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Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

About The Festival

The Oxford Piano Festival was founded in 1999 by Marios Papadopoulos, renowned pianist and Music Director of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra. Each year, the Festival welcomes piano players and pedagogues, experts and enthusiasts to some of Oxford’s most historic venues, such as Sir Christopher Wren’s Sheldonian Theatre, the Holywell Music Room, and Christ Church Cathedral.

The Oxford Piano Festival takes place in the last week of July, on the tranquil and scenic campus of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, home of the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, and located just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre. 

The Oxford Piano Festival’s objective is simple: to inspire, support and encourage music-making at the piano of the highest quality. Welcoming world-renowned soloists and teachers each year, the Festival provides gifted young players with a rare opportunity to work alongside and learn from some of the world’s finest pianists and teachers, to perform and to learn new repertoire, as part of a dedicated community of artists which encourages exchange over competition.

The concept of the pianist as musician lies at the heart of the Festival. The various roles of the pianist – as virtuoso, chamber musician, accompanist, conductor, academic and teacher – are all examined. As part of this holistic approach, the various international schools of piano playing are considered. 

With Alfred Brendel as the Festival’s Patron, Sir András Schiff as President, and the Festival’s founder Marios Papadopoulos a renowned pianist himself, the bar is set very high in terms of quality and artistic integrity.

Previous participants at the Festival have gone on to achieve great success. Notable alumni include Alim Beisembayev (winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition 2021), Martin James Bartlett, Mark Viner, Alexander Ullman, Mishka Rushdie-Momen and Denis Kozhukhin.

See a full list of our faculty members from previous years here. 

© Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra
© Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra
© Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra

Piano FESTIVAL faculty

Christian Blackshaw

Following studies with Gordon Green at the Royal College Manchester and Royal Academy London, winning the gold medals at each, Christian Blackshaw was the first British pianist to study at the Leningrad Conservatoire with Moisei Halfin. He later worked closely with Sir Clifford Curzon in London. He has performed worldwide and in festivals as recitalist and soloist with many renowned conductors including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Sir Simon Rattle, Herbert Blomstedt and Gianandrea Noseda. His hugely acclaimed Wigmore Hall complete Mozart Piano Sonatas series was recorded for Wigmore Hall Live and released in four volumes. Critics have been unanimous in their praise, describing these landmark recordings as ‘captivating’, ‘magical’ and ‘masterful’. Recent notable performances include the Mozart cycle in Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing and debuts at the Schwetzingen, Edinburgh International Festival, Schubertiada Vilabertran and Philadelphia Orchestra. Future engagements include recitals at Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Schwetzingen Festival, a recital tour in Japan and the complete Mozart sonata cycle at Snape Proms in August 2023. 

Jeremy Denk

Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists, proclaimed by the New York Times as ‘a pianist you want to hear no matter what he performs’. Denk has performed multiple times at Carnegie Hall and in recent years has worked with such orchestras as Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra. Further afield, he has performed at the BBC Proms and Klavier-Festival Ruhr, and appeared in such halls as the Köln Philharmonie, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Boulez Saal in Berlin. He has also performed extensively across the UK, including recently with the London Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and Scottish Chamber Orchestras, and play-directing the Britten Sinfonia. Last season’s highlights include his performance of The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I at the Barbican in London, and performances of John Adams’s Must the Devil Have All The Great Tunes? with the Cleveland Orchestra, St Louis Symphony, and Seattle Symphony.

Anna Fedorova

Anna Fedorova’s playing is ‘unfailingly sensitive, poetic and tasteful’ (Gramophone). Her live recording of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 has more than 35 million views on YouTube and is highly acclaimed by critics and world-renowned musicians. Highlights of 2023 include the release of the box set of all Rachmaninov concertos by Channel Classics and a debut with BBC Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits at the Barbican Hall. Anna was one of the first musicians to organise benefit concerts for the victims of the war in Ukraine, raising over €500,000 for humanitarian aid organisations. With the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, she toured the main concert halls of Europe, and performed at the BBC Proms and in the United States. Anna Fedorova and Nicholas Schwartz founded the Davidsbündler Music Academy in The Hague. Before the Academy’s door officially opened in September 2022, the Davidsbündler Foundation had already started to provide top quality musical education to Ukrainian refugees.

Richard Goode

Richard Goode has been hailed for music-making of tremendous emotional power, depth and expressiveness, and is recognised worldwide as one of today’s leading interpreters of Classical and Romantic music. An exclusive Nonesuch artist, Goode is a regular performer in the major recital halls and festivals across Europe and the US and performs as soloist with some of the world’s finest orchestras. A native of New York, he studied with Nadia Reisenberg at the Mannes College of Music and with Rudolf Serkin at the Curtis Institute. Goode is also a highly respected teacher and mentor of young musicians, regularly giving masterclasses at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions. He holds the position of International Chair of Piano Studies at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, and is on the faculty at Mannes College, New York.

