Aventura Arts & Cultural Center
Aventura (FL) / 5PM
Tickets available online and at the box office, from one hour before the concert starts
Flamboyant, daring, provocative, exciting, seductive and sensitive are some of the words used to describe one of today’s most formidable pianists, Kemal Gekic, whose playing has been acclaimed worldwide by public and critics alike. His daring approach to tone and form, marked him as a maverick in the musical world, a distinction he welcomes: the very strength of his artistry challenges, provokes, intrigues. “Gekic rides the charismatic edge of genious” R. Dyer, Boston Globe “He is something like a general who has learned all the rules in the book and is therefore free to ignore them in the time of war” James Roos, Miami Herald “His playing is transcendental as well as incandescent” John Ardoin, Dallas Morning News]
Performing worldwide from a vast repertoire, Kemal Gekic presents fascinating, uncompromising and ever-changing interpretations , always generating frenzied audience enthusiasm. As a recording artist, Kemal Gekic has won accolades in Europe, America and Japan for insightful, original views of the music. His outstanding Rossini-Liszt transcriptions (Naxos) won “The Rosette” of The Penguin Guide for Music, while his recording of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes (JVC) is generally considered to be the best recording of a set in history. Born is Split, Croatia, Kemal Gekic got his early training from Prof. Lorenza Baturina. He graduated the class of Prof.Jokuthon Mihailovic at the Art Academy of Novi Sad and was immediately given a faculty appointment by the piano department which he eventually directed until 1999. Since 1999 he has been Artist in Residence at the Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
In 1999 he moved to Miami, Florida to take up his present post as Artist in Residence at the Florida International University after making a historical debut at the Miami International Piano Festival. Mr Gekic is one of the most important pillar of this Festival having graced its stage in numerous occasions.He is currently also a visiting professor at the Musashino Academy of Music in Tokyo and a guest lecturer at numerous universities and academies throughout the world. He has served as a juror on numerous piano competitions. Programs on his life and his performances have been broadcast by RAI Italy, TV Portugal, TV Yugoslavia, NHK Japan, POLTEL Poland, RTV Lower Saxony West Germany, RTV USSR, Intervision, CBC and PBS.Mr. Gekic performs regularly in the United States, South America, Europe and Asia and most recently he has appeared as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic, Warsaw Symphony and NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan and performed several recitals in different countries.
Kemal Gekic is actively involved with Patrons of Exceptional Artists and is a representative of the Miami International Piano Festival worldwide.
Josu De Solaun
Josu De Solaun has been hailed by the international press for his “poetic sense of sound, artistic vision and brilliant virtuoso skills, entirely at the service of the work.” Nikolaus Frey, Fuldaer Zeitung. He is an extraordinarily prolific pianist-composer performing in many of the world’s most celebrated halls as concerto soloist, chamber musician, solo piano recitalist and solo improviser and composer. He is also a published poet.
The opening of the 2020 – 2021 season featured his debut free improv concert, panDEMiCity, in León, in March 2021 – (recorded live for release in July 2021), as well as performances as concerto soloist with orchestras in Spain, Czech Republic and Romania. In 2021, he also received the prestigious the ICMA Award (International Classical Music Awards) for his recording of French violin Sonatas with violinist Franziska Pietsch. His latest solo album of works by Brahms and Schumann for the IBS Classical label has garnered excellent reviews. This summer he will record both Liszt Piano Concerti as well as Totentanz with the Moravian National Philharmonic.
First Prize winner of the XIII George Enescu International Piano Competition, Bucharest (also won by legendary pianists Radu Lupu and Elisabeth Leonskaja), the XV José Iturbi International Piano Competition and the First European Union Piano Competition, Spanish-American pianist Josu De Solaun has been invited to perform in distinguished concert halls throughout the world, including the Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest, Teatro La Fenice, Mariinsky Theatre, The Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, London’s Southbank Centre, Salle Cortot, Leipzig’s Schumann Haus, Taipei’s Novel Hall, Mexico City’s Sala Silvestre Revueltas, Prague’s Nostitz Palace, Academia de España, Menton Festival International de Musique, and all the major cities of Spain. He is the only pianist from Spain to win the Enescu and Iturbi competitions in their respective histories, and was recently invited to a private reception with the King and Queen of Spain at the Royal Palace after winning the coveted Bucharest prize. In 2019 he was given the title of Officer of Cultural Merit, a state decoration, by Klaus Iohannis, president of Romania.
