|Kitt - Labra-Makk Cello Piano Duo, Austria, 2013|
Tour Dates: 8 - 20 May, 2013
Florian Kitt very much proved his fame as one of the best interprets of the contemporary cello repertoire. Very precise and secure the playing of his partner Aima Labra-Makk giving an impression of highly virtuoso and energetic vitality.
9 May, Meng Minwei Concert Hall, Tsinghua University, 010-62788104 / 62782334
Florian Kitt: "after 23 years of very successful duo engagements with pianist Rita Medjimorec (including four China tours with Wu Promotion), I started to collaborate with another pianist called Aima Labra-Makk since 2010, due to Medjimorec's health condition."
Aima Labra-Makk is a wonderful pianist who was born in Philippines. She had been living in Austria for a long time. Aima Labra-Makk has become an excellent solo pianist as well as chamber musician in Europe. She also worked in the University of Graz and I really appreciate that she could collaborate with me. During the last two seasons, in addition to the numerous engagements in Austria, we have been very busy touring with concerts in England, Scotland, Sweden (for three times), Turkey and Ukraine.
Our repertoire ranges from the Viennese Classics to modern works - it is still a great passion to stimulate composers that we like to write new works for our instruments and there have been quite a number of world premieres over the last years.
Austrian cellist completed his studies with Gaspar Cassadó in Cologne and André Navarra in Detmold after graduating from the Vienna Musikakademie as a pupil of Frieda Litschauer. Following his debut at the Konzerthaus in Vienna in a recital together with Rudolf Buchbinder in 1964, he has appeared as soloist with many leading orchestras and conductors, given cello recitals at important festivals and made numerous recordings. These engagements took him all over the world - apart from his home country Austria most frequently to the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, the United States and Asia.
His passion into modern music had been approved by many recent successful performances - György Ligeti's cello-concerto at the Royal Festival Hall in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Diego Masson brought raving acclaim by press and the public, Luciano Berio's concerto "Ritorno degli Snovidenia" in Rome, Nigel Osborne's concertos, both dedicated to Florian Kitt were successful all over the world.
Florian Kitt is also a very devoted teacher; apart from various master-classes he holds a professorship at the University for Music in Graz since 1970. In addition to his extensive repertoire of established classic and romantic works, his especial feeling for contemporary music has inspired many major composers to dedicate works to him.
Since mid eighties, a strong part of his activities lies in his cello & piano duo. Recently, he performs together with pianist Aima Labra-Makk.
Aima Maria Labra-Makk leads a solid career as a solo concert pianist, chamber musician and educator. Her performances and magnetic presence have earned her world-wide acclaim. European critics describe her playing as "peerless marked by high musical intelligence, colorful expression with physical robustness (to sound) with elegant ease of touch but never for the sake of display." Even the famous pianist and pedagogue Tatjana Nikolaeva highly praised the expressiveness and depth of her playing.
Born in 1965, in Cebu City of the Philippines, Ms. Labra-Makk received her first piano tutorials at the age of three from her mother who was also a pianist. When she was at the age of teenager, she seriously committed herself to piano. After balancing rigorous and intensive piano lessons and high school academics, she proceeded to the University of the Philippines where she studied under Perla Suaco and earned a Bachelor Degree of Music.
In 1985, she won the top prize of the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), piano category C. Overwhelmed and impressed by her technique and her performance, the judges decided not to award a second prize. The top prize in that category has never been won since then.
In 1986, she was granted acceptance at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria, where she studied under her mentor Eugen Jakab. It was at this same period as well when she was granted numerous and generous scholarships such as the Bosendorf Scholarship, Martha Debelli Stipend, Alban Berg Foundation Scholarship.
In 1989, after winning a main prize at the First International Competition Franz Schubert and 20th Century Music in Graz, she started getting invitations to do recitals, radio and television recordings, and concert tours.
In 1990, with a unanimous board decision, Ms. Labra-Makk was awarded the highest honors in Concert Diplomat from the University of Music. She later received a recognition award from the Ministry of Education of Austria (Wurdigungspreis des Bundesministers fur Wissenschaft and Forschung).
She performs in key cities and venues in Europe such as the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Haydnsaal in Eisenstadt, Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, Stefaniensaal in Graz, among many others. She has also performed in international festivals such as the Vienna International Festival (Wiener Festwochen), 1st Women´s Festival in Eisenstadt (Frauenfestival), Liszt-Beethoven Symphonies for Piano Series in Wiesbaden, Germany.
In 1999, she was the featured pianist at the Easter Concert of the Liszt Society in Raiding, Austria (Liszt´s birthplace). Since then, she performs regularly at the Liszt Center in Raiding.
In November 2001, she successfully made her U.S debut in Washington, D.C to a rousing applause and standing ovation. Since then, she has played in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tennessee, and Dallas.
As an educator, Ms. Labra-Makk currently holds a teaching position at the University of Music in Graz, Austria. Here, she trains extremely gifted children in music from different parts of the world selected through rigorous auditions. All of her students have won national and international competitions. She also conducts Master Classes in different music institutions all over the world.
Labra-Makk is the only pianist to record the complete piano works of the Austrian composer Jenö Takács on four CDs. She has also done the world premiere recording of Takács´ piano concerto with the Savaria Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Tamas Pál. The CD was released under Hungaroton, Hungary´s leading classical recording company.
Besides the standard concert repertoire, Labra-Makk explores new challenges through performances collaborating with other art forms such as dance, theatre, spoken word, visual arts and literature. One of the projects was the unique version of Bartok´s "Wooden Prince" for pantomime and solo piano. This was performed in November 2004 with the famous Austrian pantomime artist Walter Samuel Bartussek at the Brahmssaal of the Musikverein in Vienna.
In 2005, Labra-Makk joined the well-respected Hungarian violinist Ernö Sebestyén and Hungarian cellist Tamás Mérei who had won many awards to form the Esterházy trio. The trio is officially endorsed by Prince Antál Esterházy, the present head of the noble Austro-Hungarian family who had been patrons of Joseph Haydn and Franz Liszt. She is also the pianist of "Trio Douze" (Gottfried Boisits, oboe and Kurt Pfleger, bassoon) and Tonstrom (Peter Forcher, clarinet and her husband, Nikolaus Makk, cello).
Since 2001, she has been coming home regularly to the Philippines to perform and to hold master-classes in different music colleges and institutions. Due to her unwavering dedication to the advancement of classical music in the Philippines, she was awarded the "Garbo sa Sugbu" (Pride of Cebu by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu) 2006.
"Florian Kitt very much proved his fame as one of the best interprets of the contemporary cello repertoire. Very precise and secure the playing of his partner Aima Labra-Makk giving an impression of highly virtuoso and energetic vitality."
"Wonderfully cleans sounds coming from the piano, magic the sound of the cello."
- Wiener Neustadt
"The performance was masterly, a blazingly impressive exhibition of really big playing, one which obviously relished the interpretative and technical challenge of the music."
- The Daily Telegraph, London
"Florian Kitt is one of the best exponents of the contemporary cello repertoire."
- The Strad