CATERINA  GREWE

PIANIST​


“This is an artist to watch.”

Gramophone Magazine,
July 2016

NEWS

MAY 2017

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

After the live audition rounds worldwide, Caterina was recently selected as one of the 30 competitiors to take part in the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Please click here for more information.

MAY 2017

Montreal International Piano Competition

After a record number of applications, Caterina was recently selected as one of the 24 competitiors to take part in the 2017 Montreal International Piano Competition. Please click here for more information.

APRIL 18, 2017

Recital at St Mary’s Perivale, London

On 18th April 2017, Caterina will return to St Mary’s Perivale in Ealing to give a recital in the new Tuesday Afternoon Piano Recital Series. The concert starts at 2pm. Please click here for more information.

MARCH 26, 2017

Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Hildesheim

On 26th March 2017, Caterina will be giving another performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Hildesheim Symphony Orchestra in at the Hildesheim theatre. Please click here for more information.

MARCH 25, 2017

Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Goslar

On 25th March 2017, Caterina will be giving a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Hildesheim Symphony Orchestra at the beautiful Kaiserpfalz in Goslar. Please click here for more information.

More news

BIOGRAPHY

German-Japanese Pianist Caterina Grewe, born in Tokyo, has performed to great critical acclaim throughout the UK, continental Europe and Asia as a Steinway Artist. She has given recitals in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Steinway Hall London and Hamburg, Cadogan Hall, Fairfield Halls, Mozartsaal and Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Dublin National Concert Hall, Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona and the Rachmaninoff Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire amongst others. Caterina has also given recitals which were broadcasted by the BBC, the NDR in Hamburg and France Musique in Paris. She appeared alongside Lang Lang on Sir Micheal Parkinson’s TV Show Parkinson Masterclass which was aired on Sky TV in 2013. As a concerto soloist, she has appeared with the Classic Philharmonic Orchestra Hamburg, the Lüneburg Symphony Orchestra, the Oldenburg State Orchestra, the RCM Symphony Orchestra, Jove Orquestra Nacional de Catalunya and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and has collaborated with conductors Robert Stehli, Thomas Dorsch, Markus Huber, Robin O’Neill, Manel Valdivieso and Alan Buribayev.

Caterina has won numerous prizes at world-renowned piano competitions such as third prize at the Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona and the Dublin International Piano Competition where she was a finalist and prize winner in 2015. Other prizes include First Prize at the 2010 Lagny-Sur-Marne International Piano Competition in Paris, First Prize at the Norah Sande Award in Eastbourne in 2010, First Prize at the 2011 Mayenne International Piano Competition in France, and First Prize at the 2014 Rhodes International Piano Competition in Greece. During her time at the Royal College of Music, Caterina won all major prizes including First Prize (Kendal Taylor Beethoven Piano Prize) at the annual RCM Beethoven Piano Competition in 2009 and First Prize at the Concerto competition in 2012, which led to a performance of Liszt’s First Piano Concerto at the Wimbledon International Music Festival under the baton of Robin O’Neill. Caterina was also awarded the HRH Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Rose Bowl by the Prince of Wales for her outstanding achievements during her studies at the Royal College of Music. Most recently, she won Second Prize at the 8th Lyon International Piano Competition last year.

Caterina studied with Gabriele Wulff at the Hamburg Conservatory, with the late Bernard Roberts at the Chetham’s School of Music and completed her studies at the Royal College of Music in 2013 where she studied with the late Yonty Solomon, Ian Jones, Professor Vanessa Latarche and Professor Dmitri Alexeev with whom she continues to work. Caterina holds the Bachelor of Music (BMus), Master of Music (MMus) and Artist Diploma (ArtDip), all completed with distinction. Throughout her studies, she was generously supported by the Monica and Guy Black Award, AHRC scholarship, RCM Henry Wood Trust, RCM David Young Piano Prize, Philharmonia Orchestra Martin Musical Scholarship Fund and the Musicians Benevolent Fund.

Caterina is recognised for the beauty, poetry, and temperament that her playing displays and the depth and maturity in her interpretations. She has always been especially drawn to the music of German Romantic composers. Schumann is one of her favourite composers and it is only suitable that her debut CD for KNS Classical (which was released in April 2016) features one of his most treasured works (Davidsbündlertänze) and one of his rather unduly undiscovered works (Sonata No.3, “Concert sans orchestra”).

