Part Two of our Live Recording Streaming
from Eroica Hall / Theatermuseum Wien
coming in January 2021
MATYAS ANDRAS VIOLINE II
TOMASZ WABNIC VIOLA
ATTILA PASZTOR VIOLONCELLO
BENEDICT ZIERVOGEL KONTRABASS
She began her musical education at the age of 7, playing violin and piano. She graduated from the Vocal Department of the Academy of Music in Wrocław and from Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg. Laureate of singing competitions in Warsaw, Helsinki, Barcelona and Guangzhou, she made her debut at the age of 21 on the stage of Wrocław Opera as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. Her mother and teacher Jolanta Żmurko performed the role of Countess.
Between 2001 and 2007 Aleksandra Kurzak was a member of the ensemble of the Hamburg State Opera, where she sang numerous roles, from Mozart’s Queen of the Night till Verdi’s Desdemona. Aleksandra Kurzak was awarded two scholarships from the Minister of Culture and Art and has also held one from Crescendum Est – Polonia Foundation. In 2009, she received a PhD in Music.
At the age of 27, she appeared in the two most prestigious opera houses in the world. Her performance as Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Metropolitan Opera gained great recognition from music critics, who unanimously announced the sensational debut of the Polish singer. In the same season she debuted at the Royal Opera House-Covent Garden with an equally favorable reception as Aspasia in Mitridate, Re di Ponto. She returned to the Met, singing Blonde in Entführung aus dem Serail, Gilda in Rigoletto, Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, Adina in L'Elisir d'amore, Nedda in Pagliacci, Micaela in Carmen and more recently Violetta in La Traviata. Since her first London appearance, Aleksandra has returned regularly to the Royal Opera House, where she has performed roles of Norina (Don Pasquale), Adina, Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Susanna, Matilde (Matilde di Shabran), Fiorilla (Il Turco in Italia), Gilda, Lucia di Lammermoore, Liu (Turandot) and Violetta (La Traviata).
She used to be the first Polish opera singer to have signed an exclusive contract with Decca. Her first solo album Gioia! was released in August 2011 and became a platinum record. Her next CDs are Bel Raggio with Rossini’s arias and Hej, kolęda!, a collection of Polish Christmas carols (golden record). Also the album Chopin: Songs, which she recorded for the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Poland, was awarded a Diapason d’Or. Since 2018 she is an exclusive artist of Sony Classical, which released her first duo CD Puccini in Love with Roberto Alagna and Sinfonia Varsovia as well as her first solo CD for the company called Desire with Morphing Chamber Orchestra. Aleksandra has recorded as well for Deutsche Gramophone and Warner Classics.
Her achievements have won her awards from the Mayor of Wrocław, Governor of the Lower Silesia Region, and Minister of Culture and Art of the Republic of Poland. She is also the recipient of the Wiktor Award from the Polish Television Academy and Guarantee of Culture Award from TVP Kultura.
Aleksandra Kurzak has appeared on the world’s main operatic stages: Teatro alla Scala (Gilda, Susanna, Comtesse Adèle in Le comte Ory), Vienna State Opera (Rosina, Adina, Susanna, Marie, Violetta, Gilda, Verdi’s Dedemona, Liu and Nedda), Staatsoper in Berlin (Queen of the Night, Mimi), Deutsche Opera Berlin (Violetta, Adina, Nedda), Bavarian State Opera in Munich (Cleopatra, Adele, Rosina, Adina, Rachel and Cio Cio San), Teatro Real in Madrid (Susanna, Marie), Théâtre des Champs Elysées (Maria Stuarda), San Francisco Opera (Gilda), Zurich Opera House (Gilda, Norina, Nedda), Teatro Regio in Torino (Violetta), Teatro Massimo in Palermo (Norina, Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana), Lyric Opera House in Chicago (Blonde), Los Angeles Opera (Fiordiligi), Salzburg Festival (concert arias by Mozart, Ännchen and Donna Anna), Palau de les Arts in Valencia (Adina), Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona (Adina and Nedda), National Opera in Warsaw (Hanna, Gilda, Violetta, Lucia), Mozart Festival in A Coruña as well as at the Welsh National Opera in Cardiff (Aspasia), Theater an der Wien (Donna Anna and Amenaide), Teatro La Fenice(Donna Anna), Seattle Opera (Lucia), Teatro Regio in Parma (Verdi Gala), Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse (Gilda), Finnish National Opera (Gilda), Arena di Verona (Rosina, Juliette, Gilda, Verdi Gala and Violetta) and Opera de Monte Carlo (Luisa Miller).
In 2015, she won not only the 2015 Readers' award at the "International Opera Awards" granted by Opera Magazine, but also the Bachtrack Opera award as the best singer of the previous season for her rendition as Donna Fiorilla at the Royal Opera House. During this 2015/2016 season, she also made her first appearance in Paris on the stage of the Opera Bastille, in L'Elisir d'amore and then made her debut as Rachel (La Juive) at the Bavarian State Opera of Munich.