Kirill Gerstein

Kirill Gerstein’s heritage combines the traditions of Russian, American and Central European music-making with an insatiable curiosity. From Bach to Adès, Gerstein’s playing is distinguished by its clarity of expression, discerning intelligence and virtuosity, and an energetic, imaginative musical presence that places him at the top of his profession. Born in the former Soviet Union, Gerstein is an American citizen based in Berlin. His career is similarly international with world-wide performances ranging from concerts with the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Concertgebouworkest, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics and London Symphony Orchestra, to recitals in London, Berlin, Vienna, Paris and New York. During the 2022/23 season, Gerstein’s flair for creation will be on display as he presents residencies with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) at home in Munich and on tour; at London’s Wigmore Hall with three-part concert series ‘Busoni and his World’; and at the 2023 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Yoheved Kaplinsky

Yoheved Kaplinsky is the Susan W Rose Chair of Juilliard’s Piano Department. Currently an artistic advisor to the Pre-College Division, she served as its artistic director from 2007 – 2019. Dr Kaplinsky has appeared throughout the United States as a recitalist, in chamber music concerts and with orchestras, including performances in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington DC. Noted for her insight and understanding of piano technique, she has been in great demand for lectures and masterclasses in the US, Israel, Europe and Asia. She has served on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and the Manhattan School of Music, and has been a member of the Juilliard piano faculty since 1993. She also teaches regularly at various summer festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival and Piano Texas International Academy & Festival. She has participated in the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine, the Tel-Hai International Master Classes in Israel, Pianofest in Long Island, New York and Oxford Piano Festival in the UK, among others.

Stephen Kovacevich

With an international career spanning over six decades, Stephen Kovacevich has long been recognised as one of the most searching interpreters. Born in Los Angeles, Kovacevich made his European debut at Wigmore Hall in 1961. He has appeared with many of the world’s finest orchestras and conductors, including Hans Graf, Bernard Haitink, Kurt Masur, Sir Simon Rattle, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and the late Sir Georg Solti. Kovacevich is a frequent guest at prestigious festivals including Lugano, Verbier, and the Mariinsky International Piano Festival. He has forged long-standing artistic partnerships, including numerous recordings with Sir Colin Davis and frequent duo appearances alongside Martha Argerich. As a committed chamber musician, Kovacevich enjoys regular artistic collaborations with Nicola Benedetti, Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon, Emmanuel Pahud and Alina Ibragimova. To celebrate his 75th birthday, Decca released a limited edition 25-CD box set of his entire recorded legacy for Philips. In 2008, he re-recorded Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, which won him the Gramophone Editor’s Choice Award (2009) and the Gramophone Magazine Top Choice Award (2015).

Vanessa Latarche

Since 2005, Professor Vanessa Latarche has been Head of Keyboard at the Royal College of Music, formerly having been a professor of piano at the Royal Academy of Music. Latarche was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music, an honour conferred on her by HRH Prince of Wales in 2010. In 2011, she was granted a Personal Chair, and in 2017 was made the Associate Director for Partnerships in Asia. Latarche has frequently travelled to give masterclasses in such institutions as Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Beijing Central Conservatory, and she is an advisor to Lang Lang’s music school, in Shenzhen, China. In the UK, Latarche has performed as a soloist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Concert and BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestras and appeared at festivals including Cheltenham and Harrogate. She has been a juror for competitions worldwide including BBC Young Musician of the Year. She is currently the Artistic Director of Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

Nikolai Lugansky

Nikolai Lugansky is a pianist who combines elegance and grace with powerful virtuosity. Recognised as a master of Russian and late romantic repertoire, Lugansky is renowned for his interpretations of Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Chopin and Debussy and has received numerous awards. Concerto highlights for the upcoming season include performances with Russian National Orchestra in Paris, Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Strasbourg and Oslo Philharmonic. In 2023 Lugansky launches a special project to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninov, with a series of recitals featuring the composer’s major solo works. The project will be presented in Paris, London (Wigmore Hall), Brussels, Vienna, Berlin, Lucerne, Amsterdam and many other cities across the world. Lugansky regularly performs at the La Roque d’Anthéron Festival and the Verbier Festival. In June 2019, Nikolai Lugansky received the Russian Federation National Award in Literature and Art, for his contribution to the development and advancement of Russian and international classical music culture over the past 20 years. Nikolai records for Harmonia Mundi.

Tessa Nicholson

Tessa Nicholson had a busy early career, performing twice with the CBSO as a teenager, and her first broadcast for BBC Radio 3 was at the age of 12. During this time, she worked with Lillian Niblette, former pupil of Solomon, Cortot and Moiseiwitsch.  Her later studies were at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and then in Italy, where her most influential teachers were Lamar Crowson, Guido Agosti and Maria Curcio. Tessa has performed widely in Europe, Asia, and the UK, and has given many recitals at Wigmore Hall, the Southbank, for BBC Radio 3 and the World Service.  More recently, her focus has been on working with gifted young students at the Royal Academy and at the Purcell School. Her students have included Alim Beisembayev (winner of Leeds International Piano Competition 2021), Mark Viner, Tyler Hay and presently Milda Daunoraite, who are all pursuing successful international careers.

Marios Papadopoulos

Marios Papadopoulos is the Founder of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and the Oxford Piano Festival. He has appeared in many of the world’s most prestigious venues and worked with a host of eminent musicians including Evgeny Kissin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maxim Vengerov, Martha Argerich and Lang Lang. His many recordings feature works by Beethoven, Mozart, Mussorgsky, César Franck, Stravinsky and the 24 Preludes and Fugues by Shostakovich. He conducts the Oxford Philharmonic in new recordings of the Brahms and Sibelius violin concertos with Maxim Vengerov with whom he has also recorded the complete Brahms Violin Sonatas. In recent years, Maestro Papadopoulos has concentrated his work mainly in Oxford with the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra. Rare guest appearances have included a UK tour with the LPO and a Mozart Piano Concerto cycle directed from the keyboard with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. In 2019, he conducted  a new production of The Marriage of Figaro for the Greek National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens. Marios holds a doctorate in music from City University, is a Fellow by Special Election of Keble College, Oxford and has been awarded an MBE for services to music in Oxford.