Fire is what Josu De Solaun shed with his improvisations to the audience of the City of León Auditorium on 13th March 2021. It was an exceptional concert in which improvisations full of warmth and light now have a second life thanks to this album. panDEMiCity is the musical document – the still photo – of a unique event, an unprecedented hic et nunc in the artistic career of the great pianist born in Valencia and raised in New York. Undoubtedly, this is a milestone which makes Josu De Solaun an essential demiurge of the current world improvisation scene. De Solaun’s exuberant idiomaticism, his vast musical background, provokes vertigo in the listener. De Solaun not only pays a moving tribute to Keith Jarrett, but also visits and inhabits the music of numerous composers who have been nesting in his prodigious fingers for decades, such as his favourite composers: Schumann, Janáček, Bartók, Chopin, Brahms, Enescu, Carter, Liszt, Debussy…
Josu de Solaun
Josu De Solaun has been hailed by the international press for his “poetic sense of sound, artistic vision and brilliant virtuoso skills, entirely at the service of the works being performed.” Nikolaus Frey, Fuldaer Zeitung. He is an extraordinarily prolific pianist-composer performing in many of the world’s most celebrated halls as concerto soloist, chamber musician, solo piano recitalist and solo improviser and composer. He is also a published poet. The opening of the 2020 – 2021 season featured his debut free improv concert, panDEMiCity, in León, in March 2021 – (recorded live for release in July 2021), as well as performances as concerto soloist with orchestras in Spain, Czech Republic and Romania. In 2021, he also received the prestigious ICMA Award (International Classical Music Award) for his recording of French violin Sonatas with violinist Franziska Pietsch. His latest solo album of works by Brahms and Schumann for the IBS Classical label has garnered excellent reviews. This summer he will record both Liszt Piano Concerti as well as Totentanz with the Moravian National Philharmonic. First Prize winner of the XIII George Enescu International Piano Competition, Bucharest (also won by legendary pianists Radu Lupu and Elisabeth Leonskaja), the XV José Iturbi International Piano Competition and the First European Union Piano Competition, Spanish-American pianist Josu De Solaun has been invited to perform in distinguished concert halls throughout the world, including the Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest, Teatro La Fenice, Mariinsky Theatre, The Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, London’s Southbank Centre, Salle Cortot, Leipzig’s Schumann Haus, Taipei’s Novel Hall, Mexico City’s Sala Silvestre Revueltas, Prague’s Nostitz Palace, Academia de España, Menton Festival International de Musique, and all the major cities of Spain. He is the only pianist from Spain to win the Enescu and Iturbi competitions in their respective histories, and was recently invited to a private reception with the King and Queen of Spain at the Royal Palace after winning the coveted Bucharest prize. In 2019 he was given the title of Officer of Cultural Merit, a state decoration, by Klaus Iohannis, president of Romania. Beginning at a young age, he has performed in France, Georgia, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Germany, Japan, China, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, Mexico, Chile, and Switzerland as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist, playing under conductors such as Constantin Orbelian, Ormsby Wilkins, Gheorghe Costin, Rumon Gamba, Romeo Rimbu, Ilarion Ionescu-Galati, Robert Houlihan, Karl Sollak, Marco de Prosperis, Alvise Casellati, Ovidiu Balan, Horia Andreescu, Radu Postavaru, Christian Badea, Bruno Aprea, Ramón Tébar, Justus Frantz, Francesco Angelico, Yaron Traub, Max Bragado, Paul Daniel, Ryan Haskins, Constantin Grigore, Theodore Kuchar, Jonathan Pasternack, Yuri Krasnapolsky, Alexis Soriano, Francisco Valero, Shinya Ozaki, Radu Gabriel Ciorei, Manuel Hernandez Silva, and Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez, among others, as well with orchestras such as the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra of Saint Petersburg, Orchestra Filarmonica la Fenice of Venice, George Enescu Philharmonic of Bucharest, Bucharest Radio Orchestra, Timisoara Philharmonic, Cluj Philharmonic, Oradea Philharmonic, Brasov Philharmonic, Ploiesti Philharmonic, Iasi Philharmonic, Targu Mures Philharmonic, Satu Mare Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao, Orquesta de Valencia, Rudolf Barshai Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Monterey Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, Malaga Philharmonica Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica de la Region de Murcia, Spain’s Radio and Television Orchestra (RTVE), American Ballet Theatre Orchestra of New York, Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine, and Bari Philharmonic Orchestra of Italy. His performances have been broadcast on Spanish National Radio and TV, Taiwanese National TV, Czech National TV, as well as on New York’s WQXR, Princeton’s WPRB, and Chicago’s WFMT. His repertoire includes rare piano concerti such as Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony Nr. 2 “The Age of Anxiety”, Giuseppe Martucci’s 2nd Piano Concerto, Britten’s Diversions, Hummel’s A-Minor piano concerto, Constantinescu’s Piano Concerto, as well as the complete concerti of Liszt, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Bartok. He is also an avid improviser and frequently plays totally improvised solo piano recitals. His creative voice is expressed in a large range of recordings including the incomparably virtuosic complete works for piano of George Enescu for the NAXOS Grand Piano label, Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” with Joann Falletta conducting, two chamber music discs for the German Audite label, the live, improvised León recital and beloved piano music of Schumann and Brahms for the IBS Classical Label. Next season will feature the premiere of his own piano concerto and releases of new recordings of Haydn Sonatas, and Piano Trios, Enescu’s Complete Chamber Music, plus a disc of Czech piano music. His volume of poetry in 2021 titled “Las Grietas” was published by EDICTORALIA. Josu De Solaun is a citizen of Spain and the United States, where he earned his doctorate at the Manhattan School of Music. His main musical influences in New York were pianists Nina Svetlanova and Horacio Gutierrez and composers Salvador Chuliá and Giampaolo Braccali. He also studied chamber music with Isidore Cohen. He resided in New York city from 1999 to 2019. He currently resides in Madrid where he helped craft the entire performance curriculum to teach young artists from around the world at the Musical Arts Madrid academy.