In 2016/2017, Aleksandra Kurzak added further roles to her repertoire, with Nedda (Pagliacci) at the Zurich Opera House, Mimi (La Bohème) at the Berliner State Opera and Micaëla (Carmen) in Paris. Further role debuts on the stages of the L’Opera de Paris were Alice in Verdi's Falstaff, Vitellia in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, Verdi’s Violetta in La Traviata and Desdemona in Otello. Recently she sung there as well with huge success Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo
After the highly acclaimed performance as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata in New York, she will return to the MET as Tosca and Musetta. She will sing as well in this season her signature role of Nedda in Hamburg, Madama Butterfly at the National Opera in Warsaw, Tosca in Opera de Paris, as well as her first staged Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticanain Arena di Verona in one special Gala performance, as well as Nedda in Pagliacci during the same night.
Winner of the 2011 Prix de la Ville de Lausanne, Yuuki Wong has been quoted by The Strad as an artist ‘with imagination and insight….a crowd-pleaser’. Musical studies began at the age of four with the piano and two years later, he started playing the violin. After just three years of violin lessons, he was admitted to the world renowned Yehudi Menuhin School in England, where he studied with Rosemary Furniss and Natasha Boyarsky alongside lessons with Yehudi Menuhin. At the age of 15 he admitted to the class of Almita and Roland Vamos at the Oberlin Conservatory, USA, to begin his Bachelor of Music degree. This was followed by studies with Boris Kuschnir at the Vienna Conservatory, Pierre Amoyal at the Haute-Ecole de Musique Lausanne and Ilya Gringolts at the Zurich Arts University. Yuuki has participated in masterclasses with personalities such as Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein, Joel Smirnoff, Tibor Varga, Aaron Rosand, Zakhar Bron, Frans Helmerson, Dmitri Sitkovetsky, Viktor Tretyakov, Zvi Zeitlin, Mauricio Fuks, Pamela Frank, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Yakov Kreizberg, Miriam Fried, Sylvia Rosenberg, Leon Fleischer to mention a few. Honours bestowed upon Wong include 1st Prize at the 2007 Summit Music Festival Competition in New York, 2nd Prize and Special Prize at the 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand, Special Prize and 4th Place at the 2005 Jean Sibelius International Violin Competition in Helsinki, 3rd Prize at the 2004 Abbado International Violin Competition in Milan, the Grand Prix at the 2000 Kingsville International Competition, where. While at Oberlin Conservatory, he was a recipient of the Dean’s Talent Award, which recognizes exceptional talent at the institution.
At the Konservatorium Wien, he was prizewinner of the Fidelio Competition in 2005. Yuuki has performed at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad as part of the 'Jeunes Étoiles' Series, Bellerive Festival in Geneva and has participated in the Verbier Festival Academy, Perlman Music Program, Ravinia Festival. He was invited by Christian Tetzlaff to perform at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall as part of he Professional Training Workshop. Recital, concerto and chamber music performances have taken place across 5 continents. Not only is the geographical scope diverse, other highlights include performances for the President of Singapore, for HM Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, and with orchestras such as the Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony, Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne, Camerata de Lausanne, Auckland Philharmonia, Singapore Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Bruno Walter Festival Orchestra. As concertmaster of the Vienna Morphing Orchestra, recent highlights include performances with the soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, the 2020 CD release by Sony Classical of her album ‘Desire’ and the New York Metropolitan Opera Live-Streaming series ‘Met Stars in Concert’ with Aleksandra Kurzak and Roberto Alagna from Èze, France.
Matyas Andras was born in 1991 in Budapest, Hungary. He started to play the violin at the age of 7. In 2004 he entered the preparatory class of Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. He won 2nd prize on the Leo Weiner Chamber music competition in Budapest in 2010, in 2012 he got 1st prize on the Josef Dichler Competition in Vienna.
In 2017 he successfully finished his Master of Arts Studies with distinction at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz.
He regularly plays in ensembles like Morphing Chamber Orchestra, Wiener Virtuosen and appears as soloist with Ferenc Liszt Symphony Orchestra.
As a member of Marcel Rubin String Quartet he performed in France, Mexico, USA and China.
Tomasz Wabnic is the founder and artistic director of the Morphing Chamber Orchestra and violist of the Morphing String Trio and Vienna Morphing Quintet in Vienna. Leading peer musicians and audiences around the world are amazed by the bold energy and inventive drive of this multi-faceted artist.
During the summer of 2020 he performed, together with Aleksandra Kurzak and Roberto Alagna, in the Metropolitan Opera Stars Live in Concert series. Recent appearances by Tomasz Wabnic also include performances at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Moscow's Philharmonic Hall, Musikverein Vienna, the Tchaikovsky Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the legendary Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil, and the amazing Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall.
