Hailed as “one of the Grandes Dames of piano playing” (Frankfurter Allgemeine) and cherished for her deep musical integrity, her truly stellar technique as well as her refreshingly natural approach to performing, the Canadian-born pianist Janina Fialkowska has been enchanting audiences and critics worldwide for over 40 years.
Arthur Rubinstein’s last pupil and “artistic heir” began playing the piano at the age of four and first studied with the Alfred Cortot student Yvonne Hubert in her native Montreal. She later studied with another Cortot student, Yvonne Lefébure in Paris as well as at New York’s Julliard School, where she was taught by Sascha Gorodnitzki who himself had been a student of Josef Lhévinne, thereby immersing her into the great Russian piano school dating back to Anton(!) Rubinstein.
It was at her 1974 prize-winning performance at Arthur Rubinstein’s inaugural Master Piano Competition that the legendary pianist declared her “a born Chopin interpreter”, becoming her mentor until his death in 1982 and further laying the foundation for her lifelong identification with the music of Frédéric Chopin.
Janina Fialkowska made her concert debut in 1975 under Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic in Tel Aviv and has been mesmerizing audiences ever since, from London to Los Angeles, from Toronto to Tokyo. She has performed with the most renowned orchestras under the baton of conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Bernard Haitink, Lorin Maazel, Sir Georg Solti, Sir Roger Norrington and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. She has won special recognition for a series of important premieres, notably Liszt’s newly discovered Third Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony and several contemporary piano concertos. Ms. Fialkowska’s discography includes numerous award-winning discs such as the BBC Music Magazine’s 2013 “Instrumental CD of the Year” award as well as the Canadian “Juno Award” in 2018.
Her native Canada has bestowed upon her their highest honors: “Officer of the Order of Canada”, the “Governor General’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award in Classical Music”, as well as three honorary doctorates. She passes on her wide musical experience in master classes and at her annual “International Piano Academy” in Bavaria, where she now resides and makes frequent appearances as a juror of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions.
Last season’s highlights included concerts with the BBC Symphony in England and Poland and two London recitals. She also performed recitals and orchestral concerts in Austria, Spain, Switzerland and returned to her native Canada for a spring and summer festival tour. A new CD with French piano music was released in September 2019 (Gramophone: “There’s simply no one quite like her.”). She continued with the 6th edition of her own “International Piano Academy” in Bavaria and acted as a juror of some of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions.
The year 2020 began promisingly with a new concert tour in North America featuring performances in 5 Canadian provinces, including a highly acclaimed recital at Salle Bourgie in Montreal and at Willamette University in Oregon’s capital Salem, before the consequences of the corona pandemic led to her final two concerts being cancelled. Sadly, the subsequent lockdowns prevented numerous further engagements, although a brief loosening of restrictions in the fall allowed her to return to the prestigious Klavier Festival Ruhr for an enthusiastically acclaimed recital on September 30, as well as to the Belfast International Arts Festival where she performed Beethoven’s piano concertos Nos. 3 and 4 on October 18, 2020.