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Krisztina Wajsza
Biography, photos, CD and concert reviews

Added on November 27, 2010
The next concert by Krisztina Wajsza (piano) will be a duo with Emi Uehlinger-Takahashi (violin) on December 9, 2010 at 19:30. Place: Schmiedenhof, Rümelinplatz 4, Basel, Switzerland. Program: Bach, Prokofiev, Yuen, Ravel.

Article added on July 10, 2005  
There are the great and famous artists, there are those that are just famous, and then there are countless little-known artists. Within the last group are some outstanding, accomplished artists who deserve their share of fame. The classical pianist Krisztina Wajsza is one of those rare pearls.

Unfortunately, her first and only record to date does not come close to matching her abilities. Let's hope her upcoming Mozart album will better demonstrate her undeniable qualities.

Concert review, Wigmore Hall, London, April 18, 2005 

London's Wigmore Hall is not a venue for people who like attending social events, but one for real lovers of classical music, the ideal place for a concert by Krisztina Wajsza.

The pianist began the evening with Mozart (sheet music by Mozart), a composer she particularly cherishes and who will be the focus of her next CD. In the first movement of the Sonata in C minor, K. 457, I had some doubts. She played the Allegro in the way one expects it from a piano teacher: skilled and solid, but uninspired, not transcending the material.

The doubts disappeared in the second movement. In the Adagio, the artist was in her element. The music in E flat major had depth and breathed Mozart's humanity. The pianist made listeners feel the piece come alive. She became the composer's soul mate, without losing herself in superficiality in the ornamental passages.

The third movement, the Allegro assai, is more dramatic. She rendered it on the same astounding artistic level as the previous one. She let the music flow elegantly, underlining its poetic qualities.

After the classical Mozart, Krisztina Wajsza turned to the contemporary Swiss composer Hans Urs Zürcher (*1941); not exactly a household name - not even for the reviewer, a Swiss himself.

Earth Sounds and Sounds of Spheres
is a cycle of ten short pieces for piano written in 1985. The pianist chose three for the evening's program: Aldebaran (Star of the Sage), Kailas (The Holy Mountain in Tibet) and Babylon, reflecting the composer's interest in Buddhism and Hinduism.

The rendition of the first piece gave me the impression of somber memorial, a reminder of the atrocities of the 20th century, although Hans Urs Zürcher my have had other things in mind. Even more impressive - in both the composition as well as its execution - was Kailas. It was a completely different piece, impressionistic at the beginning. The elegantly flowing music, which became progressively more emotional, made for another outstanding performance. The last piece, Babylon, was short, dramatic, and not on the same level as the previous one, neither in its composition nor in its interpretation.
 
Krisztina Wajsza concluded the first part of her concert with Chopin's Fantasy in F minor, Op. 49 (sheet music by Chopin), which can also be found on her 1999 debut album. After a leisurely introduction, the piece reared up, the interpretation became emotional, carried the listeners away. The live performance was miles ahead of her album recorded six years ago, testifying to the progress she has made since then. The best part was the lyrical one in which the pianist managed to open up a new world of introspection, before returning to this lively world.

The beginning of the second half of the concert at Wigmore Hall was dedicated to thirteen of Scriabin's Preludes, Op. 11 (sheet music by Scriabin). This work by the young Scriabin, influenced by Chopin. Krisztina did not turn the preludes into showpieces. Instead, she demonstrated that she is a master of this concise form, switching with ease from a grand, dramatic emotion to delicate intimacy.

Béla Bartók's (sheet music by Bartók) Sonata is the composer's largest work for solo piano. First performed in 1926, it is clearly a work of the 20th century. Krisztina began the Allegro moderato with ferocity, demonstrating again that, in addition to her high-degree of sensitivity, she is a master of the dramatic gesture, too. The second movement, Sostenuto e pesante, sounded accordingly: sustained and weighty. Towards the end of the piece, the music loses its harmony, the breaks of the 20th century can be felt, something the pianist was able to express without losing focus.

