Amir Katz (Israel)
Born in Israel in 1973, Amir Katz first began his piano studies with Hanna Shalgi at age eleven. At the age of fifteen, he was already playing with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Chamber Orchestra. After winning several national competitions and receiving a scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Clairmont Award, Katz moved to Europe, supported by other fellowships, including a DAAD grant, to continue his studies with Sulamita Aronovsky, Elisso Wirssaladze, and Michael Schäfer. At the International Piano Academy on Lake Como, he had lessons with Leon Fleisher, Karl Ulrich Schnabel, and Murray Perahia. In four international competitions Amir Katz won first prize: Maria Canals in Barcelona, Robert Casadesus in Cleveland, Viotti Valsesia in Italy, and the Schubert Competition in Dortmund.
Amir Katz now receives concert invitations from orchestras and festivals around the world. He performs in the most distinguished halls in Europe, Asia and North America, such as the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Tonhalle Zürich, the Philharmonie in Berlin and the Lincoln Center New York. Additionally, he has given concerts at international music festivals, such as the Savannah Music Festival, the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, as well as the Oleg Kagan Musikfest Kreuth. His concerts are regularly recorded for radio and television. Mr. Katz has played a number of times with the Orquestra Sinfònica de Barcelona, the Israel Camerata, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Symphony of Princeton, the Orchestre National de Lille, the Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Prague Philharmonia, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Münchener Philharmoniker.
In the last seasons, Amir Katz’s intimate relationship to the cantabile works of romantic piano literature has been reflected in four great cycles performed worldwide: he has performed the complete Sonatas and Impromptus by Franz Schubert, the 48 “Songs Without Words” by Felix Mendelssohn as well as Frédéric Chopin’s 21 Nocturnes. Katz has recorded various CDs for the Live Classics label, Helicon Classics, Avi Classics, Oehms Classics and Sony Classical. His double CD of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words”, released by Live Classics, was chosen best CD of the last months by the classical music magazine crescendo in its summer edition 2009. Since 2010, Amir Katz has been accompanying the tenor Pavol Breslik. This artistic collaboration has found its expression in highly acclaimed recitals in Munich, Vienna, Paris, and at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg among other locations. More recitals are planned for Strasbourg, Zurich and Brussels as well as for Berlin, and at the Munich Opera Festival.
In winter 2012, Katz embarked on a tour which took him to Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Munich as well as to the Vienna Musikverein; this was followed by a release of his recording of Chopin’s four Ballades and four Impromptus on the Oehms Classics label. Katz’s love for chamber music has manifested itself recently in several chamber music projects: recording a CD dedicated to late romantic composers with the clarinetist Kilian Herold on the Avi Classics label, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Prague Philharmonia and taking part in Eilat Chamber Music Festival; in addition, a new CD with Schumann’s violin sonatas is slated for release in December 2015, again on the OehmsClassic Label. He was invited for a return engagement with both the Dortmund Philharmonic and the Brandenburg Symphonic Orchestestra, playing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto. March 2014 saw him return to the Miami Piano Festival and perform a program dedicated to the works of Robert Schumann. On his performance of Beethoven’s Sonatas op 90,101 and 106, the Leipziger Volkszeitung noted: “…Katz is capable of all of this – authentically and captivatingly, with virtuosity and freshness. No wish is left unfulfilled.
In July 2014, Katz made a well-received London debut at Wigmore Hall, leading to his being invited for a return engagement to play at the “Lunchtime Concerts” series in 2015. In November, accompanied by the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, he gave the world premiere of a piano concerto by Chinese composer Xiaogang Ye. In February 2016 his CD with Schubert’s 8 Impromptus was released on the Orfeo International Label. This CD was chosen as CD of the Week by the German radio station RBB Kulturradio. Further engagements are planned for the 2016/17 season, including concerts in Europe, Israel and the USA, playing a Liszt cycle which includes the entire Etudes of Liszt for piano. In March 2017 Katz’s CD with Chopin’s 24 Études will be released on the Orfeo International label.