Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A pianist named Kunz

I have an affection for musicians named Kunz because that is my name. Before on this blog we have talked about the wonderful Viennese baritone Erich Kunz.

Wow, listen to that wonderful aria from "The Countess Mariza."

Where was I?

Oh, right. There is this new pianist, Eduard Kunz. He is a contestant in this year's Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, to be held in Fort Worth, Texas, later this spring. He will be walking out on the same stage I walked out on when I played Schubert in the first, ahem, Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs. That is Eduard Kunz's picture at the top of this post. He has a kind of Evgeny Kissin thing going on. Only he is better looking than Kissin.

Here is a picture of Evgeny Kissin so we can compare and contrast.

And here is another shot of Kunz. I have decided he is my cousin.

Wow, look! Critics are turning against Evgeny Kissin. Here is the London Evening Standard two years ago:

Evgeny Kissin dazzled at the age of 12 but too often spoils the poetry these days with clangorous tone.

The young Russian Eduard Kunz is a recent addition to the BBC Radio 3 New Generation roster and as he demonstrated in yesterday's lunchtime recital, broadcast live (available for rehearing on the Radio 3 website), he, too, runs the entire gamut from sensitive introspection to fullblooded, muscular pianism.

And it goes from there, praising Kunz to the skies. That was two years ago! Imagine what they are saying about Evgeny Kissin now. Face it, Evgeny. You are out and Eduard Kunz is in. Have a shot of vodka if that makes the truth any easier to swallow.

My family came from Bavaria but Eduard Kunz's family is from Siberia. Sometimes in all honesty Buffalo feels like Siberia, I will say that. Eduard Kunz lives in London now. He is 28.

Here is a clip of Kunz on YouTube. The technical quality is substandard because that is the point where Kunz's career is at, as we like to put it here in Buffalo.

Still he is off to a good start! One commenter on one of Eduard Kunz's YouTube videos writes: "I think he is a genius."

Here is someone blogging about Eduard Kunz. "I have not heard music of such luminous spiritual purity since the days of Dinu Lipatti."

Dinu Lipatti! He will never die!!

All the same I will be cheering on Eduard Kunz as he competes in the 13th Van Cliburn Competition, from May 22 to June 7 this year. It is him, Erich Kunz, Kunz Vogelgesang and me. We are the four Kunzes of music. You would think with Kunz being such a popular name in Germany and a gem being named Kunzite that there would be millions of great musicians named Kunz. But there are not.

Break a leg, Eduard!

Do the family proud!


  1. I too think that this young man is a wonderful pianist, I last heard him 2 years ago in Glasgow, Scotland.

  2. Your comments are so superficial and miserable, you do not understand about music.This is not about who is in or who is out, or who is better looking...The fact that Kunz is really a wonderful pianist, doesn't mean that Kissin is out. Shame on you Mary Kunz!

  3. What do you mean, the technical quality is substandard? Of the video camera?

  4. How dare you say these stuffs about Evgeny Kissin? Anonymous was right, Kunz is wonderful doesn't necessarily mean Kissin's out. He'll never be out because he's a maestro. Go ask any classical fans, I bet everyone knows Kissin, but how many knows Kunz, I wonder? At least myself, my music teachers are all like this.

  5. I suspect there were a number of things that turned off competitors at the Cliburn, such as the dear little woman backstage who cleaned the keys with wipes containing aloe! Do watch competition performances, free 'til the end of the year. Reload as needed, it sometimes takes several tries to get all the info on the screen. Eduard Kunz is one of my favorite pianists ever. Bozhanov is also excellent: these two I will have to hear again and again.

  6. Eduard Kunz is indeed an excellent pianist. I first heard him live in Verbier Festival, and then again in 2009 during the Cliburn Competition, also live. He has unbelievable gradation of dynamics, especially from p down to pppp. His playing is always super focused and his intensity extremely gripping. However, personally I find his music making always rather dark, slightly over controlled and calculating, lacking in emotional geneorosity and spontaneity. Nevertheless, Kunz is certainly a pianist with individuality, worthy of international attention.

