Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Meet Lukas Vondracek

Lukáš Vondráček



Other information:

Born in Opava, Czech Republic, in 1986, Lukas Vondracek's musical ability was spotted at the age of two by his parents, both professional pianists.

He gave his first concert at the age of 4 and now, at the age of 25, he has visited 27 different countries giving in excess of 1000 concerts. His first international tour was at the age of 10 (1997), when he performed at various festivals in the UK and the USA. In the intervening years he gave many recital and concerto performances throughout his home country as well as abroad. He also spent time studying at the Vienna Hochschule with Prof. Peter Barcaba, at the Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland, with Prof. Andrzej Jasinsky, and at Ostrava University with Prof. Rudolf Bernatik. Currently, Mr. Vondracek's pursuing an Artist Diploma at the New England Conservatory in Boston under the tutelage of Prof. Hung-Kuan Chen. Lukas performed debut recitals at La Cite in Paris, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Tonhalle in Zurich. He has also played in a number of piano festivals in the USA, including the Gilmore Festival, the Ravinia Festival, and the New York International Piano Series.

Vladimir Ashkenazy was the conductor when Lukas made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in May of 2002 with concerts in Prague and Italy. Since then he has appeared frequently with the Orchestra, including a major US tour(perfomance at Carnegie Hall), and concerts in Cologne, Lucerne, Vienna, Bad Kissingen, and Birmingham's Symphony Hall. Lukas's performances with orchestras are widely acclaimed--in March 2003 it was Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No 1 with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Birmingham. In October 2004 he made his debut with the BBC Philharmonic playing Grieg's Piano Concerto under conductor Vassily Sinaisky. A year later, he played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No 1 with the same orchestra under the baton of Gianandrea Noseda.

In March 2005 he joined the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No 1, conducted by Paavo Jarvi; in April it was Helsinki and the Dvorak Piano Concerto with Ashkenazy conducting the Helsinki Philharmonic, and in May he was back in the UK, playing Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on the Theme of Paganini with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop. As a concert soloist Lukas has played with orchestras throughout the world: the Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra in the UK, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Cape Town Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Malta National Orchestra, and the symphonies of Iceland, Dallas, Cincinnati. He has toured in Japan with the NHK Symphony. In January 2006 the Mozart Prague programme commenced at the Rudolfinum. Lukas joined the Czech Philharmonic in Mozart's Concerto No 24 in C minor K491, conducted by Walter Weller.

Other projects during the 2006/2007 season included a recital debut at Dortmund's Next Generation Series and his debut with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon. Later in 2007 Lukas joined the Australian Youth Orchestra on their European tour before his first visit to Australia, where he played with the Sydney Symphony at the Opera House and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth. In December 2007, Lukas performed in Sao Paulo, Brasil, with one of the leading orchestras in South America, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo. During the 2008/2009 season he made his recital debut in Istanbul before returning to the US for number of concerts with the El Paso, the Colorado, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. Performances in Germany, Switzerland, Canada, United States, Nigeria and Great Britain were among the highlights of the 2010/2011 season. 2011/2012 engagements include concerts with the Orchestre National de Belgique, Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa, London Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Washington's National Symphony Orchestra.

In 2001, Lukas was awarded the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Award for the most exceptional young artist in Europe.

During the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (2009), Lukas was awarded The Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award. In 2010, he won First Prize at the 10th Hilton Head International Piano Competition in South Carolina, USA. Most recently, Lukas won First Prize, Grand Prize plus 4 special prizes at the 2012 UNISA Vodacom International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa.

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