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Luke Jones

"As a performing artist, I have played on countless pianos, but there is something truly special about playing on a Shigeru Kawai. The craftsmanship, attention to detail, and exquisite tonal qualities make it a joy to perform on. It allows me to fully express the depth and nuances of my musical interpretation, making each performance a truly unforgettable experience." – Luke Jones
Luke Jones is an international prize-winning Welsh pianist. Trained at Chetham’s School of Music and the RNCM with Murray McLachlan and Dina Parakhina. His playing has been described as possessing “...extraordinary clarity and a seemingly infallible touch that revealed colours and atmospheres of the most sensitive of stylists…” (Christopher Axworthy – Co-Artistic Director of the Keyboard Trust) He has performed to critical acclaim with orchestras such as the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Swan and Manchester Camerata and has appeared on prestigious stages such as the Palau de la Musica Catalana – Barcelona, Bridgewater Hall – Manchester, St. David’s Hall – Cardiff, Salle Cortot – Paris, Symphony Hall – Birmingham and more. Furthermore, he is passionate about education and runs a successful private teaching practice. Alongside music, Luke also has a deep interest in many fields including world history, psychology, philosophy, religion, sport and personal development.
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AyseDeniz was considered a child prodigy in her native Turkey and made her concerto debut when she was nine, with the Gordion Chamber Orchestra playing J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 5. ​In 2011, She completed her Masters in Piano Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, under the tutelage of Christopher Elton. She received the Maud Hornsby Award, graduated with Merit and completed the LRAM Teaching Certificate. In 2009, she completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Eastman School of Music (Rochester NY), where she received the Howard Hanson and Clements Scholarships as well as the John Celentano Excellence in Chamber Music Award. Picture Credit: Sinan Uckan
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Mark Nixon

“This magnificent hand-made masterpiece encourages playing without any tonal limits and inspires one to new-found levels of musical expression”.

Mark Nixon is a graduate of the Amsterdam Conservatory, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the University of Cape Town and the University of South Africa. His teachers have included Laura Searle, Lamar Crowson, Håkon Austbø and Graham Johnson. From 2000 to 2002 he was the Anthony Saltmarsh Junior Fellow at the Royal College of Music. He is the Head of Keyboard at King’s College School, Wimbledon. Mark has received many prestigious awards, including first prizes in the Adolph Hallis Piano Competition in 1994 and the Nederburg-UNISA National Piano Competition in 1998. In 1997 he was awarded the two most sought-after scholarships in the country: the SAMRO Scholarship for Pianists and the UNISA PJ Lemmer Scholarship for Performers. In 2000 he was selected a ‘Young Concert Artist’ (solo piano) of the National Federation of Music Societies in the United Kingdom (now known as ‘Making Music’). In 2002 he was again selected, this time as a duo with the mezzo-soprano, Julianne Young. In 2008 he was selected for a third time, on this occasion with the soprano Erica Eloff. He has performed as concerto soloist with all the South African orchestras, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and with several orchestras in England. As solo recitalist and pianist-accompanist he has appeared extensively in South Africa as well as at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room and Linbury Theatre Covent Garden in London. He has also performed for numerous music societies across the UK. In 1999 he won the Guildhall School’s Schubert and Ireland Prizes and the accompanist’s prize in the English Singers and Speakers Union Song Competition in London. In 2006 he won the accompanist’s prize at the Great Elm Vocal Awards held at Wigmore Hall, London. Engagements have included concerts in Holland, France, Britain, Greece, China and seven extensive recital tours of South Africa with various singers and instrumentalists since 2002. He is a busy chamber musician, often collaborates with singers in art song repertoire and is a founding member of London Song Circle. He is also a faculty member of Piano Week masterclasses, under whose auspices he recently travelled to Beijing to teach and perform. In 2010 he released a CD of songs by Grieg, Wolf, Rachmaninov, Wilding and de Villiers in collaboration with the soprano Erica Eloff. In 2012 he launched a CD of works for solo piano by Liszt, Brahms and Debussy on Stringwise Records. Both recordings were extremely well received in the press and are often to be heard on Classic FM and Fine Music Radio. Recent performances have included solo recitals in South Africa, collaborative work with singers and the King’s Piano Trio in the UK, as well as a performance of Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto in St Alban’s Cathedral.

Can Çakmur

“The SK-EX is an instrument that inspires the performer. An equal partner in music making, it gives courage to the player to listen a bit more intently and to imagine the next note yet more vividly. The connection between the instrument and the performer while playing this piano is simply telepathic.”

