Pianist Boris Giltburg, one of the most successful Israeli pianists of the younger generation, will perform at a concert with the Israel Chamber Orchestra under Yi An Xu next week.
Born in Moscow in 1984, Giltburg immigrated to Israel as a child and started studying piano at the age of five with his mother, who was a pianist. He later became a student of Arie Vardi and has since been performing with major orchestras around the globe.
Giltburg, second-prize winner of the Rubinstein Piano Competition 2011, recently won another prestigious international competition – the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium. In addition to first prize, he received the Audience Award. He has also released an album of sonatas by Rachmaninoff, Liszt and Grieg.
“The Queen Elisabeth Competition has obviously pushed my international career forward,” says Giltburg on the eve of his performance with the ICO. “I give about 80 performances a year, which include concerts with orchestras, recitals and chamber music. I’ve just returned from a month-long concert tour in the US and Europe, and a few days ago I performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 at the Musikverein in Vienna. I also tour the Far East and Latin America.”
German and Russian composers are among Giltburg’s favorites.
“I try to include pieces from these two huge groups in each recital,” he says.
“That said, I prefer not to overspecialize, so I also enjoy playing Gershwin and Bartok and Ravel.”
When asked how he sees his future as a musician, Giltburg first answers on a very practical level: “My concert plans for the next two years are already set.
My repertoire includes 15 piano concerti and four recitals, not to mention chamber music. So I have to try to keep the performance level high, to play every concert as if it was the most important one in my life and not to let the quantity negatively influence the quality of my performance.”
But then he elaborates, “The road to the future consists of little steps – public performances and the musician’s work at home. When I listen to my recordings from two years ago, I have the feeling that it is not really me.”
As he speaks, Giltburg goes deeper: “My latest tour featured mostly recitals of pieces of very different composers.
Every piece includes an entire world, and the most important thing is to approach each and every piece without using ready-made clichés but rather to try to be ultimately devoted to the spirit of the composer and bring it to the audience.”
Giltburg confides that after winning second prize at the Rubinstein Music Competition, he set himself the goal of moving away from his performance style of that period.
“That meant becoming a more free, liberated performer and, at the same time, being more devoted to the spirit of the music. That is why the two prizes – that of the jury and of the audience – at the Queen Elisabeth Competition were so important for me. It was a confirmation that I was right in my choice of the new direction,” he says.
Boris Giltburg will perform Mozart’s piano concerti Nos. 18 and 19 with the Israel Chamber Orchestra under conductor Yi An Xu on December 10 and 11 at The Tel Aviv Museum of Art. For more details