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The Piano Six Foundation
Janina Fialkowska, OC, Founder and Director 
Touring assistance: 
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Winner of the National Music Award 2000
Jean A. Chalmers Foundation

Artist Biographies


Janina Fialkowska

Janina Fialkowska Piano Six founder Janina Fialkowska, a protégée of the late keyboard giant Arthur Rubinstein, is regarded as one of the leading pianists of her generation. Trained in Montreal, Paris, and New York, she is celebrated for her commanding and eloquent interpretations of the Classical and Romantic repertoires, most notably the works of Chopin and Liszt. She routinely wins accolades for her performances with the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Bonn Philharmonic, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and all of the major Canadian ensembles. In 1990, Ms. Fialkowska was chosen to give the world premiere of Franz Liszt's recently discovered Third Piano Concerto  (opus posthumous) with the Chicago Symphony, a standard-setting performance which won her rave reviews and considerable attention in the international media. Recent engagements include a tour of England with the Royal Philharmonic of London and a major North American tour with Poland’s Cracow Philharmonic that took her to Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Toronto, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Ms. Fialkowska’s recent recordings, all warmly received, feature a recital of solo piano works by Liszt (CBC Records); music for piano and orchestra by Chopin, Moszkowski and Koprowski (CBC Records); solo piano music of Szymanowski (Opening Day, 1997 Juno Award nomination); two recitals of liederby Schubert, Brahms, and Schumann with baritone Daniel Lichti (Opening Day); a recital of virtuoso salon pieces and encores (CBC Records, 1998 Juno Award nomination); the complete Chopin Études (Opening Day) ; two sonatas and the four Impromptus of Chopin (Opening Day); the Paderewski piano concerto (Naxos); the three piano concertos of Liszt, with Hans Graf and the Calgary Philharmonic (CBC Records); and the complete Transcendental Études of Franz Liszt (Opening Day). Other recording projects are also in the works.

Jon Kimura Parker

Jon Kimura Parker Vancouver virtuoso Jon Kimura Parker is known the world over for his dazzling pianism and exceptional artistry. Since winning the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition in Great Britain, he has secured a place for himself among the most brilliant pianists of his generation. Over the course of his career, Mr. Parker has performed as guest soloist with many of the world’s finest orchestras and has collaborated with such distinguished conductors as Dohnányi, Dutoit, Järvi, Rostropovich and Slatkin. He has given two command performances for Queen Elizabeth II and has performed before the Prime Ministers of both Canada and Japan. In 1996, he travelled to war-torn Sarajevo to accompany a humanitarian aid shipment and play a series of goodwill concerts. Later that same year he fulfilled a long-time dream when he toured the Canadian Arctic on behalf of Piano Six, playing to audiences of more than 1000 Inuit children. In 1998, in order to underscore his commitment to the chamber music experience, Mr. Parker joined with several of his colleagues in founding the highly successful Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival in Puget Sound, near Vancouver. Also in 1998, he was the co-creator and host of Whole Notes, a series of six television documentaries on the lives of classical composers for the arts network Bravo! TV. He has also made several highly praised recordings for the Telarc label, featuring the music of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Chopin, and Barber. Mr. Parker's many distinguished contributions to arts and culture in Canada have earned him the admiration of his fellow Canadians, reflected notably in such prestigious honours as the 1996 National Arts Centre Award, bestowed upon him by the Governor General of Canada, and his appointment in 1999 to the rank of Officer of the Order of Canada.

Angela Hewitt

Angela Hewitt Since winning the 1985 Toronto International Bach Competition in her native Canada, Angela Hewitt has shared her ravishing artistry with audiences on several continents. Her orchestral engagements have paired her with many of the world’s leading ensembles, including London's Royal Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Japan Philharmonic, and virtually all the major Canadian orchestras. Her recitals have taken her to such venues as the Salle Gaveau in Paris, Lincoln Center in New York City, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, the Wigmore and the Royal Albert halls in London, the Sydney Opera House (Australia), and the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo. During the recent Bach anniversary year, she gave several acclaimed performances of the complete 48 preludes and fugues from Bach's Well-tempered Clavier  in Canada, the United States, England, and Germany. And in December 2000, she performed – and conducted – all of Bach's keyboard concertos with the New York Chamber Symphony at Lincoln Center in New York. In 1994, the highly regarded British label Hyperion signed her to record all of the keyboard music of Bach, a project that will eventually span ten years and 14 discs. The first several releases in the series have won rave reviews and awards both in Canada and abroad, including a 1999 Juno Award for Book I of The Well-tempered Clavier and a 2001 Juno Award nomination for the Goldberg Variations. Her discography also includes acclaimed recordings of Bach for CBC Records, Deutsche Grammophon, and Hyperion, as well as warmly-received recitals of Granados (CBC Records) and Messiaen (Hyperion). A recording of all of Ravel’s piano music, also for Hyperion, is scheduled for release in December 2001. Recently appointed Officer of the Order of Canada, Ms. Hewitt is also one of only two Canadians to be named to BBC Music Magazine's Who's Who in Music, a roster of today's finest classical musicians.