Founded by Tomas Wabnic in Vienna in 2006, the Morphing Chamber Orchestra has quickly established itself as one of the most sought-after soloist ensembles at international level. The orchestra, composed of fixed members all of whom are award-winning soloists from fifteen countries, has its resident series at the famous Eroica Hall of Vienna's Lobkowitz Palace has recorded widely for SONY Classical, Gramola Vienna, and Universal Music. Following his concept of a congenial combination of musical styles and art forms in an unusually intense rehearsal process, Tomasz Wabnic established close musical partnerships with other extraordinary artists as diverse as star soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, US vocal artist Bobby McFerrin, counter-tenor legend Andreas Scholl, the Egyptian-Australian oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros and major composers such as Arvo Pärt and Krzysztof Penderecki.
Tomasz Wabnic is also the founder of Capella Czestochoviensis and served as its artistic director from 2006 to 2012. Now the artistic director of Capella Claromontana since 2012, he leads another world-class, Early Music ensemble dedicated at unearthing lost music especially of the Polish Baroque era. Mr. Wabnic produced world- premiere recordings of several works by Daubeck and Gotschalk. The previously lost gems rediscovered by Tomasz Wabnic at the music archives of the Czestochowa monastery of Mons Clara include several works by W.A. Mozart and Joseph Haydn.
Born in Wrocław, Poland, into a family of musicians, Tomasz Wabnic received his education as a violinist and a violist at the conservatories and universities of Bydgoszcz and Poznan in the violin class of the internationally famed violinist Jadwiga Kaliszewska as well as at Vienna's Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität as a member of the highly regarded viola class of Herwig Zelle and of the chamber music masterclass of the Altenberg Trio Wien. He graduated with honours.
Numerous awards and honours were bestowed on Tomasz Wabnic as a soloist and chamber musician. With his Fidelio Quartet, he was a finalist in the 2003 International Chamber Music Competition in Melbourne. Morphing: the combination of several works of music and other art forms through seamless tranisition, is a concept which fascinated Tomasz Wabnic since his infant days: In his parents' living room, he used to play two or three records and the radio all at the same time, with the idea of creating a new sound. Today he lives with his family in Vienna.
Attila Pasztor fulfills a prototype Image of a versatile talent, which gives him the ability to look at the works from the most diverse points of view. He studied cello at the Vienna Conservatory under Josef Luitz, at the Vienna University of Music under Tobias Kühne, and was trained as a soloist for six years by the legendary cellist Daniil Shafran.
Aditionally he worked for some time with Arto Noras. He is winner of numerous awards and competitions, including the “Vienna Philharmonic” award, 1 prize at the “International Chamber Music Festival Austria, 1st prize in the international competition in Liezen, 1st prize at the Bayreuth international music competition, After composing his first film scores at the age of 17. Pasztor began studying composition at the University of Music in Vienna with Dietmar Schermann, Heinrich Gattermeyer and Michael Jarrell.
Also interested in the legal system he studied Law at the University in Vienna. Attila Pasztor appeared as a soloist and sought-after chamber musician in Europe, Asia, South America, and the USA, doing many recordings for broadcast and TV.
Since 2017 he has is working as a product manager at the traditional Viennese company Thomastik-Infeld. Pasztor plays a cello by Carlo Giuseppe Testore from 1697, which was given him on loan by Mr. Gustav Ammerer. Attila Pasztor is solo cellist for the Morphing Chamber Orchestra and member of the Morphing String Trio and Vienna Morphing Quintet.
Benedict Ziervogel, from Vienna, began double bass lessons aged 16 at the Carinthian State Conservatory, going on to obtain a degree in double bass, composition and conducting from the same institution. He also studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (double bass with Johannes Auersperg, violone/viola da gamba with Lorenz Duftschmid) and at the Zurich Academy of Arts (double bass with Prof. Duncan McTier ), graduating from both with distinction. He has worked for the Vienna Volksoper, the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich and as a principal bassist in the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa/Japan and the Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn.
He has taught at the Gustav Mahler-Academy Bolzano/Bozen and the International Summer Academy in Feldkirchen, as well as Masterclasses on Viennese Classical music all over Europe, Asia and South America. From 2012-19 he directed a double bass class at the Prayner Conservatory for Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna. He appears regularly, among others, with the Zurich Opera House Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen, the Cologne Gurzenich Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Basel Sinfonietta , the Basle Chamber Orchestra or the period instrument orchestra Le Cercle de l`Harmonie from Paris and has been principal bass with Ensemble Resonanz, Hamburg, since 2013.
As a passionate Chamber musician he collaborates with renowned artists like Jean-Guihen Queyras, Riccardo Minasi, Tabea Zimmermann, the Acies Quartet, the Quartetto di Cremona, the Parker Quartet or the Altenberg Trio Vienna, among others.
Benedict Ziervogel is internationally known not only as a passionate chamber musician with an intense interest in historically informed performance, particularly with regard to the period of Viennese Classicism, but also as an expert on contemporary music, a field in which he is in much demand both as a performer and a composer.
With arias from Aleksandra Kurzak's CD "Desire",
published by Sony Classical with the Morphing Chamber Orchestra
"Twenty years into her career, the “new” Aleksandra Kurzak is singing better then ever." - OPERA NEWS, November 2020