Department of Piano


Homage to Glenn Gould

A musical journey through all dimensions of Glenn Gould's life and work: This is what the discussion concert "At the piano with Glenn" promises on Saturday, 24 February at 7:30 pm in the Festsaal Fürstenhaus. Piano student Vinzent Reinisch from Prof Grigory Gruzman's class at the Weimar University of Music will be organising this varied evening with explanatory words and melodious sounds.

The programme includes works by Orlando Gibbons, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Edvard Grieg and Glenn Gould. Admission is free!

"Glenn Gould was probably one of the most distinctive, individual and ingenious pianists ever - and one of the most controversial," says Vinzent Reinisch, explaining the motivation for his themed evening. "Anyone who has heard one of his recordings feels great enthusiasm or even greater aversion. And not without reason: to this day, many of Gould's ideas, commentaries and media products question and break with convention - if only because of the unique way he played Bach, completely against the still romanticised zeitgeist."

The concert begins with the famous "Aria" from the Goldberg Variations, which Gould released on CD in two legendary recordings in 1955 and 1981. "This aria was able to represent and shape his life like no other work and still connects us with him today," says Reinisch.

The programme continues with a fantasy by Gould's declared favourite composer, Orlando Gibbons. This is followed by Beethoven's Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, in whose recording Glenn Gould "demonstrated the full range of his qualities and idiosyncrasies, from extreme tempi to passionate sing-alongs", says Reinisch.

After the interval, the "Sonata for piano" is one of Glenn Gould's few experimental compositions. With Prelude and Fugue in E minor BWV 855, the concert returns to Johann Sebastian Bach once again, before concluding with the first movement of Edvard Grieg's Sonata for Piano in E minor Op. 7. 

Vinzent Reinisch, born and raised in Fulda, has been studying piano in Prof Grigory Gruzman's class at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar since 2021. In addition to numerous successes at "Jugend musiziert", he has won prizes at numerous competitions, including the "Pianale Junior" 2016, the 20th Mendelssohn Competition and the 11th Bach Competition in Köthen.

He was also a finalist at the "Concours Flame" in Paris. He has attended masterclasses with teachers and pianists such as Dmitri Bashkirov, Andreas Frölich, William Fong, Christopher Hinterhuber, Robert D. Levin, Herbert Schuch, Balázs Szokolay and Natalia Trull. 

Vinzent Reinisch has gained chamber music experience in a wide variety of formations, including piano four hands, piano trio and duo with cello. Here, too, he received a great deal of inspiration from renowned mentors such as Beate Hartmann, Alexey Stadtler, Angelika Merkle and David Geringas.

He also received cello and conducting lessons himself and is enthusiastic about musicological and historical aspects. This experience and knowledge characterises his artistic work and his pianistic skills. Vinzent Reinisch often presents nationally and internationally unknown repertoire, unusual programme concepts and discussion concerts. 

[16 February 2024]


Piano student Lovre Marušić wins 2nd prize at the Beethoven Competition

A student from Prof Grigory Gruzman's piano class in Weimar celebrated a huge success in December 2023: Lovre Marušić won the €25,000 2nd prize at the 10th International Beethoven Competition in Bonn. He also won the Robert Schumann Prize, endowed with 1,000 euros.

This success is linked to his debut at the Beethovenfest Bonn in 2025 as well as solo recitals at "Junge Stars der Klassik" in Kirchheimbolanden, at the European Academy of Music in Montepulciano (Italy) and in the chamber music hall of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn.

The high-calibre jury for the Beethoven Competition included Konstantin Scherbakov and Arie Vardi, two jurors who have already taught in Weimar several times at the Weimar Master Classes.

A total of 24 participants were invited to take part in the competition, which consisted of three preliminary rounds and a two-part final. In the orchestral final, various piano concertos by Ludwig van Beethoven were performed by the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn under the direction of Dirk Kaftan. 

Lovre Marušić would like to complete his concert exam in Prof. Grigory Gruzman's class at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar on 20 June 2024 with a solo performance with the university orchestra in the Weimarhalle. In keeping with his great success in Bonn, he will perform the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major op. 58. The young pianist has already performed this concerto with orchestras in Cleveland, Bratislava, Zagreb, St. Petersburg and Belgrade. 

Lovre Marušić last attracted attention in 2021 with a 2nd prize at the renowned Cleveland International Piano Competition in the USA. He previously won 1st prize at the 20th Santa Cecilia International Piano Competition in Porto and 1st prize at the IMF International Piano Competition in Paris (both in 2018) as well as 1st prize and the Audience Award at the Isidor Bajić International Piano Competition in Novi Sad (2016).

