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Martina Filjak

She has successfully made the path from a child prodigy to mature musician. After 9 years she returned to Vienna for a concert and visited Bösendorfer!

Audiences and critics are regularly impressed by her 'magnetic stage presence' and 'charismatic personality' in a wide range of repertoire, which includes monumental pieces such as the Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" Sonata and Bartók's Second Piano Concerto.

Martina Filjak was awarded the Bösendorfer Scholarship in 2000.

Martina Filjak was awarded the Bösendorfer Scholarship in 2000.

Mozart Piano Concerto, K. 449

Since her debut in native Croatia at the age of 12 with the renowned Zagreb Soloists, for which she played Mozart's Piano Concerto in E-flat Major, K 449, she has developed an extensive repertoire of piano concertos and performs regularly in the most prominent concert cycles in her home country (including the Zagreb Philharmonic, Zagreb Symphony Orchestra and the Croatian Chamber Orchestra), as well as with orchestras abroad.

For Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 250th birthday, Bösendorfer presented a special limited edition of 27 grand pianos in honor of the musical genius. Each of these pianos bears the Köchel catalog number of one of Mozart’s piano concerts. The number is engraved in the left key block and signifies the piano's uniqueness.

When Ms. Filjak visited Bösendorfer she was pleasantly surprised to play on the model that was dedicated to Mozart's Piano Concerto, K. 449.

"What a wonderful moment!" she said, thinking of her debut as a concert pianist.

Ms. Filjak playing the Mozart limited edition piano, dedicated to his Piano Concerto, K. 449

Ms. Filjak playing the Mozart limited edition piano, dedicated to his Piano Concerto, K. 449

Questions for the artist

You made your debut as a pianist at the age of 12 with Mozart’s Piano
Concerto K. 449. Since then you’ve won many prizes. How do you handle
your success personally?

Ms. Filjak: The word "success" itself has many connotations and I guess different people have different perspectives on its meaning. It is true that in
past years I was a prizewinner in many competitions (including 1st prizes at
the Viotti competition, Maria Canals competition as well as the
Cleveland Competition this past summer), but to be honest I see competitions and the 'success' part of my profession as some kind of game. You win some, you lose some. The moments that are real and meaningful to me are
those moments onstage, when I am actually playing and performing the
music. If I manage to find those moments in which the audience and I are able to find some kind of "truth," then I consider it a success.

From your enormous repertoire, do you have a “favorite composer,” a
“favorite piece”?

Ms. Filjak: Not really in this sense. There are certainly pieces that I performed a lot lately and that I cherish: the "Hammerklavier" Sonata of Beethoven or
the "Outdoors" Suite by Bartók. Whenever I play a piece I try to make it my favorite piece in that moment, I try to fall in love with it and play it as if it were the most beautiful thing in this world, regardless of whether it's Ravel or Berio.

There was another moving moment for her at Bösendorfer when she discovered a photo of Dimitri Bashkirov. She knows the Russian pianist and likes his style of piano playing very much!

Martina Filjak "met" Dimitri Bashkirov at Bösendorfer

Martina Filjak "met" Dimitri Bashkirov at Bösendorfer

What connects you to Bösendorfer?

Ms. Filjak: Many things connect me to Bösendorfer. The most important is that I sort of grew up with this instrument while I was studying at the Vienna
Conservatory. We had Bösendorfer pianos everywhere, almost exclusively. At
that time I was 17 or 18 and was also awarded the Bösendorfer Stipendium
that was given to specially gifted students and I was very proud of it!

What are your thoughts on the Bösendorfer sound?

Ms. Filjak: The first things I can think of its sound are warm, noble, cultivated, refined....

You just played in the Musikverein in Vienna. During your training period you attended the Vienna Conservatory. How did you like this time in Vienna?

Ms. Filjak: That was a very emotional moment for me! When I was a student in Vienna I sometimes went to the concerts at the Musikverein and often thought, "If I could only play there myself someday...." I am sure I wasn't the only piano student who thought that! But since then, I haven't been to Vienna for 9 years, which is a long time. It was an emotional moment to see my old teacher, Franz Zettl and walk those streets. So many things happened to me since the time when I was studying here and of course, I was thinking about the paths I crossed to come back to Vienna. But I was so happy as well!

What plans do you have for the future?

Mrs. Filjak: At the moment I am experiencing a very intense time in my life and career. Two Naxos recordings are planned for 2010, one of which is dedicated to sonatas by Padre Soler. In the coming weeks I will perform at Teatro
Carlo Felice in Genoa, Salle Cortot in Paris, make my debut at Carnegie
Hall in New York and play as a soloist with orchestras such as the Bilbao
Symphony, Tenerife Symphony, South Carolina Philharmonic... and so
on.... I have to switch among repertoire a lot, so I will be playing the Second Concerto by Rachmaninoff, Bartók Third, Tchaikovsky First, Schumann, Grieg, Mozart's K. 449, as well as the Four Temperaments by Hindemith. Altogether, it is an interesting and very varied repertoire. I will certainly be putting myself to the test! Also, we are planning my return to Vienna and I am happy to say that I will play in Bösendorfer Hall again on March 25, 2010!


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(Photo credits: Bösendorfer)