The Warner Classics debut album of Sophie Pacini

Making her Warner Classics debut with this album of Beethoven and Liszt is pianist Sophie Pacini – 24-years old, German-Italian, a protegée of the great Martha Argerich and Newcomer of the Year at Germany’s high-profile Echo-Klassik Awards in 2015.

Sophie Pacini is an artist with strong ideas and an acute sense of responsibility. As she said in an interview with the Rheinische Post: “I put the music, and my act of engagement with it, in the front line. The process is constantly about achieving the highest quality. By nature, I am a perfectionist, but I am also someone who tends to worry a lot.” When asked if the Echo-Klassik Prize changed things for her she said: “It doesn’t change anything about the way I play, but it gives me the feeling of sharing my joy in music-making with a still wider audience. It is a matter of sharing music and my conception of music, of giving people something to think about. Music is a vocation, not a career.“

Born in Munich in 1991, Sophie Pacini has an Italian father and a German mother. When she started learning the piano at the age of six, her father, an academic, also began to take lessons. Just two years later she was way ahead of him. At the age of 10 she started attending the Salzburg Mozarteum, going on to join its newly-founded Institute for Highly Gifted Students and finally to graduate with honours in 2011.

As soloist, she has appeared with orchestras such as the Camerata Salzburg, Dresdner Philharmonie, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Wiener Kammerorchester, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Her festival dates have included the Lugano Festival (at Martha Argerich’s invitation), Lucerne Piano Festival, Klavier-Festival Ruhr (replacing the indisposed Mitsuko Uchida in April 2016), Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele, Mozartfest Würzburg, Piano aux Jacobins, Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus with Gidon Kremer and the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Her 2015/16 season includes recitals at the Wiener Konzerthaus and the Berlin Konzerthaus, Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No.5 with the Münchner Symphoniker and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 in Ludwigshafen with the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sophie Pacini first met Martha Argerich in 2010, when she visited the great Argentinian pianist after a concert, and went on to audition for her in Italy. “Everything changed for me,” says Pacini. From that day on Martha Argerich became my musical mentor, supported me generously and, above all, a close personal friendship started to grow between us.” Gramophone magazine has written that: "Sophie Pacini is a protégée of Martha Argerich and it shows…There’s a similar air of in-the-moment rhapsodising and no fear of giving the performance a boot up the backside.” Pacini herself has said that when she plays, for instance, Chopin she wants the music to be “very edgy, very real, not painted in sugary pastel colours – that is not how I see Chopin.”

Two of the most imposing and influential composers in the history of the piano have been chosen for this debut CD; Beethoven’s ‘Waldstein’ Sonata op. 53 is coupled with two of Liszt’s Consolations, his paraphrase of Wagner’s overture to Tannhäuser, the Réminiscences de Don Juan (inspired by Mozart’s Don Giovanni), the Liebestraum No. 3 and the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6.