The Croatian received his first piano lessons from Rozarija Samodol in his home town of Omiš. At the invitation of Russian pianist Natalia Trull, he moved to Moscow in 2006 to attend the Central Music School of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He then completed his studies at the Academy of Music in Zagreb in the classes of Ruben Dalibaltayan and Ljubomir Gašparović. He then began his postgraduate studies for the concert exam at the Weimar University of Music.  

Lovre Marušić has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Croatian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Belgrade Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at various festivals and concert series in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Liechtenstein, Russia, France and the USA.

He has been teaching as an assistant in the piano department at the Academy of Music in Zagreb for five years and is also the artistic director of the international chamber music festival Ostinato in Omiš (Croatia). Lovre Marušić is represented by the artist agency CristoforumArt.

[9 January 2024]

Christian Wilm Müller becomes new Professor of Piano

He already held a titular professorship, now he is following an appointment to a professorship for piano at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar: Prof. Christian Wilm Müller was successful in the application process to succeed Prof. Grigory Gruzman and will teach in his new role from January 1, 2024 at the Department of Piano as well as at the Music High School Schloss Belvedereas the Weimar University of Music's center for gifted students. 

"With Prof. Christian Wilm Müller, we are delighted to have engaged an inspiring and pioneering musical personality with many years of experience at all levels of education," says department director Prof. Michail Lifits. "Prof. Müller is an open and committed contact person who is ready to promote and support talented musicians from Thuringia, Germany and all over the world."

For the Department of Piano, it is a special obligation to continue to set up and support the traditionally close network with the successful promotion of young talent at the Music High School Schloss Belvedere in the best possible way for the future. "We are proud to have created an atmosphere in which young talents and advanced students can learn and grow together in a major subject class - a symbiosis that brings invaluable benefits to everyone involved," says Lifits. 

"It is an exciting and gratifying task to be able to pass on a great musical tradition and our own many experiences to the next generations and thus help to support new biographies and new paths," says Prof. Christian Wilm Müller.

"Combining this in a class with highly talented young musicians from the Schloss Belvedere Music High School and students from the university, which is so characteristic of Weimar, is an ideal synergy in my view. I feel honored that the Department of Piano and the University of Music Weimar have given me this responsibility."

The pianist Christian Wilm Müller studied with Volkmar Lehmann (Weimar) and Oleg Maisenberg (Vienna/Stuttgart). Other important teachers for him were Detlef Kraus, Menahem Pressler and Ferenc Rados. He has received numerous prizes and scholarships as a soloist and chamber musician. Concert tours as a soloist, Lied and chamber musician - often as the pianist of the Liszt Trio Weimar - have taken him to over 25 countries throughout Europe, Australia, Iran, Japan and South Korea since the 1990s.

He has performed with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Dresdner Philharmonie, the Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, the Schleswig-Holstein Symphony Orchestra, the orchestras of Gotha/Suhl, Meiningen and Thessaloniki as well as at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, the Kitakyushu International Music Festival in Japan, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Oleg Kagan Festival, the Beethoven Festival Sutri in Italy and the Kunstfest Weimar.

Christian Wilm Müller has played concerts with members of the Komische Oper Berlin, the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. Concert recordings and productions for radio and television as well as various CD recordings are available.

The Liszt Trio Weimar's second CD, which was released in 2006 with the piano trios by Mauricio Kagel and Alfred Schnittke on "æon" (Paris), was awarded the Coup de Coeur by the Académie Charles Cros. In 2012, "spektral" released a solo CD with the late pieces op. 116 to op. 119 by Johannes Brahms.

Christian Wilm Müller has been teaching piano and piano chamber music at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar for many years. He was awarded the title of professor in 2007. Students and pupils in his class have received numerous awards at national and international competitions over the years.

Prof. Müller gives master classes for piano and piano chamber music in Europe, the USA, Japan, South Korea and Australia. He is artistic director and jury chairman of the International Hans von Bülow Piano Competition in Meiningen as well as a juror for other national and international piano competitions.

[14 December 2023]

Pictures of the night: Piano class plays all Chopin nocturnes

All 21 dreamy nocturnes by Frédéric Chopin will be performed on the same evening. This important cycle in piano literature, which Chopin composed between 1827 and 1846, will be presented to the public by various students from Prof. Michail Lifits' piano class.

Under the motto "Images of the Night", the audience is cordially invited to this special concert event on Friday, December 15 at 7:30 pm in the Festsaal Fürstenhaus of the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar. Admission is free!

"I find the idea of the class exchanging ideas and inspiring each other in our regular recitals enriching - by engaging intensively with Chopin's style and his unique sound world," explains piano professor and initiator of the project, Prof. Michail Lifits.