Beginning at a young age, he has performed in France, Georgia, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Germany, Japan, China, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, Mexico, Chile, and Switzerland as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist, playing under conductors such as Constantin Orbelian, Ormsby Wilkins, Gheorghe Costin, Rumon Gamba, Romeo Rimbu, Ilarion Ionescu-Galati, Robert Houlihan, Karl Sollak, Marco de Prosperis, Alvise Casellati, Ovidiu Balan, Horia Andreescu, Radu Postavaru, Christian Badea, Bruno Aprea, Ramón Tébar, Justus Frantz, Francesco Angelico, Yaron Traub, Max Bragado, Paul Daniel, Ryan Haskins, Constantin Grigore, Theodore Kuchar, Jonathan Pasternack, Yuri Krasnapolsky, Alexis Soriano, Francisco Valero, Shinya Ozaki, Radu Gabriel Ciorei, Manuel Hernandez Silva, and Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez, among others, as well with orchestras such as the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra of Saint Petersburg, Orchestra Filarmonica la Fenice of Venice, George Enescu Philharmonic of Bucharest, Bucharest Radio Orchestra, Timisoara Philharmonic, Cluj Philharmonic, Oradea Philharmonic, Brasov Philharmonic, Ploiesti Philharmonic, Iasi Philharmonic, Targu Mures Philharmonic, Satu Mare Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao, Orquesta de Valencia, Rudolf Barshai Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Monterey Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, Malaga Philharmonica Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica de la Region de Murcia, Spain’s Radio and Television Orchestra (RTVE), American Ballet Theatre Orchestra of New York, Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine, and Bari Philharmonic Orchestra of Italy. His performances have been broadcast on Spanish National Radio and TV, Taiwanese National TV, Czech National TV, as well as on New York’s WQXR, Princeton’s WPRB, and Chicago’s WFMT.
His repertoire includes rare piano concerti such as Leonard Bernstein's Symphony Nr. 2 "The Age of Anxiety", Giuseppe Martucci's 2nd Piano Concerto, Britten's Diversions, Hummel's A-Minor piano concerto, Constantinescu's Piano Concerto, as well as the complete concerti of Liszt, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Bartok. He is also an avid improviser and frequently plays totally improvised solo piano recitals. His creative voice is expressed in an enormous range of recordings including the incomparably virtuosic complete works for piano of George Enescu for the NAXOS Grand Piano label, Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” with Joann Falletta conducting, two chamber music discs for the German Audite label, the live, improvised León recital and beloved piano music of Schumann and Brahms for the IBS Classical Label. Next season will feature the premiere of his own piano concerto and releases of new recordings of Haydn Sonatas, and Piano Trios, Enescu's Complete Chamber Music, plus a disc of Czech piano music. His volume of poetry in 2021 titled "Las Grietas" was published by EDICTORALIA.
Josu De Solaun is a citizen of Spain and the United States, where he earned his doctorate at the Manhattan School of Music. His main musical influences in New York were pianists Nina Svetlanova and Horacio Gutierrez and composers Salvador Chuliá and Giampaolo Braccali. He also studied chamber music with Isidore Cohen.
He currently resides in Madrid where he helped craft the entire performance curriculum to teach young artists from around the world at the Musical Arts Madrid academy.
Pietro de Maria
After receiving the Critics' Prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (1990), Pietro De Maria won First Prize in other prestigious international piano competitions, such as the Dino Ciani - Teatro La Scala in Milan (1990), the Géza Anda in Zurich (1994), and the Mendelssohn Award in Hamburg (1997).
An active concert pianist, he has played as soloist with the best known orchestras, with conductors of the stature of Roberto Abbado, Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli, Gary Bertini, Myung-Whun Chung, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Daniele Gatti, Alan Gilbert, Eliahu Inbal, Marek Janowski, Ton Koopman, Michele Mariotti, Ingo Metzmacher, Gianandrea Noseda, Corrado Rovaris, Yutaka Sado, Sándor Végh and Jonathan Webb.