Marc-André Hamelin

Marc-André Hamelin Hailed as a “supervirtuoso” by The New York Times and as “the only worthy successor to Glenn Gould” by the Montreal daily Le Devoir, Marc-André Hamelin has gone on to become one of a handful of classical musicians that other virtuosos flock to hear. He appears regularly with the leading orchestras of North America, Latin America, Europe, and the Far East and performs frequently on such venerable stages as Carnegie Hall in New York, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Munich Herkulesaal, and the Berlin Philharmonie. In recent years, he has been invited to headline several recital and chamber music series showcasing his artistry, including Virtuoso Romantics  (England, 1994), Master Recitals (England, 1995), Exploration & Celebration (England, 1999), 150 Years of Pianism with Marc-André Hamelin (Japan, 1999, 2000, 2001), and Marc-André Hamelin & Friends (England, 2000). In March 2001, he was invited to perform live before an audience of millions as part of the Grammy Awards telecast in the USA, an almost unheard-of honour for a classical musician. Mr. Hamelin's catalogue of recordings is voluminous (more than 40 discs), covering works by great masters like Liszt, Rachmaninov, Schumann, and Chopin as well as those by worthy but neglected composers like Alkan, Medtner, Ives, Bolcom, Sorabji, Godowsky, Catoire, Reger, and Rzewski. Now recording exclusively for the British label Hyperion, Hamelin's discs routinely earn raves from prestigious publications throughout the world, including Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, International Piano Quarterly, International Record Review, Fanfare, Diapason, and American Record Guide. His recordings have garnered countless accolades and prizes, including a Grammy nomination in the US (1994), two German music industry critics' awards (1997, 1998), three Juno awards in Canada (1996, 1997, 1998), and the 1998 Gold Medal from the Franz Liszt Academy of Budapest. A half dozen other recording projects are in various stages of production.

Angela Cheng

Angela Cheng Conductors, critics and audiences around the world have proclaimed Angela Cheng's technique and interpretive artistry as “magical,” “transcendental,” and ”‘dazzling.”  Following her New York debut at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in 1985 and a Gold Medal at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition the following year, she went on in 1988 to become the first ever Canadian pianist to win the Montreal International Music Competition. During her stellar career as a recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestra, Ms. Cheng has played to enthusiastic audiences on many of the world's most prestigious stages, notably in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Honolulu, London, Salzburg, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and all the major Canadian cities.  Admired by her peers as a sensitive and versatile chamber player, she has partnered such celebrated musicians as violinists Joshua Bell and Cho-liang Lin, pianist Janina Fialkowska, the Diaz Trio, and the Takacs, Vogler, Colorado, and Shanghai string quartets. She recently formed a duo with her pianist husband, Alvin Chow, and has toured with him throughout North America. A masterful interpreter of Mozart, Angela Cheng was awarded the coveted Medal of Excellence by the Salzburg Mozarteum in 1991. Her elegant keyboard artistry is on display in several distinguished recordings, including those devoted to two popular Mozart piano concertos (CBC Records), the Clara Schumann piano concerto (Koch International Classics), and solo piano works by Robert and Clara Schumann (CBC Records). Her most recent release, featuring Manuel de Falla’s ravishing Nights in the Gardens of Spain and three other piano concertos by Spanish composers, with Hans Graf and the Calgary Philharmonic (CBC Records), was nominated for a 2000 Juno Award. A recording of the piano concertos of Shostakovich with Mario Bernardi and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra is currently in production. Angela Cheng recently joined the music faculty of Oberlin College, and now resides in Cleveland with her husband and two young daughters.

André Laplante

André Laplante Canada’s André Laplante enjoys a richly deserved reputation as one of today’s great Romantic virtuosos. Born in Rimouski (Quebec) and trained in Montreal, Paris and New York, his career was launched in earnest in 1978 when he won the Silver Medal at the prestigious Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. During his more than two decades on the international concert circuit, he has appeared with such renowned ensembles as the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Czech Philharmonic. He has toured Europe with the Toronto Symphony and made an extensive swing throughout North America as guest soloist with the Royal Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Yehudi Menuhin, a tour which culminated in much-heralded appearances at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York. Other major concert and recital tours have taken him to Latin America, Eastern Europe, Australia, Malyasia, and the People’s Republic of China. In 1999, the Conseil québécois de la musique bestowed upon André Laplante two Opus Awards for outstanding live performances in both Montreal and Quebec City. His recordings of the music of Liszt, Ravel, Brahms, and Rachmaninov have earned high praise from North American and European critics as well as a 1992 Juno Award and two Félix (ADISQ) awards, the Quebec music industry's prize for best solo classical album of the year (1995, 1996). His most recent collaborations on disc include a programme of French art songs by Ravel with Canadian mezzo-soprano Catherine Robbin (CBC Records) and a recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto no. 1 with Yoav Talmi and the Orchestre symphonique de Québec for the Riche Lieu label. In addition to his impeccable credentials as a performer, André Laplante has also distinguished himself as a chamber musician and a gifted teacher. He currently serves on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and has been associated for many years, as both teacher and performer, with the Orford Arts Centre in Quebec.

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