In the third movement, Allegro molto, Bartók's folk-like theme returns in its original form. The pianist performed the dramatic passages with virtuosity. Her commitment to the composer's music could be felt. The "bravos" at the end were well deserved.

Her encore was another highlight of the evening: Scriabin's Nocturne opus 9 for the left hand. Allegedly, he composed it in 1894 (together with the Prelude for the left hand) after over-practicing Liszt's Don Juan Fantasy, which resulted in a hand injury which forced him to turn to composition - for the uninjured left hand. Krisztina's rendition of the Nocturne by the 22-year old was moving, profound, and powerful, no superficial tear-jerker. Hopefully, she will include it on her upcoming CD - or if it is too late, on the next one.

There are "stars" - old and new - pushed by music labels and ignorant media who, in the live performances I have attended, never reached the depth of Krisztina Wajsza at Wigmore Hall. A career as an outstanding concert pianist may still lay ahead of her, especially considering that she is at ease with the public. She loves the limelight, but does not put on a superstar attitude, remaining natural, true to her style.



Biography of Krisztina Wajsza

Krisztina Wajsza was born in Cluj (Klausenburg) in 1967. Transsilvania is not only the home of Dracula, but also of a Hungarian minority in Romania, to which her family belongs. 

Her father being a cellist and her mother a pianist, Krisztina Wajsza grew up with music and, at the age of six, began her piano studies with Professor Walter Metzger. In 1980, her family moved to Switzerland, and she studied with Rosmarie Stucki and Michael Studer at the Bern Music Conservatory, graduating with a solo diploma in 1988.

She continued studies with Professor Harald Wagner in Stuttgart, concert pianist Maria João Pires in Zurich and Munich, Professor Joseph Kalichstein at the Juilliard School in New York City as well as the late Professor György Sebök at Indian University, Bloomington, where she received an Artist Diploma.

During her studies and in the following years, she won a series of awards, including a scholarship by Migros Genossenschaftsbund Zürich in 1985, a Special prize from the City of Bayreuth in 1988, and the first prize in the "Piano 80" Competition in Winterthur both in 1988 and 1989. She won the Kiefer Hablitzel Scholarship in 1989 and the first prize in the "Mozart Competition of the Juilliard School of Music" in New York City in 1990, where she was given a Vladimir Horowitz scholarship.

Since then, Krisztina Wajsza has performed as a soloist in Switzerland and abroad with orchestras including the Zürcher Kammerorchester, Bern Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Academica Bayreuth, Philharmonie Gelsenkirchen, Bern Chamber Orchestra, Juilliard Symphony Orchestra, Festival Strings Lucerne and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra conducted by George Pehlivian, with whom she gave her debut at the Konzerthaus Vienna in May 1999. The same year, she also toured the Netherlands twice playing solo recitals. She gave her debut at the Music Academy Budapest in September 2000. The following season, she performed at New Paltz Piano Summer-Festival and formed a duo with the violinist Isabelle Meyer, with whom she played several concerts throughout Switzerland. In November 2001, she was guest soloist with the Städtisches Orchester Trier, where she performed again in 2003. In addition, she played for the European Community in Lausanne. In 2004, she performed several solo recitals and was a guest soloist in Romania, after 24 years of absence, with the Transylvania Symphony Orchestra. In 2005, she has performed or will perform at Wigmore Hall in London, at the Festival musicale delle nazioni in Rome and will collaborate in Basel with Kurt Widmer in Richard Strauss'-Lord Alfred Tennyson's German version of the melodrama Enoch Arden for piano and narrator. Krisztina Wajsza is a piano teacher in Switzerland and has a daughter.






Krisztina Wajsza. Photograph © Franco Flückiger.


Krisztina Wajsza. Photo © Franco Flückiger.


The cover photograph of her 1999 debut album with recordings of compositions mostly by Chopin as well as one by Ravel and one by Kodály. Photo © Franco Flückiger.


Krisztina Wajsza. Photo © Franco Flückiger.
 

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