Born in Venice in 1967, De Maria studied piano with Giorgio Vianello and Gino Gorini. Revealing a precocious talent, he won First Prize at the Alfred Cortot International Piano Competition in Milan at the age of 13. He graduated from the Conservatory of Venice and continued his studies with Maria Tipo at the Conservatory of Geneva, where he obtained the Premier Prix de Virtuosité with the highest honours in 1988.
His repertory ranges from Bach to Ligeti and he is the first Italian pianist to have played Chopin’s complete piano works in six public concerts. More recently, he has been focusing on Bach, presenting both books of The Well-Tempered Clavier as well as the Goldberg Variations in his concerts.
He has recorded Chopin’s complete piano works, The Well-Tempered Clavier and the Goldberg Variations for Decca, receiving important acknowledgments from international publications of prestige such as Diapason, International Piano, MusicWeb-International and Pianiste. His next project will be to perform Beethoven’s entire production of Sonatas and Concertos.
Pietro De Maria is Academic of Santa Cecilia and teaches at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. He is a member of the Scuola di Maria Tipo teaching team organized by the Academy of Music in Pinerolo.
José Javier Mendoza
Javier José Mendoza is Director of Orchestral Studies at the Florida International University School of Music. At FIU Maestro Mendoza conducts the FIU Symphony Orchestra, the FIU Festival Orchestra, and Opera Theatre productions along with teaching conducting. Mendoza also coordinates the FIU School of Music collaboration with the Santa Fe Opera, which recently culminated in the premiere of Is This America? an opera in one act commissioned by the Opera for All Voices consortium led by the Santa Fe Opera. Is This America? tells the story of voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, and was written by Chandler Carter and Diana Solomon-Glover.
Mendoza is also the Artistic Director of the Chicago Arts Orchestra. Under Mendoza’s direction the CAO has consistently been named a “Critics Pick” by Time Out Chicago and a “Recommend” by the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein. Early Music Today praises the CAO, “the Chicago Arts Orchestra plays terrifically,” and Steven Ritter of Audiophile Audition claims that the CAO is an “exciting group for sure.” In 2014 Mendoza led the CAO to being named “Professional Orchestra of the Year” by The Illinois Council of Orchestras. Mendoza’s work with the CAO can be heard on the albums, Al combate, and Ignacio Jerusalem: Massin G. In 2017 Mendoza led the CAO on tour to Mexico City with performances at the Catedral Metropolitana, Anfiteatro Simón Bolivar, and Sala Nezahualcóyotl at the invitation of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Mendoza is active in a movement to unearth and re-debut forgotten works from viceregal Latin America and is energetically re-premiering pieces in an effort to bring this wonderful music back into public awareness. Fanfare Magazine describes Mendoza as one of the “guiding lights” in this movement. He has presented lectures on this subject at Loyola University-Chicago, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Virginia Tech, Instituto Cervantes, International University of Andalucía, and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Mendoza also co-organized an International Conference on Spanish Colonial Music hosted by the FIU School of Music and the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center in March of 2020.
Mendoza has appeared as a conductor with the CAO on the Chicago Latino Music Festival from 2015-17. Guest conducting work has been with Opera Maya in Quintana Roo, Mexico where Maestro Mendoza presented the first orchestral concert performed at Tulum, one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya. Mendoza has performed with the CAO and Opera Maya across Mexico including performances in San Miguel de Allende, Campeche, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Chetumal. Other international performances have been with the State Philharmonic of Sibiu, Romania, the Camerata Antonio Soler in El Escorial, Spain, and as guest conductor at the University of Copenhagen. Maestro Mendoza also conducted the inaugural concert of the Bolivar Phil in Miami. Recent concerts include engagements in Boliva, Chicago, and Madrid, and upcoming performances and recordings with the Camerata Antonio Soler. Highlights for the 2021-22 season include Concert for Cuba on the FIU Music Festival, the Grand Opening concert of the Miami Piano Festival, and conducting the closing concert of the Festival Internacional de Música Renacentista y Barroca Americana- “Misiones de Chiquitos.”