.
Konstantin Lifschitz is also a dedicated chamber Musician, performing with major artists including Gidon Kremer, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Maxim Vengerov, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Leila Josefowicz, Misha Maisky, Mstislav Rostropovich, Lynn Harrell, Carolin Widmann, Eugene Ugorski, Daishin Kashimoto, Bella Davidovich, Valery Afanassiev, Talich Quartet, Szymanowski Quartet, Reto Bieri, Natalia Gutman, Diemut Poppen, Joerg Widmann Hans-Heinz Schneeberger, Jiri Barta, Lara St. Johns, Sol Gabetta and others.
He has one of vastest repertoire of solo, orchestral and chamber works of the living pianists. He has also given concerts as a harpsichord-player. Several composers wrote works expressly for him. Lifschitz was also awarded prizes for his Musical and beneficial activities. He particularly enjoys working with singers.
In the recent time Konstantin Lifschitz is starting to be more and more requested as a conductor. He conducts, amongst others, orchestras such as the Moscow Virtuosi, Lux Aeterna + the Gabrieli Choir (Budapest), Musica Viva (Moscow), St. Kristupas (Vilnius), Arpeggione (Austria) or I Solisti di Napoli.
Konstantin Lifschitz made several recordings for the label Orfeo which contain Bach Musical Offering along with St. Anne Prelude and Fugue, BWV 552 and Frescobaldi Three Toccatas (released 2007), Gottfried von Einem Piano Concerto with the Austrian Radio and Television Orchestra Vienna under Claudius Meister (2009), Brahms Concerto Nr 2 with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra under Maestro D. Fischer-Dieskau (2010), Bach Art of the Fugue-the work of Music Lifschitz himself considers being closest to in the past few years (to be released in October 2010). His November Orfeo project is to record all 7 Bach Concertos for one keyboard and orchestra with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra conducting that group from piano. In 2008 VAI company released his live-performance of the Bach WTC I&II from the Miami International Piano Festival. Most of his recordings (over 20) have received a very high appreciation from the international press.
In 2002/2003 K. Lifschitz was appointed an Associate/a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music London. Since 2008 he has his own class at the Hochschule Musik in Lucerne. He gives master-classes around the world and takes part in different educational programmes.
Highlights of Konstantin’s 2010/2011 season include tours in Korea, Australia, Japan, Germany, Spain and Russia as well as Lucerne, Bucharest, Yerevan, Copenhagen (Tivoli), Vienna (Grand Hall of the Musikverein) and London (Wigmore Hall) single appearances. In August 2011 he returns to the Rheingau Festival for the continuation of his All Bach Works Series.