Enrique Graf, Grandes Musicos Uruguayos.

Biography

Internationally acclaimed pianist Enrique Graf is one the world’s premiere virtuosos equally sought after as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. He has been variously described as an “assured and technically complete pianist” (The Washington Post) and “one of the best interpreters of his generation” (El Pais), who plays with “fiery virtuosity” (The New York Times). “If you ever have the opportunity to hear Graf, do yourself a favor and go” (Newark Star Ledger).

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Graf began studying piano at the age of four with his mother. After winning all of the national competitions in Uruguay, he was awarded a full scholarship from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University and the Organization of American States to study with Leon Fleisher.

Graf won First Prize in the William Kapell International Piano Competition, the National Ensemble Piano Competition and the East and West International Competition in New York.

He has given recitals all over the world and has been featured as soloist with such orchestras as the Baltimore, Indianapolis, New Jersey, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Florida, West Virginia, Illinois, Flagstaff, Macon, Augusta, Greenville, Charleston, New York City and Jupiter Symphonies, the Symphony of the Americas, the National Chamber Orchestra, the Illinois Chamber Orchestra, the American Chamber Orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Sinfonia da Camara, South Carolina Philharmonic, Florida Virtuosi Orchestra, the Puerto Rico Symphony, the Montevideo Philharmonic, the Lviv Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Janacek Philharmonic in the Czech Republic, and the national orchestras of Ukraine, Chile, Uruguay, Peru and Colombia.

Additionally, he has appeared at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Krannert Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Cultural Center of Manila, Teatro Opera in Buenos Aires, Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Florida, South Bay Center for the Arts in Los Angeles, Chautauqua Festival, Young Keyboard Artists International Festival in Ann Arbor, San Miguel de Allende Chamber Music Festival in Mexico, University of Maryland and University of Houston International Piano Festivals, Spoleto International Piano Festival and Music Fest Perugia in Italy, Festival de Vale Veneto in Brazil, “Contrasts” Festival in Lviv and Kiev Music Fest in the Ukraine.

As a chamber musician he has toured with Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Ives Quartet, the Baltimore Wind Ensemble, the American Chamber Players, the Prague Wind Quintet and the Apollo String Quartet.

He has performed concertos by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, all five by Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Poulenc, Gershwin, De Falla, Turina, Shostakovich, and Lee Hoiby. He gave the world premiere of Florencia Di Concilio’s Piano Concerto, Edward Hart’s Tidal Concerto and performed and recorded for Naxos a concerto by Leonardo Balada.

An all Poulenc CD with the Charleston Symphony was a pick of the month by the Sunday London Times and was awarded five stars in Classic CD. His debut recording Enrique Graf plays Bach was called “An end to the discussion of whether or not Bach should be played on the piano” by Paul Hume of the Washington Post. Other recordings of Mozart Sonatas, Mendelssohn and Bach Variations, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, the Liszt Sonata, the Grieg Concerto, Edward Hart’s Tidal Concerto, Gershwin’s Concerto in F and two Beethoven Concertos have received such praise as “ideal performances” (Fanfare). His latest CDs include a “live” recital with works by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Debussy and Tosar and one with violinist Cecilia Penades with works by Piazzolla, Villa Lobos, Guastavino, Ponce, Fabini and Ginastera.

Graf taught for fourteen years at the Peabody Preparatory, became chairman of the piano department and received the Director’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. He created an outstanding piano program at the College of Charleston where he was awarded the Distinguished Research Award and named University Artist in Residence. Graf was also Artist Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University and taught at the Charleston Academy of Music.

His students have won many national and international competitions. He has been a member of the jury in competitions all over the world and has given master classes at Yale University, Oberlin and Eastman Conservatories, the Shanghai and Kiev Conservatories, the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, Korea’s National University, Federal University of Sao Paolo and many other schools throughout the world.

Graf was Founder and Artistic Director of the International Piano Series in Charleston and the Young Artist Series in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and is co-founder of Music Fest Perugia in Italy.He has been awarded a Fellowship from the Aspen Institute Executive Seminar, the Music Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission, Career Grants from the Charles Del Mar and Astral Foundations, and the Immigrant Achievement Award from the American Immigration Law Foundation.

Photo credit: © Steve J. Sherman