Tour with Dénes Varjon, Izabella Simon and Lorenza Borrani
1st-8th February 2020
The COE’s inspirational leader Lorenza Borrani will direct the Orchestra for a series of concerts this February in partnership with pianists Dénes Varjon and Izabella Simon. We will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with Dénes and Izabella will join him in Mozart’s Concerto for two pianos KV. 365. The programme also includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 featuring the COE’s principal flute Clara Andrada de la Calle and Mozart’s Serenade No. 6 ‘Serenata Notturna’. The tour will take the artists to Budapest in Dénes Varjon’s home country Hungary, Antwerp in Belgium and Groningen (in the Netherlands) where the Orchestra makes its debut. This tour is included in the Chamber Orchestra of Europe’s series of concerts celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday throughout 2020.
Born in Budapest in 1968, Dénes Várjon graduated from the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in 1991, where he studied with Sándor Falvai, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados. In previous years he also took part in international masterclasses with Sir András Schiff in parallel with his studies. After winning the Leó Weiner Chamber Music Competition in Budapest and Hungarian Radio’s National Piano Competition, in 1991 he won first prize in the Concours Géza Anda in Zurich. Subsequently, in 1997, he received the Franz Liszt Prize, the Sándor Veress Prize and the Bartók-Pásztory Award from the Hungarian government.
His exceptional technical ability, deep musicality and his wide-ranging musical interests make Dénes Várjon one of the most exciting and best respected Hungarian pianists of his generation. His universal musical talent is evident in his work as an excellent soloist, first-class chamber musician, artistic director of festivals and extremely popular piano teacher.
Dénes Várjon is always a welcome guest in major concert halls, such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall and Wiener Konzerthaus. He has performed as a soloist on many occasions with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and with Kremerata Baltica. His festival appearances have also included the Salzburg Festival, the Davos Festival, Ruhr Piano Festival, Sir András Schiff’s Ittingen Whitsun concerts and the Piano Festival in Lucerne.
Chamber music plays a particularly important role in Dénes Várjon’s musical life, and he regularly meets with chamber music partners such as Sir András Schiff, Steven Isserlis, Heinz Holliger, Tabea Zimmermann, Joshua Bell and Leonidas Kavakos.
Sir Georg Solti, Sándor Végh, Iván Fischer, Ádám Fischer, Leopold Hager and Zoltán Kocsis are among the conductors he has worked with. Together with his wife, Izabella Simon, he not only performs in a piano duo but also jointly organises and directs several chamber music festivals, most recently the Kamara.hu Festival at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest in 2018. The pianist has an extensive discography with the Naxos, Capriccio, Hungaroton, ECM, Sony Classical and Hyperion labels.
Dénes Várjon teaches at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest and, since 2019, he has been artistic director of its “Complete Works Live” series featuring the piano chamber music of Robert Schumann. Since 2018, he has also been Principal Professor of Piano at the Kronberg Academy with whom the COE has developed a strong partnership.
Lorenza Borrani has been Leader of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe since 2008. She also performs as Leader, director, soloist and chamber musician in Europe and the world’s major concert halls and festivals – including the Berlin Philharmonie (Berlin’s Musikfest), the Edinburgh Festival, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Paris Philharmonie, the Aldeburgh Festival, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Sydney’s Opera House.
Lorenza was a member of Orchestra Mozart from 2005 to 2008 and, in November 2006, under Claudio Abbado, she performed the rarely played Violin Concerto No. 7 by Mozart at the Teatro Comunale in Ferrara.
She has been Leader of Symphonica Toscanini (Lorin Maazel) since 2003 and has won several national and international prizes.
Born in Florence in 1983, Lorenza started studying the violin at age 5 at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole with Alina Company, Piero Farulli, Zinaida Gilels and Pavel Vernikov, with whom she performed Bach’s Concerto for 2 Violins for her concert debut in 1995. Lorenza undertook postgraduate studies at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria, with Boris Kuschnir and had several masterclasses with Pier Naciso Maso, S. Rostropovich, Ana Chumachenko, Maya Glezarova and Ilya Grubert.
As chamber musician and soloist she has collaborated with conductors Yuri Harohnovich, Gyorgy Gyorivany Rath, Claudio Abbado, Trevor Pinnock, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bernard Haitink and has taken part in many chamber music festivals, performing with Isabelle Faust, Helene Grimaud, Daniel Hope, David Finkler (Emmerson Quartet), Sir András Schiff, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Irina Schnittke, Tabea Zimmermann, Mario Brunello, Christan Tetzlaff, Alexander Lonquich, L. Zilberstein, Pavel Gililov, Janine Jansen. She is one of the founders of the “Spira mirabilis” project and is a Professor of Violin at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole (Florence).
