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KEMAL GEKIĆ: A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

 

" his playing is transcendental as well as incandescent" (John Ardoin, The Dallas Morning News, USA)


 " Kemal Gekić was clearly born to play Liszt" (William Littler, Toronto Star,Canada)


  " His performance encompasses all possible perfection of expression and fantasy, not only mechanical or digital impeccability" (Takashi Momose, The Record Geijitsu, Japan)


  " No mere piano playing skill but a new sound experience.." (Hannoverische Allgemeine Zeitung,Germany)


" a genius with limitless talent" (Jan Weber, Express Wieczorny, Poland)


" A phenomenal pianist. His transcendental performances of the Figaro Fantasy and Chasse Neige are beyond compare". (Alan Walker, noted Liszt biographer)


“Gekić rides the charismatic edge of genius” (Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe)

 


Originality, strength of interpretation and perfect mastery of his instrument are some of the qualities ascribed to one of today’s most formidable and exciting pianists, Kemal Gekić, whose playing has been acclaimed worldwide by public and critics alike. Click here for more on Gekić's technique ,

 

Born in Split, Yugoslavia in 1962, Gekić amazed his family by accurately picking out melodies on the piano at age one and a half. The young prodigy received all his early musical training from his aunt, Lorenza Batturina. In 1978 he entered the class of Prof. Jokuthon Mihailovich (a graduate of Moscow Conservatory) at the Art Academy of Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. He graduated in 1982 with the highest mark ever granted a diploma exam recital, and was immediately given a faculty appointment by the piano department which he directed until 1999. During his school years he won prizes at the Franz Liszt Competition in Parma (1981), the Viana da Motta in Lisbon (1983) and the Yugoslav Artists’ Competition in Zagreb (1984).

 

He earned his Master’s degree in 1985, the same year he created a sensation at the Chopin competition in Warsaw. Although panned by the jury he won the hearts of both audience and critics, and began receiving many invitations to perform abroad, including several from the Chopin Society of Hannover, Germany which had awarded him a special prize for best sonata performance at the competition. A recording of his Warsaw performances sold 60,000 copies in Germany by the end of the year, and the Victor Entertainment Corporation, Japan (JVC) sold 80,000 copies of a CD version in their home country.

 

In 1988 history repeated itself when Gekić was eliminated from the Montreal International Competition after the semifinals. Public indignation reached such fervour that the hat passed at a free ‘protest’ recital organized by Canadian pianist Alan Fraser raised almost $2,000 which was donated to Gekich as the ‘Peoples’ Prize’. These exceptional events helped establish Gekich in the world’s eye as an original and extraordinary artist. For more about Montreal, click here: Montreal International Piano Competition 1988

 

Since 1985 in addition to extensive concert activity in Poland, Germany, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Spain, France, Italy, Kuwait, Canada and of course Yugoslavia, he has completed tours of the USSR and Japan-Southeast Rim. His performances have been broadcast by RAI Italy, TV Portugal, TV Yugoslavia, NHK Japan, POLTEL Poland, Egyptian TV, RTV Lower Saxony West Germany, RTV USSR, Intervision and Radio Canada.

 

During the early 1990’s Gekich drastically curtailed his concert activity, going into seclusion for a further period of intensive study, seeking even higher levels of perfection in his art. 1996 marked a return to the limelight, with tours of Japan, Europe, Canada and the U.S. After the great success of his first US tour, he was immediately invited to return in 1997, the year of release of his Naxos CD of Liszt-Rossini Transcriptions, and he  was received with even greater accolades by the American public in 1998.

 

Mr. Gekić's fiery recital in Miami on March 24, 1999, the eve of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, led to his invitation to become artist-in-residence at Florida International University in Miami, where he now resides. In 1999 he released no less than 4 CDs including live recordings of works by Handel, Liszt, Scriabin and Reger.

 

His concert and recording activity has continued to expand in the new millenium, and his playing has also gone through many transformations. Never one to rest on his laurels, Gekich continually searches for more expressive means with which to plumb the depths of the music he plays. His interpretations are noted as much now for their philosophical depth and richness of emotional nuance as for their technical mastery and blazing sound.

 

Perhaps his greatest and most widely recognized achievement to date is his landmark recording of the complete Liszt Transcendental Etudes for JVC Music Japan/USA, the disc  which presaged his re-emergence as  one of the major pianists of the new millenium. Recently added to that is a stunning recording on gamaMedia Records of the 27 Chopin Etudes. All CD's and DVD's available at www.kemalgekic.com .