SANJA BIZJAK, PIANO

In February 2001, aged twelve, Sanja Bizjak was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP), where she joined Jacques Rouvier’s class. This Serbian pianist, the youngest member of the CNSMDP entry cohort, had begun her musical training six years earlier, in her hometown, Belgrade, with Zlata Males (a former student of the legendary Heinrich Neuhaus in Moscow). Throughout her childhood, Sanja Bisjak was brought up with teaching ‘à la russe’, current in Central European countries at that time. Aged eight, she captured public attention with her performance of Haydn’s Concerto in D major for piano and orchestra; the following year she gained Second Prize at the Rachmaninoff Competition in Nizhny Novgorod, birthplace of the composer.

Sanja then began work on the first collection of the Etudes-Tableaux. Her early successes were followed by a string of trophies won at international competitions for young musicians, including Bucharest, Kosice, Prague and, most notably, in 2003, Second Prize at the Vladimir Horowitz Competition, Kiev. In 2004, she completed her studies in Paris and gained First Prize, awarded unanimously by the jury, for piano and chamber music in Itamar Golan’s class. She then went on to study with Alexander Satz in Graz, Austria, (the distinguished teacher of Boris Berezovsky, among others) to whom she pays tribute for his openness of spirit and his way of never dissociating technique from musicality. At the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, she continued her development with Elisso Virsaladze, while also participating in masterclasses given by Ferenc Rados, Dmitri Alexeev, Oleg Maisenberg, Menahem Pressler and Andrea Lucchesini. Sanja Bisjak’s career has continued to grow; in 2010 she won the Gradignan Grand Piano Competition and was also victorious at the Cuitat de Carlet International Competition in Spain. As a Natexis Foundation prizewinner, since 2005 she has appeared in numerous concerts with orchestras (such as the Essen and Belgrade Philharmonias, Warsaw Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia, Orchestres du Capitole of Toulouse and of Avignon, Ukraine Symphony Orchestra…), and as a soloist throughout Europe (Louvre Auditorium in 2006, and many festivals including the BBC Proms, La Roque d’Anthéron, La Folle Journée in Nantes and Japan, Musée d’Orsay, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, ‘Lisztomania’ in Châteauroux…).

 

Together with her older sister Lidija, she forms a piano duo whose wealth of talent has been hailed by the press, and crowned with two special prizes at the ARD Competition in Munich in 2005. As well as two recordings for the Meyer Foundation and Déclic’ programme, they recorded their own version of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (for two pianos) and Petrushka (four hands) in January 2012 for the Mirare label. The duo have been frequent guests at the Auvers-sur-Oise Festival and, by 2011, Sanja Bisjak, prizewinner of the international Piano Campus Competition, and Prix Chevrolet, had long been admired by the Festival. She was chosen by DiscAuverS (the Auvers-sur-Oise Festival label) to produce her first solo recording in a performance of the complete Etudes-Tableaux op. 33 et 39 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, on a Yamaha CFX piano provided by the Yamaha Artist Services Europe Centre, partners of the Festival for 24 years. An opportunity for her to «celebrate fifteen years of life with music dear to my heart, and to pay homage to all those who have helped me to understand it better».