The Austrian pianist, Stefan Vladar, began piano lessons at the age of 6 and thereafter advanced quickly. In 1973 he enrolled at the Vienna University for Music and Arts, where his most important teachers were Renate Kramer-Preisenhammer and Hans Petermandl. After winning a number of awards in piano competitions in Austria, including the first prize in the Rudolf Heydner Piano Competition, he took the first prize in the 1985 Vienna International Beethoven Competition, the youngest of the 140 competitors. Not surprisingly, his career had a meteoric ascent.
Stefan Vladar has established a brilliant career as one of the most interesting and multi-versatile musicians of his generation. His international career has brought him a busy schedule of engagements, which has led him to the major music venues and festivals of the world, with performances throughout Europe and appearances in China, Thailand, Japan and Korea, as well as in the USA. He has performed under the baton of Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnányi, Vladimir Fedosejev, Seiji Ozawa, Christian Thielemann, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Christopher Hogwood, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Michel Plasson, Horst Stein, Sándor Végh and Daniel Harding, in appearances with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Camerata Salzburg, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo and Chamber Orchestra of Europe, among many others.
As a pianist Stefan Vladar has regularly performed as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber player. Like many successful pianists from the latter-20th century, he wanted to branch out into other areas: he first served as director of various musical events and then became a conductor. While his choices in repertoire have favoured the German School - especially as a conductor - he has played various piano works by Dvorák, Béla Bartók, Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, and Gershwin. In 1988 he was appointed artistic director of the Neuberger Kulturtage (an annual festival/seminar event) in Styria, Austria, and in 1999 he became artistic director of a similar annual event held in Kremsmünster, known as the Upper Austrian Stiftskonzerte. In 2002 he accepted the appointment as chief conductor of the newly formed Grosses Orchester Graz, a post he held through 2006. During his tenure there he also led other major European orchestras, including the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker and the Wiener Kammerorchester.
Stefan Vladar is a highly esteemed guest at the world’s most prestigious festivals, performing regularly at the Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Hong Kong, Osaka, Rheingau, Ludwigsburg and Schubertiade Festivals, as soloist, sought-after chamber music partner and increasingly as conductor.
The season 2005-2006 sees play&conduct appearances with the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker (back-invitation), the Beethoven Academie (Netherlands Tour with concert in Concertgebouw Amsterdam), the Residential Orchestra Den Haag, Camerata Salzburg (back invitation after the 2005-2006 season’s tour through Germany with Angelika Kirchschlager), to name a few. Various appearances of the 2004-2005 & 2005-2006 seasons include highly successful soloist appearances with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Seiji Ozawa and Donald Runnicles respectively, opera performances at the Haydn Festival Eisenstadt with the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Philharmonic for Haydn’s La Canterina and Lo Speziale (conducting from the harpsichord) regular chamber music appearances with cellist Heinrich Schiff, Lied Recitals with baritone Bo Skovhus, and the complete performance of all concerti for piano and orchestra by L.v. Beethoven with the Beethoven Academie Antwerpen on tour through Europe. He replaced Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as conductor of the Wiener Kammerorchester at the Schubertiade 2005 in a concert featuring Ian Bostridge. At shortest notice, he also replaced Arcadi Volodos in recital at the Tonhalle Zürich and Bruno-Leonardo Gelber as soloist with the Dresdner Philharmonie.
Regular internationally renowned chamber music partners of Stefan Vladar are the Ensemble Wien-Berlin, the Artis Quartet, Heinrich Schiff, Bo Skovhus, and violinists Julian Rachlin and Janine Jansen.
In recent years Stefan Vladar joined the faculty at Vienna's University of Music and Performing Arts as professor of piano.
Stefan Vladar’s discography includes more than 20 releases for major labels, including Sony, Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, Harmonia Mundi France, Camerata Tokyo, and Koch Classics. By the early 1990's, he had made a number of highly praised recordings, including the 1991 Johannes Brahms' Piano Sonata No. 1 and Four Ballades for Sony, Chopin's Preludes for Harmonia Mundi. He had also launched a cycle of the L.v. Beethoven piano concertos by then for Naxos. Among his later recordings are the 2006 CD of Schumann's solo works (Carnaval, Papillons, and Faschingsschwank) on Harmonia Mundi and the Dvorak Piano Quintet with the Jerusalem Quartet (released in 2006). As conductor, he scheduled recorded with the Danish Radio SO and soloist Bo Skovhus and as playing conductor with the Camerata Salzburg (released in 2006). A Live-DVD with Mozart's D minor Concerto KV 466 was released as part of the 24th Mozart Series of EuroArts on January 27, 2006 (Mozart´s 250th Birthday). There are going to be released three CD's in autumn 2009 (Haydn, Prokofieff and J.S. Bach) for Preiser Records Vienna.