  7. What an amateur comment of someone who calls herself a music critic! Mary... Did you play a Musical Moment in F minor by Schubert when you walked out and Eduard Kunz walked in? What substandard technique you are talking about?Nobody graduates from the Moscow Conservatory with substandard technique! And every pianist, who paints musical pictures on silence, does it in the way he/she feels!
    And we, listeners, can take only what we can understand! We , listeners, don't know the Russian soul that lived and studied in Russia during the darkest years of political, social and cultural cataclysms. We have NO idea about the sacrifice and hardships he and his mother went through. It is ALL in his music. It is RICH and deep and can be understood and appreciated by people with full spectrum life experiences.We all are different, like it or not, he IS genius.
    Mary, don't break your leg, but hurry up. If he decides to write a book about becoming a concert pianist, it will become a bestseller and you will be without job.

    1. Kissin is the greatest pianist of our century, Kunz is a good pianist,one between many thousands good pianists.

  8. "Kunz was sensational. His technique and delivery were out of this world."
    The Herald, Scotland, 2011

    Mr. Kunz had one of the most successful competition careers of his generation, winning 13 first prizes at major contests, including the Grand Prix of the Enescu Competition in Bucharest and gold medals at both the New Orleans and Paderewski competitions. Other awards included a silver medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians in London, awards from the Hattori Foundation, and the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe prize.

    Teaching younger colleagues is Mr. Kunz’s passion, and he will conduct a series of master classes in Italy as well as in Spain, the U.S. and Russia. He is a guest professor at the Schlern International Music Festival in South Tirol.

    Born in Omsk, Siberia, Eduard studied with Mikhail Khokhlov at the Gnessin Special School for Gifted Children and with Andrei Diev at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and gained his Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction as well as the Gold Medal for performance from the Royal Northern College of Music studying with Norma Fisher and late Mark Ray.

    Named among tomorrow’s 10 great pianists by the BBC Music Magazine, Eduard Kunz has performed and broadcast frequently with many major European orchestras including BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The Hallé and The Ulster Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Welsh National Opera Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and London Musici, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin at the Berlin Philharmonie, The Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Orkest van het Oosten, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Szczecin, Olstyn and Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestras, George Enescu Philharmonic, Braunschweig Symphony, Russian National Orchestra and the Orchestra of Moscow Capella with conductors such as Tugan Sokhiev, Alexander Joel, Christian Mandeal, Edward Gardner, Gerard Schwarz, Lothar Koenigs, Garry Walker, Clark Rundell, Mark Stephenson, Alejandro Posada, Pavel Kotla, Josep Caballe Domenech, Warcislav Kunc, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Barry Wordsworth, Piotr Sulkovsky, David Angus and Mikhail Khokhlov amongst others.
    Recital appearances include the Wigmore Hall in London, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Louvre in Paris, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Winterthur hall in Barcelona, Big Hall of Moscow Conservatoire the prestigious Duszniki and December Nights festivals, Festivals of Como de Garda , Grieg (Oslo), Al Bustan (Lebanon), New York Keyboard Festival and St Magnus (Scotland) and City of London Festivals.

    He has been reinvited by every venue where he performed last year and his 13/14 season will include debuts with Warsaw and Krakow Philharmonic Orchestras under Stanislaw Skrowaczevski, Lodz Philharmonic in Musicverein Vienna, Armenian Philharmonic , Bucarest Symphony Orchestra, both St Petersburg Orchestra of State Capella and St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestras, tour of all Beethoven sonatas with Alex Tomescu and solo recitals in Atlanta and Virgina in US, Erevan’s Khachaturyan hall, Milan’s Sala Verdi, Oslo’s Aula, Tokyo’s Musashino Shimin Bunka Kaikan, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and for the Dubai Concert Series.

    Eduard awards include 13 first prizes of major contests including Grand Prix of Enescu Competition in Bucharest and Gold Medals at both New Orleans and Paderewski competitions. Other awards included Silver medal from The Worshipful Company of Musicians in London, awards from Hattori and Musical Foundations, Dame Myra Hess award and Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe as well as Spivakov Foundation and the “Richter” award from the Rostropovich Foundation in Moscow.

    Eduard is a Moscow Philharmonic Society Artist, Verbier Festival laureate, a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and a Global Yamaha Artist.