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Dubravka Tomsic (Piano)

Born: 1940 - Dubrovnik, Croatia

The brilliant Slovenian pianist, Dubravka Tomsic [Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak], gave her first public recital at age five and has since given more than 4,000 performances throughout Europe, Australia, North America, Mexico, Russia, and Eastern Europe as well as part of Africa and Asia. She grew up in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana and began her studies at Ljubljana Academy of Music Her talents were noticed by the great Chilean-American pianist Claudio Arrau, who encouraged her to come to the USA to study. So, when she was 12, she moved to New York and enrolled at the Juilliard School, where her primary teacher was Katherine Bacon. During her teenage years she finished high school, a Bachelor of Science and Diploma in Piano with two special awards, and made her New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Town Hall and Chicago recital debuts. She also gave a recital in Carnegie Hall about which Artur Rubinstein wrote a glowing account in his memoirs My Many Years. She subsequently studied privately with Artur Rubinstein for two years. He considered her “a perfect and marvelous pianist” and they remained friends throughout his life.

After these high-flying beginnings, however, Dubravka Tomsic chose to return home to Ljubljana. From the late 1950's until the late 1980's she taught at the Ljubljana Academy of Music (where she is still a professor), raised a family, and built a considerable reputation in southeastern Europe. She was a marquee name in the former Yugoslavia and in other Eastern European countries.

Although people in many countries consider Dubravka Tomsic a pianist of legendary stature, it was only in 1989, after a hiatus of almost thirty years, that she was reintroduced to American audiences with a triumphant performance on the gala opening night recital of the Newport Music Festival, Rhode Island. Since then she has performed recitals on prestigious series in Cleveland, Atlanta, Seattle, Fort Worth, Los Angeles, St. Paul, Portland (Oregon and Maine), and her successful debut recitals in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Kansas City led to immediate re-engagements. In April of 1999 she performed a highly acclaimed recital in New York’s Alice Tully Hall under the auspices of the Newport Music Festival - her first New York recital in over forty years. She has performed at prestigious international festivals in Dubrovnik, Vienna, Prague, Naples, Dresden, Paris, Mexico City, Joliette (Canada), Newport, at Tanglewood, and Mostly Mozart in New York City.

Dubravka Tomsic has performed recitals in Munich, Berlin, Prague, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Madrid, Amsterdam, London and Rome, among many others. She has also become known for her exceptional performances with orchestras. She has performed concerti with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Münchner Philharmoniker, Berliner Symphoniker, Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, Dresden Staatskapelle, Moscow State Orchestra, the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Symphonies in Australia, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in the USA, among others. Her stellar debut performances of L.v. Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1994 marked the beginning of an intense collaboration with that orchestra, both at Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall, most recently in October 2003 with Bernard Haitink. The Boston Phoenix and The Boston Globe chose her “electrifying” performances with the orchestra in 1998 as the best piano playing of the year.

Season 2002-2003 brought Dubravka Tomsic re-engagements at the Celebrity Series in Boston, at San Francisco Performances, and recitals at Tanglewood, in Kansas City and New York state, among others. In October 2003 she enjoyed another triumph with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Bernard Haitink at Symphony Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall and later appeared with the Pasadena and Monterey symphonies and in recital in New York and Portland. During 2004-2005 she was once again reinvited to the major series in Boston, San Francisco and Kansas City. In 2006 she again performed a recital at the Newport Festival and plays Frédéric Chopin’s e-minor Concerto with the Monterey Symphony.

As a young pianist Dubravka Tomsic won many awards and competitions and now serves as juror for many international piano competitions, including the Tenth Van Cliburn in May 1997, Leeds in September 2000, Beethoven in Vienna in June 2001, Clara Haskil in 2003 and 2005, Santander in 2005, and the AXA Dublin in May 2006. She also adjudicated the International Piano-e-Competition in Minneapolis in 2002, 2004 and now in 2006. She also has given master-classes in the USA, and in 2005 in Salzburg.

Dubravka Tomsic is something of a connoisseur's pianist, not a marquee name widely known outside of classical music circles, but often listed among the finest players in the world by those in the know. At the keyboard, her reserved demeanor belies the expressivity of her playing. Noted for the variety of tone colors she can coax from the piano and for the power and smoothness of her trills, Tomsic offered performances that often evoked the adjective "seamless." Her "dazzling technique," noted the Boston Phoenix after a Tomsic concert that finally ended after five encores, "is never an end but a means of achieving emotional directness and poetic insinuation."

More than 80 CD recordings released since 1987 have brought Dubravka Tomsic world-wide acclaim. In addition to The Art of Dubravka Tomsic and a disc of favorite encores, she has recorded concerti by J. Brahms, L.v. Beethoven, F. Chopin, Grieg, F. Liszt, W.A. Mozart, Sergei Rachmaninov, Camille Saint-Saëns, Robert Schumann, and Tchaikovsky, and recital works by J.S. Bach, L.v. Beethoven, J. Brahms, F. Chopin, Debussy, F. Liszt, W.A. Mozart, Scarlatti and Srebotnjak. She can be heard on Vox Classics, Koch International and other labels. In 2003 she won the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque of the Franz Liszt Society in Budapest for her CD on the new ipo label featuring an all-Liszt program, including the b minor Sonata. Her newest release with works by F. Chopin and W.A. Mozart is due in 2006.

In May 2005 Dubravka Tomsic was officially awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of Ljubljana by the city’s mayor. In August of thayear, she was given the Orlando Prize in Croatia for the best performance in music (recital) during the entire 2005 Summer Festival in Dubrovnik.

Dubravka Tomsic makes her home in Ljubljana, Slovenia and is Full Professor at the Ljubljana University - Academy of Music.


Source: All Music Guide Website (Author: James Manheim); Thea Dispeker Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2007)

Dubravka Tomsic: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Dubravka Tomsic (Dispeker)
Concert Artist Featured Artists: Dubravka Tomsic

Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak (Wikipedia)
Dubravka Tomsic - Biography (AMG)

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