“Though there are dozens of fine accounts of Davidsbündlertänze out there, hers is one full of character. Grewe never loses sight of the work’s overarching form. This is a fine disc and an artist to watch.”

Gramophone Magazine,
July 2016
    

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REVIEWS

“Grewe used her technically completely limitless piano playing to immerse herself in Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto. She approached the concerto courageously, played it with fascinating virtuosity and overwhelming vitality. She showed the entire range of possible dynamics, enjoyed the sound of the piano, and let the melodies flow with a beautiful feeling. She emphasized the poetry without any false sentimentality.”
Landeszeitung, May 2016



"Only once in the history of the Dublin International Piano Competition, in 2003, has artistic director John O’Conor announced that the jury’s choice of winner was unanimous. There was no such announcement last week, when 19-year-old Nathalie Milstein took the top prize for her
performance of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, making her the first female to win the competition. I thought that Alexander Beyer (in Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto) and Caterina Grewe (in Tchaikovsky’s First) were more solid on the night, and found Alexander Bernstein unduly four-square in Rachmaninov’s Third. The jury placed Bernstein second, Beyer third and Grewe fourth."
Irish Times, May 2015



“Grewe’s interpretation of Liszt’s Dante Sonata was at times a brutal, at times a poetic account, well thought out and played with total commitment, She certainly portrayed List as a virtuoso, but at the same time a revolutionary figure in the Romanic movement.”
Louth International Concert Society,
October 2013

Read the full review here.
"Her virtuosity has no match but for her talent. One feels behind her playing, the passion that perspires to her finger tips - enough to make one shiver."
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Le Berry Republican, September 2013


“Her firm grasp on our heartstrings throughout results in two things. The quietest audience I have experienced in these recitals, and a wild yet entirely justified final applause.”
Leeds International Concert Season,
January 2012 



“Grewe immediately impressed her audience with the grace and sensitivity of her keyboard manner and technique. Every nuance of light and shade was depicted, and watch-like precision was combined with the fluidity of dance.”
Clwb Cerdd Dolgellau Music Club,
January 2012

Read the full review here .



“She had the audience spellbound from the get-go with her complex understanding of this work: at once passionate and light, intense and playful, ferocious and gentle. The precise, controlled exuberance of Grewe’s performance was so formidable, the audience was swept away.”
SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL,
January 2011

Read the full review here .


“Pianistic Perfection. Her hugely challenging programme required her to surmount every pianistic demand. This she did with ease"
Eastbourne, November 2010

Read the full review here .
“On the way to stardom is the young pianist Caterina Grewe. She brought everything out of the instrument, with great gesture, courageousness and sense of colour.”
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Landeszeitung, January 2017


“One of the most compelling Schumann recordings of recent years. Grewe possess the key to Schumann’s soul.”   
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Hifi and Records, October 2016
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Read the full review here.


"The Japanese-German pianist Caterina Grewe presents two deeply impressive Schumann interpretations on the Spanish label KNS Classical: Both the "Davidsbündlertänze" and the Third Sonata benefit from a poetic approach. Grewe's interpretations are clearly structured and powerful: A fabulous Schumann interpreter!"
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Wiener Zeitung, August 2016



“As well as stamina, her playing also has the requisite litheness and elegance that Schumann demands. Though there are dozens of fine accounts of Davidsbündlertänze out there, here is one full of character This is a fine disc and an artist to watch.”
Gramophone Magazine, July 2016
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Read the full review here .


“The mesmerized audience looked on as she completed the 18 pieces, bowing into the piano, striking the final cord and took a moment to break into a deafening ovation.”
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The Culture Trip, June 2016
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Read the full review here .
Click below to listen to a selection of Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze, Op.6:
Click below to listen to an excerpt of Schumann's Sonata No.3, Op.14:
Scriabin Etude, Op.8 No.5
Scriabin Etude, Op.8 No.5
Scriabin Etude, Op.8 No.12
Debussy Etude - Pour les Octaves
Chopin Etude, Op.10 No.11
Haydn Sonata in D major, Hob.XVI:33

RECORDINGS 

Buy now
Schumann Album (KNS Classical):
Sonata No.3 in f minor, Op.14
Davidsbündlertänze, Op.6

£12 (including postage)

INTERVIEWS

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SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL
MusicWeb International's Worldwide Concert and Opera Reviews

Something that just happens:
Pianist Caterina Grewe in conversation with Thomas Thornton

We meet in a bar on the 20th floor of a hotel. Two days ago she gave her latest successful recital at Hamburg’s major concert hall (see the review of the concert on 21 January 2011). The walls form a glass front that offers a spectacular view of the harbor area. Hamburg is where Caterina Grewe grew up. Born in Tokyo in 1988 to a Japanese mother and a German father, when she was three her family – which also includes an older sister – moved here, where she lived until she went to England in 2004 to study at Chetham’s School of Music.