Lifits describes it as a particular challenge for the students to achieve Chopin's beauty of sound, naturalness and honesty of expression as well as an enchanting simplicity. 

The artistic personalities of the various students should not be aligned with one another, but on the contrary should emphasize and express their individual strengths. "Chopin used the soul of the piano to sing. His music unites the vocal and the virtuoso in a very organic way, allowing us pianists to experience a particularly intense connection to our instrument," says Lifits. 

The audience can look forward to 21 different pictures and short stories, interpreted by nine young pianists from all over the world, whose paths crossed in Weimar and whose artistic imagination forms the symbiosis of the cycle.

The musical arc ranges from Nocturne No. 1 in B flat minor op. 9, played by Artemiy Sokolovsky, to Nocturne No. 21 in C minor op. posth. with Janick Čech on the concert grand piano. The other performers are Tiankai Yu, Matei Labunt, Ben Lepetit, Egor Oparin, Yuze Zheng, Mikhail Kambarov and Veronika Voloshyna. 

[5 December 2024]

Master Class with Prof. Lidia Grychtołówna

She is a piano legend of the Rubinstein era: The pianist Lidia Grychtołówna, born in 1928 in Rybnik (Poland), can be experienced at several events at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar. First, the 95-year-old "grande dame" of the piano will play a piano recital as a "Master in Concert" on Thursday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Festsaal Fürstenhaus.

The program of the solo evening includes works by Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms and Witold Lutosławski. Admission is free!

This will be followed by a public panel discussion titled "Memoirs of a Century Witness" with Lidia Grychtołówna, currently living in Warsaw, musicology professor Prof. Dr. Albrecht von Massow, and piano student Andrey Zenin.

Also on the podium on Friday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hall Am Palais will be Weimar honorary professor and initiator of the honorable visit, Dr. Dr. Alexander Grychtolik, as well as musician Aleksandra Grychtolik. Again, admission is free!

On the following two days, November 18 and 19, Lidia Grychtołówna will give another master class for piano students of the Weimar University of Music from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day. Fluent in German and Polish, the artist has much to tell, having met such distinguished musicians and composers as Arnold Schoenberg, Artur Rubinstein and Krzysztof Penderecki in the course of her concert career.

Lidia Grychtołówna was a laureate of the 5th Chopin Competition in Warsaw (1955), the Robert Schumann Competition in Berlin (1956), the Busoni Competition in Bolzano (1958) and the Rio de Janeiro Competition (1959). She was also a long-time jury member of the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw (1980-2005). For 21 years she led a piano master class as a professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. 
Maestra has performed in all European countries, in North and South America, Asia and Australia, and continues her concert activity. Lidia Grychtołówna has collaborated with renowned conductors, including Wolfgang Sawallisch, Kurt Sanderling, Kurt Mazur, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Antoni Wit, Andrey Boreyko and Wojciech Rajski.

In addition to her regular recitals and concerts with orchestras, since 2020 the artist has also been performing piano recitals live from her Warsaw apartment, streaming them online under the title "Lidia Grychtołówna - Live from Home". 

Lidia Grychtołowna has recorded for many record companies, including Polskie Nagrania "Muza", Deutsche Grammophon and Philips. Most recently, she recorded the album "Lidia Grychtołówna plays in 2022: Polish Composers" at the Witold Lutoslawski Concert Studio of Polish Radio in Warsaw.

In April 2023, she gave a one-and-a-half-hour solo concert at the same concert studio, which was enthusiastically received by the audience. In July 2023, she celebrated the anniversary of her 95th birthday with concerts in her hometown of Rybnik and Ojców. Since 2020, Lidia Grychtołowna's artistic activities have been supported by the Warsaw Foundation for Art and Progress.

[2 November 2023]

Master Class with Prof. Lev Natochenny

The Department of Piano at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar is delighted to welcome a top-class guest: Prof. Lev Natochenny has been recruited for two planned master classes to pass on his knowledge and experience to the students. The first course will now take place from Tuesday, 17 to Thursday, 19 October in the Liszt Salon of the Fürstenhaus (Room 108). External guests as well as students are welcome to listen, admission is free.

The master class is in the best tradition of previous master classes and invitations to special artistic personalities such as Lazar Berman, Klaus Schilde, Aquiles Delle Vigne, Imre Rohmann and Michel Dalberto. Eighteen students have registered. The works to be performed range from Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven to Robert Schumann, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich.

Lev Natochenny received his training at the famous Moscow Conservatory, significantly influenced by Svyatoslav Richter and David Oistrakh. At the age of 19 he became assistant to Prof. Lev Oborin. Honours such as the gold medal "with special distinction" at the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition as well as the Gina Bachauer Prize led to concerts as a pianist and conductor in Europe and the USA, among others with major American orchestras and the Russian National Orchestra.

