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Anna Gourari (Piano)

Born: October 3, 1972 - Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia

The Russian pianist, Anna Gourari, began piano lessons at the age of 5. In 1979 she performed her first public concert. From 1979 she attended a special school for gifted children in Kazan, studying with Kira Shashkina, the teacher of Mikhail Pletnev, and giving her first recital in the same year. Later she also received lessons from Vera Gornostaewa, a pupil of Heinrich Neuhaus and teacher of Ivo Pogorelich. In 1990 she relocated together with her parents to Germany to study at the Munich Hochschule für Musik with Ludwig Hoffmann and Gitti Pirner. quickly made herself known by several distinctions including the first prizes at the Kabalevsky Competition in Russia (1986) and the first International Chopin Competition in Gottingen (1990). Her first piano recital in Germany took place in 1991 and her Paris debut followed a year later.

"She plays Beethoven's third Piano Concerto with a rapt intensity. Right at the beginning she achieves a small miracle ... a few chords, woven like a curtain about to go up on a quiet paradise in waiting. She performs the piece with a restrained voice, as if telling a story. She is reminiscent of the young Clara Haskil. This is how Anna Gourari won the Clara Schumann Competition." Thus Die Zeit reported the final concert of a competition in which Anna Gourari was awarded in 1994 first prize by a distinguished jury including Martha Argerich, Joachim Kaiser, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Nelson Freire and Alexis Weissenberg, whom she had won over by the power of her "almost mystical" playing.

This prize marks the begin of her international acceptance. Anna Gourari performs at all the major musical venues and is regularly invited to perform with leading orchestras and at international festivals. Her triumphant progress across the international stage is reflected by Europe-wide concert tours and collaboration with eminent conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Sir Colin Davis and Iván Fischer. Her special interest in 20th century music is shown in her numerous recordings of works by Prokofiev, Zemlinsky, Paul Hindemith, Béla Bartók and Francis Poulencc, and by contemporary composers such as Bialas, Hiller, Gubaidulina and Rodion Shchedrin.

Anna Gourari is long since firmly established as an outstanding pianist and one of the most exceptional personalities of her generation. She is regarded as a non-conformist. Her playing has some kind of mysticism, but is most notably very accurate. Her playing has been described as "technically perfect" and "dazzling", "reminiscent of the young Martha Argerich", with an "almost perfect blend of fiery attack and poetic magic", performing "with pure intellectual freedom". As the "individualist of the 21st century" she defies any attempt to categorize her: her personal pianistic language finds its magical expression in the fascinating aura that surrounds her.

Anna Gourari won a bursary from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, the Staatliche Förderungspreis for young musicians (2000), the ECHO Klassik 2000 prize for promising young artists for her Scriabin album and the ECHO Klassik 2001 prize for "Instrumentalist of the year" for her recording of two piano concertos by Richard Strauss. Since March 2000 she has been under exclusive contract with KOCH Classics. In October 2001 KOCH Classics will release her recording of L.v. Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, 32 Variations in C Minor and Piano Sonata "Pathétique" (KOCH Classics). In 2001 she played a star role in the movie InVincible by Werner Herzog. In 2007 she made six reportages about Moscow's actual art and society for "Deutsche Welle TV". In 2009 Album with Johannes Brahms: The Late Piano Pieces, Opp. 116-119; in 2010 Album with Mazurkas by Frédéric Chopin: “The Mazurka Diary”.

Anna Gourari has a daughter and lives with her family in Munich.

"She seems a throwback in many ways, with a very physical, even visceral quality to her music that conjures the sound of such golden-age figures as Horovitz and Cortot, with a naturalness that seems to have always been there. (...) Gourari's technique and tone are excellent (...) The marvel of this playing is the combination of intuitive pacing, propulsive phrasing, and rhythmic inflection that makes this music spring to life with explosive power. The melding of physicality and thoughtfulness arises again and again in this playing; every note has a purpose. (...) In the person of Anna Gourari, the great Russian school of pianism lives on." - Fanfare, USA (January/February 2002)

More Photos

Source: Anna Gourai Website; Wikipedia Website (April 2012)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2012)

Anna Gourari: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Anna Gourari (Official Website)
Anna Gourari (ECM)

Anna Gourari (Wikipedia)

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