Lorenza plays a Santo Serafino (Venice, 1745).
Izabella Simon, pianist, graduated at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest as a student of György Kurtág, Ferenc Rados, Jenő Jandó and Sándor Falvai. Since graduation, she has been a regular participant of the most prestigious international festivals such as the Ittingen Festival led by András Schiff and Heinz Holliger, the Salzburger Festspiele, the Beethoven Fest (Bonn), the Marlboro Festival (USA), the Nelson Festival (New Zealand), and Halls as the Carnegie Hall (New York), Wigmore Hall (London), Tonhalle (Zürich), playing alongside musical partners such as Heinz Holliger, Steven Isserlis, Miklós Perényi, Christoph Richter and Radovan Vlatkovic.
She attaches particular importance to increasing the popularity of songs, which is underlined by her appearances with Sylvia Sass, Andrea Rost, Ruth Ziesak, and Hanno Müller-Brachmann.
As a soloist, she has performed with the COE and other international orchestras such as the Kremerata Baltica, the Camerata Bern and Musikkollegium Winterthur Orchester, in addition to a number of Hungarian orchestras. She frequently plays piano four hands, and two piano recitals in Hungary and abroad with her husband, pianist Dénes Várjon.
In the past decade they have organised and led several chamber music festivals. The most recent one was “Kamara.hu” at the Franz Liszt Music Academy.
She has made records with Dénes Várjon (The Great Fuge-Hungaroton), Sylvia Sass (Liszt, Schubert songs-Cant Art) and Andrea Rost (Bartók, Kodály, Ligeti songs-Warner).
In 2015, she launched a highly popular concert series for children focusing on classical music, guiding children in the world of other arts with the help of the genres in the framework of a complex performance. Following her highly successful concert held at 92 Y in New York, she has been invited to the famous Bard College as a guest professor in 2010. In order to promote chamber music, she has come up with the idea of the Night of Chamber Music, starring distinguished artists as Steven Isserlis and Ferenc Rados.
Clara Andrada de la Calle is one of the leading Flute players of her generation currently holding Solo Flute positions of both the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Salamanca, she commenced her musical studies with Pablo Sagredo and Magdalena Martínez at the Syrinx School of Music. Scholarships from the Spanish Ministry of Culture and the London Wall Trust Foundation enabled her to continue her studies at the Geneva Conservatory of Music under Prof. Emmanuel Pahud and Prof. J.D Castellon as well as the London Royal College of Music under the guidance of Jaime Martín.
As a Principal Flute player she has worked with many leading orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Swedish Radio, Rotterdam Philharmonic, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra , under esteemed conductors including N.Harnoncourt, V. Gergiev, C.Davis, B.Haitink, V. Ashkenazy, M.W Chung, L. Maazel etc.
She is an active Chamber musician, performing regularly as a member of the „Hindemith Wind Quintet“ as well as various other ensembles including the „Auryn Quartet“, „Miró Wind Quintet“, „Plural Ensemble“, „Trio Arbós“ and the „Duo Neopercussión“.
She has appeared as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and with the Symphony Orchestra of Castilla & León, of which she was soloist on the orchestra’s tour of Colombia and the Dominican Republic and subsequently recorded her first CD with the orchestra of Flute concertos by Spanish and South American composers. As artist in residence with the orchestra for the 2015/16 season, she premiered the Flute concerto by Iñaki Estrada which was commissioned by the orchestra and dedicated to her.
In 2018 Clara performed and recorded the Jacques Ibert and Carl Nielsen concertos with her Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Jaime Martín (CD released on 2nd January 2020) and the Mozart Flute Concerto in G major and the Flute and Harp Concerto with Neeme Järvi and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
Clara Andrada de la Calle has given masterclasses at the Royal College of Music (London), the Buchmann Mehta School of Music (Tel Aviv), at the Conservatories in Valencia, Zaragoza, Badajoz and Salamanca, worked as a coach for the National Youth orchestras of Barcelona (JONC) and the National Spanish Youth Orchestra (JONDE) and held the position of Flute Professor at the “Centro Superior de Musica”at the Musikene in Basque Country.