Alexandre Kantorow, the First Prize winner at the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition in the Piano category, became the owner of the Grand Prix of the competition. On June 29, 2019 Valer Gergiev, Co-Chair of the Organizing Committee of the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition, announced the name of the Grand Prix winner after the Competition Closing Gala Concert which was held at the New Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre (Mariinsky II) in Saint Petersburg.
Alexandre Kantorow currently studies at the École Normale de Musique de Paris in the class of Rena Shereshevskaya. At the age of 16 he was invited to play at the Les Folles Journées Festivals in Nantes and in Warsaw with the Sinfonia Varsovia. Since then he has played with many orchestras and has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals. Alexandre Kantorow has played at major concert halls such as the Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Philharmonie de Paris, the BOZAR in Brussels. Next season he will play with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (conducted by John Storgards), will give solo recitals in Paris dedicated to 200 years since the death of Beethoven and will also make his US debut with the Naples Philharmonic (conducted by Andrey Boreyko). Alexandre Kantorow is son of Jean-Jacques Kantorow, a legend of the violin.
Distinguished predecessors of Alexandre Kantorow on winning the Tchaikovski Competition have been pianists such as Dmitry Masleev, Daniil Trifonov, Denis Matsuev, Boris Berezovsky, Barry Douglas, Mikhail Pletnev, Andrei Gavrilov, Grigory Sokolov, Vladimir Ashkenazy, John Ogdon and Van Cliburn. In this XVI edition of the Tchaikovski Competition he jury was formed by: Denis Matsuev, chair, Michel Béroff, Barry Douglas, Pavel Gililov, Boris Petrushansky, Menahem Pressler, Freddy Kempf, Li Ming-Qiang, Piotr Paleczny, Nelson Freire and Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Alexandre has won the prize between 25 competitors from 12 countries.
Alexandre Kantorow, young French pianist and son of violinist and conductor Jean-Jacques Kantorow, has just been announced winner of the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition held in Moscow this week. With impressive versions of Tchaikovsky and Brahms Concertos No. 2 and accompanied by the Evgeny Svetlanov Orchestra under Vassily Petrenko, he won the first prize in a high-level final round against contestants of enormous quality such as Japanese Mao Fujita or Russian Dmitry Shishkin, both of them second prize ex aequo.
Alexandre, who has just released his fourth album with Saint-Saëns piano concertos, the third one for BIS RECORDS after the recording of Liszt piano concertos and the Russian repertoire album entitled Á la rousse, has despite his youth long been arousing the most glowing praises from the specialised critics for his recitals and concerts with the most important European and Asian orchestras, and is considered by some to be the reincarnation of Franz Liszt himself.
Alexandre, born in 1997, has been groomed for a career as a pianist for most of his life, studying with France’s top teachers including, first, Pierre-Alain Volondat. At the Schola Cantorum in Paris his teacher was Igor Lazko, and along the way he has also taken lessons with Jacques Rouvier, Théodore Paraschivesco, Georges Pludermacher, Christian Ivaldi, and Jean-Philippe Collard. Enrolling at the Paris National Conservatoire he has continued his studies with Frank Braley and Haruko Ueda. Kantorow made his debut at 16 with the Sinfonia Varsovia in Poland, performing Rachmaninov’s fearsome Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and he made other early appearances with the Bordeaux Chamber Orchestra, the Orléans Symphony Orchestra and the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra in Lithuania. He has won several top prizes in international competitions.
Kantorow has been able to tour widely despite the demands of classwork, performing as far afield as Finland and South America. He was featured in the first season at Paris’ new Philharmonic Hall (Philharmonie de Paris), playing Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Op. 80, and a return visit was planned. His interests extend beyond traditional repertory into American music, and he has performed Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, in its original jazz band version, at French chamber music festivals.
Dutch conductor Kees Bakels conducts the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and violinist Richard Lin next November the 15th at the Victoria Concert Hall. The program includes Rossini’s Overture of La Cenerentola, Korngold’s violin concerto and excerpts from Chaikovski’s The Sleeping Beauty.
Kees Bakels has held numerous titled positions with major orchestras, most recently with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra where he was Music Director from 1997 to 2005. Other positions have included Principal Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor and Artistic Adviser to the Quebec Symphony Orchestra or Chief Guest Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for 10 years and still works with the orchestra each season. He also works regularly in France with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris and Orchestre National de Lille. Kees Bakels has conducted all the major Dutch orchestras, as well as orchestras in Europe, the USA, Australia and Japan.
Kees Bakels’ guest-conducting engagements have included the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Ottawa, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Berne Symphony Orchestra, Het Brabants and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. Kees Bakels has always concentrated as much on opera as on symphonic repertoire and has regularly appeared with the Netherlands Opera and the Vancouver Opera and in the UK has conducted new productions of Aïda and Fidelio at the English National Opera and La Bohème and Carmen at the Welsh National Opera. He has conducted concert performances of opera for the famous VARA Matinee Series at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam regularly over 25 years, most recently Donizetti’s La Favorita. He has championed the lesser known operas of composers such as Mascagni and Leoncavello including Mascagni’s Zanetto, Amica, Il Piccolo Marat,Isabeau, Iris, Nerone and his Messa di Gloria, and Leoncavello’s La Bohème, Edipo Re and Zaza.
Kees Bakels’ recordings include the complete Vaughan Williams symphonies, recently re-released as a box set and complete Nielsen Concerti with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for Naxos and four recordings with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra for NM Classics. He has also recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra for ASV, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra for Denon, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. Recordings with the MPO for BIS include works by Dvorak, Sibelius, Khachaturian, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov. Kees Bakels’ recording of Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto with Jean-Jacques Kantorow and the Tapiola Sinfonietta was nominated in the orchestral category of the BBC Music Magazine Awards.
Kees Bakels was born in Amsterdam, beginning his musical career as a violinist. He studied conducting at the Amsterdam Conservatory and at the Academy Chigiana in Siena. During his studies he became Assistant Conductor of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently held the position of Associate Conductor with that orchestra. At that time he also became Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra which he took to festivals in England, Finland, Belgium and Spain and on a coast-to-coast tour across the USA.