Martina Filjak

Martina Filjak revealed herself as a first-class piano artist”
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2011

“…she outdoes some of her more famous contemporaries already”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2010

“Brilliant , sensitive and imaginative playing with resourcefulness of technique
and naturalness of musicality ...a striking individuality a pianist to watch''

The New York  Times, 2009

One of the most exciting young artists to emerge in recent years, Martina Filjak is garnering international praise for her poetic passion and technical mastery at the keyboard as well as for her charismatic personality and magnetic stage presence. Her transition from prodigy to mature artist has been all the more remarkable against the backdrop of political maelstrom that defined her native Croatia during her childhood.

Martina’s unwavering hunger for music, nurtured by piano teacher parents, has been her lodestar. Civil strife or no, she graduated from the Zagreb Music Academy and subsequently from the Vienna Conservatory and the soloist’s class at Hannover’s Hochschule für Musik. She participated in masterclasses at the Como Piano Academy, where she was coached by Dmitri Bashkirov, Peter Frankl and Andreas Staier.

In 2009, Martina Filjak won first prize in the Cleveland International Piano Competition, following which she made concerto debuts at the Konzerthaus Berlin and Vienna’s Musikverein and her recital debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall/Zankel Hall (“Brilliant, sensitive and imaginative playing with resourcefulness of technique and naturalness of musicality. …A striking individuality …A pianist to watch” The New York Times). Prior to winning the Cleveland competition, she had been first prizewinner of the 2007 Viotti International Piano Competition in Italy and the 2008 Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona. 

Martina Filjak has performed with leading orchestras worldwide under the batons of Heinrich Schiff, Theodor Guschlbauer, Christoph Poppen, Sebastian Lang – Lessing , Christian Zacharias and Stefan Sanderling. As recitalist and concerto soloist, Martina has also appeared at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; the Palau de la MúsicaCatalana and L’Auditori, Barcelona; the Palais des Congrès, Strasbourg; the Shanghai Oriental Art Center and Severance Hall in Cleveland. Her recording of Soler sonatas was released in 2011 on the Naxos label.

The artists extensive repertoire ranges from Bach to Berio and encompasses 30 concertos.  A keen hiker and lover of the great outdoors, she delights in playing music that evokes the sounds of nature and folk music. Bartók’s Out of Doors suite, Berio’s Six Encores (with titles like Wasserklavier, Erdenklavier, Feuerklavier and Luftklavier) and Ravel’s Une barque sur l’océan are particular favorites. She is also drawn to technically and intellectually challenging music such as Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata and Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2.   

She began the 2011-2012  season with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 under Christopher Warren-Green. Other highlights included performances of Brahms’s First Piano Concerto with the Staatskapelle Weimar and with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, Falla’s Noches en los jardines de España with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and Hindemith’s Four Temperaments with the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino. Among other engagements were performances of  Shostakovich's 1st Piano Concerto with the Zagreb Soloists, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Sinfonieorchester Liechtenstein and the Ravel Piano Concerto at the final concert of The Florida Orchestra season, under Stefan Sanderling. Her 2011-2012 diary equally featured recitals at the Residenz Munich (Allerheiligen Hofkirche), the Kasseler Musiktage and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

The 2012-13 concert calendar features Miss Filjak at the Dubrovnik Festival, in Palermo, Lausanne and Geneva,among others. Noteworthy recitals in the new season will take her to Istanbul, Sala Verdi in Milan and The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. In the realm of chamber music, Martina is looking forward to performances with renowned musicians Radovan Vlatkovic and Kolja Blacher in Croatia and Germany. First encounters with conductors include Michael Schønwandt thus returning to the Zagreb Philharmonic; Roberto Paternostro and the Israel Chamber Orchestra; Florian Krumpöck and the Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock; Tito Muñoz and the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy or Antony Hermus and the Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau. A regular concerto soloist in the US, Martina Filjak will re-encounter Stefan Sanderling for performances with the Toledo and Illinois Symphony Orchestras and Sebastian Lang-Lessing with the San Antonio Symphony. As "artist in residence” she will make her debut at Ireland´s New Ross Piano Festival performing two recitals and Schumann´s Piano Concerto op. 54 alongside the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Martina’s extra-musical passions include nature [she is collaborating with the Office of the President of Republic of Croatia and the Ministery of Culture to publicise the need to protect the nearly extinct lynx] and education [she participates in Rhapsody in School, a project founded by Lars Vogt through which artists visit schools throughout Germany to give students access to classical music]. She also assists in fundraising for the ‘Martina Filjak Scholarship’ to help nurture the musical education of selected children in Cleveland, Ohio. Miss Filjak gracefully acknowledges the support of the Swiss Global artistic Foundation.

Martina speaks seven languages. Fortunately, for an active performer, she loves to travel.