You started taking piano lessons at age four. Does this mean you were destined to become a pianist even as a toddler?
Not at all. It is something that just happened. There was a piano at home, my sister played, and I simply started learning the instrument as well. But I did other things, too, that were no less important to me at the time. I played the violin, I did ballet dancing, and so on.

So it was not parental pressure that turned you toward music.
Oh no. Actually, I’m the first musician in my family. My mother was a ballet dancer, and my father greatly appreciates music. So I grew up in an encouraging environment where my natural inclinations and interests could develop, but that’s all.

How important is your background to you? Do you ever return to Japan, and do you speak some Japanese?
It’s very important to me. I go back every year, and I speak the language fluently.

Are you more torn between the two cultures or more at home in both of them?
I’m more at home in them.

And in what respect would you consider yourself Japanese?
Some of the elements of Japanese culture that have molded me are its basic politeness, discipline, and openness to foreign cultural influences.

Ms. Grewe’s development as a musician and as a human being seems to be more marked by openness than dogged determination, and by a penchant for integrating her experiences into the way she responds to the world musically. Even the first time I head her play, about three and a half years ago, when she performed Beethoven’s op. 109 and Liszt, among other things, it struck me that she always seemed to be one with the music. Nothing sounded forced; it was as if the music flowed through her as part of a natural cycle. Ironically, it was this natural quality that, to me, gave the Transcendental Etudes their transcendental quality.

So when did you decide to become a pianist?
Not until I was 16.

And that is why you went to England, to Chetham.
No, I went to England to learn English. At the same time I didn’t want to give up my music, and therefore I applied to a music school. My decision came during my time at Chetham’s.

That’s fairly late, compared to many of your colleagues.
Yes, but it means that it was a conscious decision.

Have you ever questioned it since?
No.

But surely there must have been moments of crisis?
Of course there are crises. When these happen, I either try to distract myself (take a break from practice) or, to the contrary, try to face the problems and consult my teacher or friends, who are very much part of the music world.

In 2006, Ms. Grewe received a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Music in London. She has been there ever since and now studies with Dmitri Alexeev and Vanessa Latarche.

How do you approach new pieces? Do you read the notes first?
I learn them while sitting at the piano and practice them in sections while trying to keep the overall structure in mind. Curiously, it is often the slow movements that take the longest to learn, because they have to mature in you.

How much do you practice?
I practiced very little when I was young, so now I have to make up for it. I am very disciplined and usually practice four, but up to seven hours a day.

This is astonishing, as her career reads like anything but a “normal childhood.” Ms. Grewe has participated in numerous competitions since 1996, when she was eight. She won many of them. In 2002 she received the first prize at the Nissin International Music Competition in Tokyo, and from 2003 to 2005 she was a finalist and winner of the “Jugend musiziert” (Young Musicians) Competition in Germany. These accomplishments were followed by awards in Italy and Paris, among others. How was that possible with so little practicing?
I have always been ambitious, so before competitions I did practice, but it certainly wasn’t my everyday routine. And it was never the sole purpose of my life.

Competitions are often criticized. What is your opinion of them?
Preparing for them is extremely important. They are wonderful opportunities for giving concerts and being heard by others. I regard them as a sort of safeguard and find competitions much more important than getting a record contract early on, because they give you a chance to grow.

What part does music play in your nonprofessional life?
I listen to a great deal of music, and never just in the background: I must be able to completely focus on it. Therefore I also go to many concerts – including orchestra music and a lot of opera.

Are there composers you love but whom you do not necessarily feel close to as a pianist?
Yes. I very much like listening to Chopin, for instance, and Mozart, whose operas are among my favorites, but I don’t play them very much.

And in what era do you feel most at home?
Among the German Romantics. I feel also very close to Russian music.

Which pianists, living or dead, do you admire the most?
Some of them are: my teacher Dmitri Alexeev, Radu Lupu, Argerich, Fou T’Song, Fischer, Schnabel (for Beethoven), Hofmann, Rachmaninoff (even though I wouldn’t try to emulate him), Cortot, etc.

