Top piano soloists for Mozart Festival


Top piano soloists for Mozart Festival News (press release)
Amongst these was a silver medal in the International Piano Competition in Montevideo and fifth place in the UNISA/Transnet International Piano Competition

Florian Uhlig
Artistic Director of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival

The Johannesburg International Mozart Festival will give audiences the opportunity to celebrate Mozart's musical genius with acclaimed pianists.

Piano soloists Florian Uhlig, Matthias Fletzberger, Malcolm Nay, Nina Schumann and Luis Magalhães will be joined on stage during the course of the festival, running from 23 January to 9 February, by the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, The Imperial College Symphony Orchestra and musicians from the West Eastern Divan Orchestra, together with excellent vocalists.

Florian Uhlig has been Artistic Director of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival since 2008. He was born in Düsseldorf and gave his first piano recital at the age of twelve. He studied in London with Peter Feuchtwanger and continued his studies at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he now lives when he's not in Berlin.

Uhlig's orchestra debut was at the Barbican in London in 1997. Since then, his demanding schedule has taken him to major concert stages in Berlin, Brussels, Caracas, Dresden, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Cape Town, Cologne, London, Luxemburg, Munich, New York, Paris, Prague, Reykjavik, Salzburg, Seoul, Venice, Washington and Vienna. He has played with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Saarbrücken, the Stuttgart Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.

He has also made guest appearances with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. Invitations to festivals led him to appear at the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, the Chamber Music Festival in Elmau Castle, the Ludwigsburg Castle Festival, the MDR Summer of Music, France Musique Paris, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Schwetzingen Festival, the Vienna Festival Weeks, and many more.

Uhlig is also a sought-after chamber musician and song pianist. He was the last musical partner of legendary baritone Hermann Prey, and has worked together with Mirijam Contzen, Alban Gerhardt, Franz Hawlata, Roberto Saccá and Ingolf Turban, the Consortium Classicum, the Philharmonia Quartet Berlin, as well as with actors Christoph Bantzer, Cornelia Froboess, Gudrun Landgrebe and Nina Hoger.

Uhlig will be on stage at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival on 24, 27 and 28 January, and on 4 and 7 February.

Matthias Fletzberger is a native Viennese, and began his career at the age of five as one of the youngest students of all times at the Viennese Music University. He completed his studies in Vienna with Hans Graf, and also studied under Bruno Seidlhofer, Leon Fleisher, Tatjana Nikolajewa, Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer and Jacques Rouvier.

The beginning of his career was marked by various accolades at international piano competitions, including Busoni, Rubinstein, Santander, Athens, and Bösendorfer. He played with major orchestras (Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Bordeaux, Orquestra National d'Espagna) and conductors (Ferdinand Leitner, Carl Melles, Jesus-Lopez Cobos). He was also renowned as a chamber-musician and vocal accompanist for artists like Isaac Stern, Maurice Gendron, Gérad Souzay or Gabriel Bacquier, before he turned his focus in 1986 to his second career as a conductor, strongly supported by Rolf Liebermann and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. With commitments in Salzburg, Vienna, Prague and St. Gallen he acquired an extensive repertoire as an opera conductor within a short time.

He was general manager of the Sofiensäle, Vienna's oldest and largest venue for cultural events, for several years. Here he was responsible for presenting a varied programme of opera, musical and theater presentations, alongside galas, parties and clubbing events. After a few years of artistic time-out, he now returns as pianist to classical music.

Fletzberger will be performing at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival on 3 February, together with Lidia Baich on violin.

Local legend Malcolm Nay is one of the most charismatic South African chamber musicians. He obtained a B. Mus. degree and Postgraduate Performer's Licentiate (cum laude) at the University of the Witwatersrand, with pianists Pauline Nossel and Isabel Stengel as his mentors and teachers.

In 1978 he went to study overseas with the P.J. Lemmer Scholarship, being awarded a place with the famous Hungarian pianist, Bela Siki. During his time in the USA he performed and recorded extensively, winning numerous prizes. Amongst these was a silver medal in the International Piano Competition in Montevideo and fifth place in the UNISA/Transnet International Piano Competition of 1984.

Since his return to South Africa, Nay has appeared as a soloist with most major local orchestras, and is a popular solo recitalist throughout the country. He is currently head of the practical teaching staff at Wits University, whilst also managing an active concert career.

Nay will share the stage of the Linder Auditorium at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival with the Imperial College Symphony Orchestra from the UK, on Saturday 30 January.

Husband and wife due Luis Magalhães and Nina Schumann met in January 1999 while studying at the University of North Texas, USA, with Vladimir Viardo. They formed the Magalhães-Schumann Piano Duo later that year, and have since performed to great acclaim across the USA, Portugal, Germany, Austria, South Africa and Mozambique.

Following her first appearance with orchestra at the age of 15, Schumann has become one of South Africa's leading pianists. She has won every major South African music competition and scholarship prize, and has also participated in several international competitions, including the Morocco International and UNISA/Transnet International Piano Competition, during which she reached the semi-final round and was awarded three special prizes, one of which was as the Most Promising South African Pianist.

Schumann has more than 140 concerto performances with orchestras in South Africa, Europe and the USA behind her name, 35 concertos in her repertoire, and is signed with Universal Music as a recording artist. She is currently appointed as Associate Professor and Head of Piano at the Department of Music, Stellenbosch University.

Portuguese pianist Luis Magalhães started playing piano at the age of five, receiving tuition from Eduardo Rocha, José Alexandre Reis, Pedro Burmester and Vladimir Viardo, as well as masterclasses from, amongst others, Helena Sá e Costa, Paul Badura-Skoda, Dimitri Bashkirov and Alicia de Larrocha.

Magalhães has won several prizes at national and international competitions, including first prize at the Maria Campina Competition, second prize at the Juventude Musical Portuguesa Competition, second prize (Chamber Music) at the Jovens Músicos Competition, honorary mention at the Helena Sá e Costa Competition, as well as second prize for the best performance of Russian music and best performance of Rachmaninoff at the 2002 Russian Music International Piano Competition, USA. In 2001 he was awarded the National Medal for Cultural Achievements by the Mayor of Famalicão, Portugal.

Magalhães, a concert pianist since the age of nine, has given numerous recital, concerto and chamber music performances in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. He is also a Universal Music recording artist and a lecturer in piano at the Department of Music, Stellenbosch University.

Schumann and Magalhães will be on stage together at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival for a duo piano recital that includes works from Brahms and Stravinsky on Sunday 31 January.

These piano soloist and other respected musicians form part of the diverse programme planned for the 2010 Johannesburg International Mozart Festival.

Tickets for the Linder Auditorium will be available through Computicket, and range between R135 and R165. There is a 10% discount for students, pensioners and block bookings of 10 or more. Tickets for the events at Northwards House are R160, which includes supper and wine on Sundays and a glass of wine on other days, and are available from Caroline on 011 447 9264. Tickets for events at the Holy Trinity Church in Braamfontein are R120 or R100 for pensioners and students, and can also be bought from Caroline on 011 447 9264.

For more information please visit and join the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival group on Facebook for regular updates on Festival happenings and competitions. Account:
Gilly Hemphill
The Famous Idea Trading Company
021 886 4900
082 820 8584
Johannesburg International Mozart Festival