Concert appearances with artists such as Mischa Maisky, Stanley Drucker, Vladimir Feltsman and Rustem Gabdullin followed, as did collaborations with the Philharmonic Orchestras of New York, Baltimore and Indianapolis.

Lev Natochenny gained worldwide recognition for his spontaneous, individual musical approach and his dedication to the artistic progress of his students. He has taught on the piano faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, The Mannes College of Music, New York City University and the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main. He has also conducted master classes in the USA, Japan and Europe. Among his students are 27 prize winners of national and international piano competitions.

Master Class with Cyprien Katsaris

In connection with the awarding of the Franz Liszt Honorary Prize 2023 to the pianist Cyprien Katsaris, the Frenchman will give an exclusive master class for the Department of Piano. He will teach the students on Saturday, May 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Festsaal Fürstenhaus at the grand concert piano. The master class will kick off at 11:00 a.m. with student Mikhail Kambarov, who will bring Frédéric Chopin's Third Sonata in B minor, Op. 58. 

Other works by Chopin, Liszt and Debussy will be the focus of the following lessons with pianists Tamta Magradze (12-13h), Max Mostovetsky (13-14h), Emir Ilgen (15-16h), Artemiy Sokolovsky (16-17h) and Veronika Voloshyna (17-18h). 

The pianist Cyprien Katsaris will receive the Franz Liszt Honorary Prize 2023. The NEW LISZT FOUNDATION and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar will award the prize on Thursday, May 25 at 6:00 p.m. in the Festsaal Fürstenhaus of the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar.

The internationally renowned French pianist and composer of Cypriot descent is the seventh recipient of this prize, following Alfred Brendel and Kurt Masur (2011), Leslie Howard (2017), Johannes and Eduard Kutrowatz (2019), and Martin Haselböck (2021).

The Honorary Prize thus honors the life's work of a great European Liszt player, a world-class piano virtuoso with a very special affinity for Liszt. Throughout his life, Cyprien Katsaris has contributed greatly and in a special way to a profiled new view of Franz Liszt's piano works in all their fullness. Early on, he included the hitherto largely unnoticed large area of Liszt's transcriptions in his concert programs. 

After greetings from Prof. Anne-Kathrin Lindig, President of the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar, and the Thuringian Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Nike Wagner will give the laudatory speech for Cyprien Katsaris. The publicist, dramaturge and music manager holds an honorary doctorate from the Weimar Academy of Music and is the great-great-granddaughter of Franz Liszt. The honorary award will be presented jointly by Bodo Ramelow, Anne-Kathrin Lindig and the President of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Dr. Ulrike Lorenz.


Michail Lifits is the new professor for piano at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar

The Piano Department of the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar is rejuvenating itself and is delighted to have highly competent reinforcement: Michail Lifits has been teaching as the new professor of piano since April 2022. As winner of the Busoni Competition, he looks back on a worldwide concert career with recitals and as soloist of renowned orchestras. Lifits has been an exclusive artist with the "Decca" label since 2011.

"The creative exchange with young people and the imaginative elaboration of significant literature for piano is an exciting process that never ends and helps both students and us teachers to develop," explains Michail Lifits.

"Authentic, inspiring, expressive music-making, based on a solid pianistic technique, coupled with an artistic curiosity are the pillars on which I build my teaching," he adds. "An appreciative approach to teaching, individual encouragement and career-oriented work are important to me. And of course, as a teacher with an 'open ear', I am inclined towards the students."

The winner of the 57th Ferrucio Busoni International Piano Competition has given numerous concerts at venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, the Philharmonie Berlin, the Herkulessaal and Philharmonie in Munich, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Sala Verdi in Milan, the Tonhalle Zurich, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

As a soloist, Michail Lifits has appeared with many renowned orchestras such as the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Residenzorchester Den Haag, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, the Haydn Orchestra Bozen, the Moscow Soloists, Orchestra of Valencia, Orchestra dell'Arena di Verona, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Munich Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Chamber Orchestra. Lifits is a welcome guest at renowned international festivals.

In addition to his extensive solo activities, Michail Lifits is an equally passionate and sought-after chamber musician. He has performed with renowned artists such as Vilde Frang, Nicolas Altstaedt, Steven Isserlis, Cristina Gómez Godoy, Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, Andreas Ottensamer, Veronika Eberle, Gil Shaham and Nils Mönkemeyer. With his chamber music partner Vilde Frang, he recorded two CDs for "Warner Classics", which were awarded the "Echo Klassik" and a "Diapason d'or", among others.