Date of birth: 09.05.1973
Born in Israel in 1973, Amir Katz first began his piano studies with Hanna Shalgi at age eleven. At the age of fifteen, he was already playing with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Chamber Orchestra. After winning several national competitions and receiving a scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Clairmont Award, Katz moved to Europe, supported by other fellowships, including a DAAD grant, to continue his studies with Sulamita Aronovsky, Elisso Wirssaladze, and Michael Schäfer. At the International Piano Academy on Lake Como, he studied under the tutelage of Leon Fleisher, Karl Ulrich Schnabel, and Murray Perahia. In four international competitions, Katz was awarded first prize: Maria Canals in Barcelona, Robert Casadesus in Cleveland, Viotti Valsesia in Italy, and the Schubert Competition in Dortmund.
Amir Katz now receives concert invitations from orchestras and festivals around the world. He performs in the most distinguished halls in Europe, Asia and North America, such as the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Tonhalle Zürich, the Philharmonie in Berlin and the Lincoln Center New York. Additionally, he has given concerts at international music festivals, such as the Savannah Music Festival, the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, as well as the Oleg Kagan Musikfest Kreuth. His concerts are regularly recorded for radio and television. Mr. Katz has played a number of times with the Orquestra Sinfònica de Barcelona, the Israel Camerata, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Symphony of Princeton, the Orchestre National de Lille, the Dortmunder Philharmoniker, Prague Philharmonia, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Münchener Philharmoniker. In the last seasons, Amir Katz’s intimate relationship to the cantabile works of romantic piano literature has been reflected in four great cycles performed worldwide: he has performed the complete Sonatas and Impromptus by Franz Schubert, the 48 Songs Without Words by Felix Mendelssohn, as well as Frédéric Chopin’s 21 Nocturnes.
Katz has recorded various CDs for the Live Classics label, Helicon Classics, Avi Classics, Oehms Classics and Sony Classical. His double CD of Felix Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words, released by Live Classics, was chosen “Best CD of the Last Months” by the classical music magazine crescendo in its 2009 summer issue.
Since 2010, Amir Katz has been accompanying the tenor Pavol Breslik. This artistic collaboration has found its expression in highly acclaimed recitals in Munich, Vienna, Paris, and at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, among other locations. More recitals are planned for Strasbourg, Zurich and Brussels as well as for Berlin and the Munich Opera Festival. In winter 2012, Katz embarked on a tour which took him to Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Munich as well as to the Vienna Musikverein; this was followed by a release of his recording of Chopin’s Four Ballades and Four Impromptus on the Oehms Classics label.
Katz’s love for chamber music has manifested itself in several chamber music projects: recording a CD dedicated to late romantic composers with the clarinetist Kilian Herold on the Avi Classics label, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Prague Philharmonia and participating in Eilat Chamber Music Festival; in addition, a CD with Schumann’s violin sonatas is was released in December 2015, again on the OehmsClassic Label.
Owing to the great success of earlier collaborative performances, Mr. Katz was invited for a return engagement with both the Dortmund Philharmonic and the Brandenburg Symphonic Orchestestra, playing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto. March 2014 saw him similarly return to the Miami Piano Festival and perform a program dedicated to the works of Robert Schumann. On his performance of Beethoven’s Sonatas op 90,101 and 106, the Leipziger Volkszeitung noted: “…Katz is capable of all of this – authentically and captivatingly, with virtuosity and freshness. No wish is left unfulfilled.”
New venues and frontiers beckoned as well. In July 2014, Katz made a well-received London debut at Wigmore Hall, leading to his being invited for a return engagement to play at the “Lunchtime Concerts” series in 2015. In November, accompanied by the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, he gave the world premiere of a piano concerto by Chinese composer Xiaogang Ye. In February 2016, his CD of Schubert’s 8 Impromptus was released on the Orfeo International Label. This CD was chosen as “CD of the Week” by the German radio station RBB Kulturradio.
2017 brought fresh challenges and praise. In this year, Katz presented a Liszt Cycle that included all of Liszt’s Etudes for piano. The Berliner Morgenpost wrote in its review: “Katz’s playing is characterized by phenomenal clarity… what is more, his technical possibilities are so vast that every voice has its own color and intensity in Liszt’s often orchestral texture… this is a great art of interpretation based on fabulous pianism….” In March 2017, Orfeo International released his CD of Chopin’s 24 Etudes. It was named “CD of the Week” by the radio broadcaster MDR-Kultur.
In September 2018, Amir Katz made his debut at the Blanco y Negro Piano Festival in New Mexico. In November of the same year, this was followed by another debut, here with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, performing Chopin’s First Piano Concerto.
In March 2020, Orfeo International will release his double CD Hommage to Liszt. In addition to his concert activity, Katz has been giving masterclasses at the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv, at Cornel University in Ithaca and at the Miami Academy of the Miami Festival. He has also been invited to sit as a jury member in various competitions. Amir is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Entelechia Music Festival in Berlin. The festival will have its first edition between March and April of 2020. More information about the festival can be found under musikfestivalberlin.com.