No surprises here, even though is obvious that the list could continue for quite a while. The way her body moves when she plays did indeed remind me of the film footage we have of the great Josef Hofmann, and there also seems to be a great affinity between Edwin Fischer’s deeply musical, spontaneous and perfectly non-artificial way of playing and her own. What is it that she is looking for in a musician?
The recording industry has produced a kind of perfectionism that entails the danger of losing the music. What I am looking for is authenticity. When I go to a concert, I don’t have to notice it all the way through. All it takes is one true moment.

And if you could spend an evening with a dead musician, a composer or a pianist, who would it be?
That’s very difficult. – Probably Fischer because of his attitude towards music.

How do you feel about living the life of a concert pianist? Is the solitude that goes with it something you’re afraid of and simply have to put up with, or does it fit your personality?
It hasn’t been like that yet. So far my trips haven’t been extended. Actually, it is the most beautiful kind of “work” I can imagine, because you can communicate with the audience. Each audience is different. You can feel it on stage, and the way you play changes, too: performing the same program at several recitals in a row, you discover new sides to the music. Sometimes it then happens that I get the sense that the piano has become part of me, that it is not myself who is playing but that the music just happens. Nothing is more beautiful than that. So I find that life exciting.

What a beautifully calm quality excitement can be. . . . I take one last look out the windows, at all the lights. It is the harbor that gave Hamburg its nickname of “Germany’s Gate to the World.” The gate opens both ways, letting the world in and allowing us to go out there to explore its possibilities and see what happens. Fortunately, the gate is wide open and full of promise.

Thomas K Thornton
SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL, January 2011
   
"MEET THE ARTIST" - Interview on www.crosseyedpianist.com, May 2016


Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career?
There are no musicians in my family but we always had a piano at home (as my mother played as a hobby pianist) and my older sister was also having lessons, so I started playing as soon as I could climb onto a piano stool. I didn’t decide to become a professional pianist until quite late – I was 16 when I was in professional environment for the first time at Chetham’s School of Music and knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.


Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
My most important influence in my musical life was definitely my time at the Royal College of Music. I really feel that I met many of the most important people in my life today there and that I found myself as musician, pianist and person in the seven years I studied at the RCM for.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
I think the greatest on-going challenge for a musician is to be able to accept that each piece of music you choose to play is a life-long work. You will never be entirely content with what you have achieved at the time or when you come off stage. You always strive for something better – but in a way, it’s also the beauty of music making.

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
My debut album for the label KNS Classical is about to be released which is very exciting. I recorded a disc with two major works by Schumann (Sonata No.3 and Davidsbündlertänze) which are both very special to me.

Which particular works do you think you play best?
I can identify myself most with the German Romantic Repertoire. I always felt that the music by Brahms and Schumann were very innate in me. But I also enjoy playing many works by Liszt and much of the Russian repertoire. I have been able to explore much of this with my professor and long-term mentor Dmitri Alexeev.

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I tend to have long-term projects for the next few years and I usually combine these with my current interests. I always think that coherence or an inner connection of works in a recital programme is very important.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
I don’t necessarily have one favourite concert hall but one of my favourite is definitely the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg. It’s a beautiful hall with a wonderful acoustic and it brings back great memories as Hamburg is the city where I spent most of my childhood.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
Currently works by Schumann and Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. I always love working on every programme I choose for each season. For listening it’s perhaps slightly different - I tend not to listen to that much piano music. I mainly listen to orchestral and chamber music and operas. I do occasionally enjoy listening to Jazz as well.

Who are your favourite musicians?
Many great artists from the past have given me much inspiration over the years, it’s impossible to list all of them but there are a few that I would single out: Furtwängler, Edwin Fischer, Sofronitsky, Kempff to name a few.

What is your most memorable concert experience?
The most memorable concert I have experienced was a piano recital by Radu Lupu in Brighton where his rendition of Schubert’s Sonata D959 was beyond description…

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
First and foremost, to choose music as a career for the right reasons – one must love music to the extend that you could not live without it. Being creative, imaginative and respectful towards the music you are playing.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
Having the freedom to combine concertizing, teaching and family life.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To lead a harmonious life where I can enjoy music and family life to the full.

    

CONTACT



For any enquiries, please fill in the contact form or kindly send an e-mail to:
caterina.grewe@gmail.com
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