Turkish pianist Can Çakmur is the first prize winner of the 10th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2018 (where he also won the Chamber Music Prize) and the Scottish International Piano Competition in 2017. Can has performed in a variety of concert halls worldwide; including Wigmore Hall in London, Glasgow Concert Hall, Eindhoven Muziekgebouw, Tokyo Opera City, Muza Kawasaki Hall as well as the most prestigious concert venues in his homeland, Turkey. He has appeared in the most important classical music festivals in the country including the Istanbul Music Festival, where he headlined the opening concert in 2015 with Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra under Sascha Goetzel. 2019/20 season saw him successfully debut with numerous European, Japanese and Turkish orchestras including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Telavi International Music Festival Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sapporo Symphony, the Osaka Symphony Orchestra, the Çukurova State Symphony Orchestra as well as the Presidential Symphony Orchestra and in halls such as Paris Salle Cortot and Wigmore Hall. He headlined the finale concert of the Festa Summer MUZA Kawasaki with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tadaaki Otaka. Recent and forthcoming season highlights include Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, Carnival of the Animals with MDR Sinfonieorchester, Mozart and Addinsell Concertos with Camerata Schweiz at KKL Luzern, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Konzerthaus as well as ongoing appearances across Eurasia. Can’s latest SACD released in last October with BIS Records, featuring Franz Liszt’s arrangement of Schubert’s Schwanengesang has received glowing reviews from international critics including Diapason, Gramophone, Pizzicato and Crescendo. With this groundbreaking album Can won the Young Artist of the Year at the International Classical Music Awards in January.
See Can’s full biography here.

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Mikhail Pletnev

“A hobby pilot does not need the same machine as an acrobatic pilot. Acrobatic pilots require a machine that is at their complete command and allows them to perform any maneuver at any time. I need that same kind of piano because I am not a hobby pianist.”

Mikhail Pletnev entered the Central School of Music at the age of 13 and was awarded the first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1978. A gifted pianist, Pletnev has also achieved success as a conductor and is an active performer as Artistic Director of the Russian National Orchestra. Today, Pletnev is widely considered one of the finest contemporary pianists of his generation.
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Ivan Ilić

"A restless, inquiring mind"
International Piano (UK)

Serbian American pianist Ivan Ilić enjoys a unique place in today’s musical landscape thanks to his unconventional repertoire and multifaceted approach. By combining performing with writing, producing radio and video, and drawing upon key interdisciplinary experiences, he develops new audiences for unfamiliar music.

His eclecticism is reflected in his choice of musical projects, which range from the notoriously difficult Chopin/Godowsky studies to the delicate abstraction of Morton Feldman, to his most recent enterprise: the rediscovery of music by Beethoven’s Czech friend and contemporary, Antoine Reicha (1770-1836). He lives in France.
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David Quigley

Since his early successes in major competitions including BBC Young Musician of the Year, the Royal Over-Seas League music competition and his selection as the UK’s representative for the ECHO Rising Stars concert series, Irish pianist David Quigley now enjoys a varied international career as a recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician.

He has performed throughout Europe, USA and Asia in many of the world’s greatest concert halls including the Philharmonie Köln, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Musikverein Vienna, Mozarteum Salzburg, Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels, National Concert Hall Athens, Wigmore Hall London, Konserthaus Stockholm and Carnegie Hall New York.

As a concerto soloist he has appeared with many orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Ulster Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Camerata Ireland, Southern Sinfonia and Cairo Symphony Orchestra.

David is also a much sought after chamber musician and has performed with internationally renowned artists including oboist Nicholas Daniel, clarinetist Michael Collins and soprano Ailish Tynan.

He performs regularly with his sister, the violinist Joanne Quigley-McParland in both duo recitals and in trio recitals with cellist Jonathan Aasgaard. He also is co-founder and pianist of the Fews Ensemble, Ireland’s newest chamber music group.

David’s discography includes Piano Music From Northern Ireland (Lontano records), Saint-Saëns Carnival Of The Animals with the Lancashire Sinfonietta, Rediscoveries: Old and New Music of Ireland with Joanne Quigley-McParland (Ischia Records), Piano music by Philip Hammond (Lontano records), Piano Classics (El Greco Records) and Piano Nocturnes (Avie Records). He broadcasts extensively on both radio and television for the BBC, RTÉ, Classic FM, RTÉ Lyric FM and NPO Radio 4.

Aside from performing, David is passionate about musical education. He is a member of the piano faculty at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the University of Birmingham. He is co-founder/artistic director of Newry Chamber Music, a concert society that provides concerts and education projects in his home town and surrounding areas. David is frequently invited to give Masterclasses and to adjudicate piano competitions throughout Ireland and the UK.
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Julian Saphir

Julian Saphir studied at the Royal College of Music, and is firmly re-establishing himself as one of Britain's finest pianists after a long absence from the concert platform. He is renowned for his remarkable blend of profound musicianship, hair raising virtuosity and the ability to entertain as both soloist and chamber musician. Julian's first venture with Kawai was back in 2005 where he enjoyed the twin roles of performer in and Artistic Director of his Master Musicians Concert Series at Harewood House, Leeds, UK which played host to a Shigeru SK-EX Concert Grand. The following year Julian chose the Shigeru for a performance of Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto with the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra. Further concerto performances have included Rachmaninoff's 2nd and 3rd in 2009 and 2012 respectively. As well as a touring concert pianist, Julian is also a highly dedicated and experienced teacher. His students have come from far and wide and are inspired by his undiluted passion for music and its greatest figures. Julian recently set up his music education project Saphir Inspires -Piano Workshops. He has travelled all over the UK to schools and colleges presenting his Masterclasses and performing to young pianists of all ages and abilities. He plans to extend the project internationally next year.
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Ashley Fripp

