The Russian pianist and pedagogue, Jura Margulis, was born St. Petersburg, Russia, and raised in Germany, where he studied with his father, Dr. Vitaly Margulis, at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg. He finished the MM in 1994. He was also a student at the prestigious Fondazione per il Pianoforte in Cadenabbia at Lake Como in Italy, where he studied - amongst others - with Dmitri Bashkirov, Fou Ts'ong, Murray Perahia, Alexis Weissenberg, and Karl-Ulrich Schnabel (1995, 1996). He moved to the USA to study with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where he finished the Post Graduate Performance Diploma in 1998, and made the USA his home. He has won prizes in more than a dozen international competitions, including Busoni in Italy and Guardian in Ireland. He is also a recipient of the esteemed Pro Europa prize awarded by the European Foundation for Culture.
Jura Margulis' orchestral appearances include performances with the Russian National Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, the Südwestrundfunk Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Venezuela, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Prague Symphony Orchestra. He has played in numerous festivals, including the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, the Berliner Festwochen at Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum in Austria, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, and the Argerich-Beppu Music Festival in Japan.
The past two seasons have brought Jura Margulis to New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Little Rock, Tulsa, and New Orleans in the USA, as well as abroad to Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Tübingen, Freiburg, Bologna, Salzburg, Barcelona, Ljubljana and Bangkok. Active as a chamber musician, Margulis has performed recitals with, among others, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, the soloists of the Moscow Virtuosi, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Moscow String Quartet. He is a founding member of the Fulbright Trio. He has also concertized with Martha Argerich on two pianos in Germany, Japan, and the USA.
Jura Margulis has been recognized for his compellingly communicative performances, as well as for the range of his tonal palette and his consummate virtuosity. Reviewers have praised the “absolute authority” of his interpretations and the sense of “controlled obsession” he transmits at the keyboard (Fono Forum). The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted that his aesthetic is both “impulsive and contemplative.” The Los Angeles Times praised his “excellent pianism” and called him “highly musical”. The Washington Post applauded his “titanic reserves of sheer power” and his “effortless spontaneity.” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram called his performance “ … the perfect Beethoven for the audience of our time … sweeping lyricism … imagination, originality, and good taste pervaded every phrase.”
Jura Margulis has recorded eight CD's for Sony, Ars Musici, and Oehms Classics, covering a wide spectrum of repertoire. These recordings have attracted substantial attention, including selection as a “reference recording” by Fono Forum, and inclusion on the “Bestenliste” of the Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (the German Recording Review). His recent CD, featuring piano transcriptions of music from J.S. Bach to Caplet, received a 10 out of 10 for “artistic quality” from KlassikHeute. The accompanying review applauded his “ability to structure the Bach Chaconne, to build momentum and at the right moment to gently abate … not since Horowitz’s old RCA recording have I encountered a performance of Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre that so grippingly leaps from the stage, as here in Jura Margulis’ own transcription.” The review also noted that Margulis’ own transcription of a little-known piece by André Caplet “should, like Ravel’s own transcription of his La Valse, claim a place in the repertoire of young pianists.” Klassik.com, also giving the CD its highest rating, raved that Margulis “cannot be praised enough.”
Jura Margulis is a third generation pianist and teacher and piano pedagogy is an integral part of his artistic vision. His yearly master classes in the USA and abroad, including courses in Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Austria, Russia, and Japan, center around his pedagogical concept: The Unified Piano School, A synthesis of piano pedagogy and performance traditions, which bridges the Russian School's concentration on sound, imagination, and physical technique, and the German School's focus on structure, rhythmic coherence, and style. He has lectured on this concept at numerous forums including the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in the USA and the International Summer Academy at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Jura Margulis is the executive director of the International Piano Academy, a summer master-class and music festival in Freiburg, Germany, and artistic director of the Fulbright Concerto Competition, an international piano contest in Fayetteville, AR. Margulis is the innaugural holder of the McAllister Endowed Professorship in Piano at the Fulbright College of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he lives with his wife Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, who does research in the cognitive science of music, and their sons Alexander and Nikolai.