Ashley says about Kawai: "The Shigeru Kawai EX Concert Grand is the Crown Jewel amongst Kawai's pianos and is a model representing world class craftsmanship. It offers boundless possibilities for expression and delivers a deeply powerful and engaging creative experience."
British pianist Ashley Fripp has recently performed throughout the UK, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Australia and the USA, at such prestigious halls as the Carnegie Hall (New York), Royal Festival, Barbican and Wigmore Halls (London) and the Audimax Hall (Regensburg). He has won prizes at more than a dozen national and international competitions, including the coveted Gold Medal from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Diploma of Outstanding Merit at the 8th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, 1st Prize at the Brant International Piano Competition and the Award for Keyboard at the Royal Over-Seas League Competition. He has also made appearances on BBC television and radio. He is a First Class Honours graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he is currently pursuing postgraduate studies with Ronan O’Hora. Future plans include performances throughout the UK, France and Germany. His CD recording of both Chopin Piano Concertos will be released by Spektral Records in Spring 2013.
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Anne Lovett

"Ever since playing a Shigeru Kawai while in Los Angeles, I have been fascinated with the quality of these pianos. They offer an incredible dynamic range, as well as a quality of tone rarely matched."

Pianist and composer Anne Lovett has been described as one of the greatest artists of her generation, with a crystalline and beautiful tonal clarity and huge sonic power (an unusual combination), plus absolute virtuosity and a rare musical intelligence, expressiveness and ability to communicate. Lovett has a highly distinguished background as a classical performer in her native France. She is unique in combining this virtuosity with composing her own works. This background means that she is exceptionally well placed to seek out fresh, innovative, energetic works which are also highly lyrical. Anne has already recorded three albums since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, including one with the unusual trademark of introducing her own piano compositions; which received rave reviews upon its release. Other recordings include chamber music collaborations for the label Champs Hill, solo contemporary classical works and another innovative partnership with BRIT Award winner, producer James Sanger.
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Lara Melda

"Music overcomes all barriers and languages."

Lara started to play the piano at age of 6 and she has won the BBC Young Musician 2010 competition at age 16, performing Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No.2 in the final round, with Vasily Petrenko and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff.
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Hamamatsu Piano Competition

Italian pianist Alexander Gadjiev has been awarded the 1st prize by a panel of judges at the 9th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition (held in the city of Hamamatsu, Japan, from 22nd November until 8th December), following a series of performances playing the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX full concert grand piano. The SK-EX was also selected by a number of other prize-winning contestants and finalists.

9th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition: Final Results

1st Prize Alexander Gadjiev (Italy) Shigeru Kawai SK-EX
2nd Prize Roman Lopatynskyi (Ukraine) Other
3rd Prize Alexei Melnikov (Russia) Shigeru Kawai SK-EX
Daniel Hsu (USA) Other
Alexia Mouza (Greece/Venezuela) Other
4th Prize Florian Mitrea (Romania) Shigeru Kawai SK-EX
Best Performer of a Japanese work Igor Andreev (Russia) Other
Diploma of Outstanding Merit Miura Kenji (Japan) Shigeru Kawai SK-EX
Chamber Music award Florian Mitrea (Romania) Shigeru Kawai SK-EX
Audience award Alexander Gadjiev (Italy) Shigeru Kawai SK-EX

Kawai has provided instruments for official selection in the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition since the inaugural event was held in 1991, with top prize winner Victor Liadov selecting the EX concert grand piano at the 2nd competition held in 1994. A record 449 pianists from around the world applied to compete at this year’s 9th competition, with 72 participants selected to perform. Following three stages of qualifying, the final round was contested by 6 participants, with the first prize awarded to Italian pianist Alexander Gadjiev, who selected the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX full concert grand piano throughout the competition. Speaking after the final, Mr Gadjiev, who also received the competition’s Audience award, explained that he had selected the SK-EX for its supremely colourful tone, allowing a great range of musical expression to be achieved. Third place prize winner Alexei Melnikov (Russia), Fourth place prize winner and Chamber Music award winner Florian Mitrea (Romania), and Diploma of Outstanding Merit award winner Miura Kenji (Japan) also selected the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX throughout each round of the competition. As one of three piano manufacturers’ instruments available for official selection, the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX proved extremely popular among contestants throughout the competition. In the first round, 24 of the 72 participants selected Kawai, followed by 11 out of 24 contestants in the second round. Of the remaining 12 participants that reached the third round, 7 pianists selected Kawai, while the final was contested by 6 individuals, 3 of whom performed using the SK-EX.

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