Sakari Hildén from Hämeen Sanomat reviewed Martin’s recital earlier in the week, writing:
“Malmgren is a young but experienced pianist. His pianistic technique enables him to tackle even the most challenging works with ease. His program included music by Sibelius and Nielsen, two composers often compared with one another, as well as a number of lesser-known works. (…) Malmgren started with the Sibelius Sonatinas. In these works the casual sound of the Schimmel grand piano worked well, and the pianist captured their unpretentious, easy-going style.
Nielsen’s, in it’s originally Lucifer-named misunderstood and very rarely played Suite op.45 is in it’s exciting eccentricity far away from Sibelius’s clearly defined feelings. Malmgren highlighted strongly the characters of the movements and captured for example the fourth movement’s innocence aptly.(…)
The main work of the evening was Ravel’s mystical Gaspard de la nuit. Here the resistance of the instrument became evident; to achieve the richness of the sound, a better instrument would have been needed. Malmgren nevertheless managed to bring forth a respectable amount of colours from this one the most challenging pieces of the standard repertoire. (…)”
Full review in Finnish here
Martin has been invited to perform Mozart’s 23rd piano concerto at the Alion Baltic International Music Festival in Tallinn on July 14th in Noblessner Hall. The concert is shared with Oxana Yablonskaya, who performs Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto.
In June, Martin takes part in “Nordiska Nätter” at Hanaholmen, an event full of seminars, movies and music. The concert focuses on mostly Scandinavian piano music, including Nielsen and Sibelius, as well as the much lesser-known female composer pioneers Elfrida Andrée, Laura Netzel, Helena Munktell and Helvi Leiviskä. More information here
Great news: Key Discoveries has, once again, received very generous support from the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland! Thank you!
The world premiere of José Luis Gómez Aleixandre’s “Dreaming of a spaceless time” can be heard here
Martin is performing a violin recital program with Lea Tuuri, including sonatas by Ravel and Debussy, Szymanowski’s “Myths” and music by Erik Satie:
November 6th: Kerava Congregation Center
November 9th: Helsinki Music Center
November 12: Finnish National Opera
The first CD from the Sydney International Piano Competition, ‘Encore!’, has been released, including Martin performing music by Magnus Lindberg. More information here
Martin has received the Jury Discretionary Award of the Sydney International Piano Competition.
From the Pianofortephilia blog:
“It is funny how the most interesting pianists get lumped together in a single session. MARTIN MALMGREN, who has shoulder length frizzy hair, is probably the most wayward and bizarre (in a good way) of the 32. He began his 20 minutes with Medtner’s Prologue (from Stimmungsbilder Op.1), a perfect “once upon a time” set to music if any. Its E flat major entreaties soon gave way to Liszt’s late and bleak Nuages Gris (Grey Clouds) in G minor, which pointed to the increasing level of dissonance as the music progressed. The broken final chord, left hanging in the air served as a prelude to Bartok’s Three Etudes (Op.18), which was a summation of the Hungarian’s idiom – rhythmic violence, impressionist harmonies and the exploration of variegated scents, textures and touches, all served to perfection with Malmgren’s faultless pianism.
His programme closed with Australian Brett Dean’s Equality, but how many people in the audience knew this was a work for a vocalising pianist? Perhaps for the first time in this competition, one got to hear a pianist’s voice as well, when he interjected “All men are bastards!” There were guffaws and dropped jaws a plenty in this feminist work, to which he added “We will fight for equality…” while pounding away on the keys, and wait for the punchline, “… until all women are bastards too!” This competition has sought for pianists of individualism and creativity, and I think they got more than they bargained for. Bravo!”
Martin has been selected for the Sydney International Piano Competition in Australia in July!
The piano concerto Martin has commissioned from the Mexican composer Itzam Zapata will be performed in a workshop with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in November this year!
Martin has been invited to participate in two festivals in Italy, taking part in a György Ligeti marathon concert at the Apertamente festival in Verona in May, and performing Études by Ivan Fedele, Maurice Ohana and Ligeti at the extraordinary Mantova Chamber Music Festival in June. See a video from last year’s festival here.
Martin was video-interviewed by Axel Brink from Hufvudstadsbladet earlier this week regarding the “Key Discoveries” recital series. Watch here. In Swedish.
The opening recital of the “Key Discoveries” piano recital series last week was a great success! For more information, click here
Hannu Hirvelä from Kaleva reviews the performance of Rachmaninoff’s 1st concerto with Oulu Sinfonia: “Malmgren’s interpretation was masterly and I particularly liked the second and third movement’s shimmeringly fresh expression. The long piano solo at the beginning of the Andante was absolutely delicious, played more in the vein of a jazz ballad than of Slavic melancholy.”
The crowdfunding campaign for the piano recital series “Key discoveries” has already gotten a good deal of attention and numerous generous contributions. The program will be announced later in October. The crowdfunding campaign is active for 14 more days - do spread the word and/or contribute!
Hufvudstadsbladet reviews the “unusual piano-orgie” at the PianoEspoo festival with six piano soloists performing without conductor with Tapiola Sinfonietta. Martin performed Schumann’s unjustly neglected Konzertstück op. 92. Read the review here
The 2nd International Pasimusic Festival in Kuopio has come to an end. Martin performed in several concerts, including a solo recital with the complete études by Claude Debussy, as well as music by Bartok, Ligeti, Zapata, Lyytikäinen, Szymanowski and Vilagi. The Finnish broadcasting company YLE filmed parts of the festival and will broadcast a program about it in early 2016.
Martin has been chosen among the winners of the Schlern International Music Festival Competition!
Review from Martin’s debut concert with Sinfonia Lahti:
“A winner of numerous competitions and accolades, Martin Malmgren appeared as soloist in Prokofiev’s 5th piano concerto. While the program leaflet described the concerto as cold and lacking memorable melodies, the melodies are actually there in abundance: they just are so quick and hearty, that attention is required from the listener in order to receive all information. The concerto speaks of the technical skill of its performers: if one can master this level of complication, neither the soloist nor the orchestra need to prove themselves any further.”
Martin has just finished a recording session of Sibelius Three sonatinas, op. 67 for YLE, the Finnish broadcasting company. The recordings will be aired in 2015.
Martin has been invited as Main Guest Artist of Pasimusic Festival 2015!
“The big offer of the evening was the Swedish pianist Martin Malmgren’s interpretation of Prokofiev’s 5th piano concerto, a work he won the Ilmari Hannikainen competition with in Jyväskylä this spring. And it should be said that Malmgren’s interpretation feels thought-out and empathetic….In the Toccata movement Malmgren and the gang emphasized the boldness and in the Larghetto-movement, the sublime qualities became particularly prominent. One would certainly like to hear Martin Malmgren in all Prokofiev’s piano concerti.” - Review of Martin’s performance with SE Ensemble in Hufvudstadsbladet. Full review here (in Swedish)
A review of Martin’s solo recital in Säfstaholm castle was recently published:
“Nine composers and some twenty piano pieces was what the pianist Martin Malmgren conjured up from his piano-hat on his recital. A few well-known works got company with many less known and relatively modern works…. Malmgren truly challenges the audience with his wonderfully rich playing! One highlight of the recital were the two Skazkas by Medtner. Here Malmgren showed his lions paw, which impressed greatly….Martins touch, formidable technique and subtle feeling for diversity in nuances gives us a new big name among pianists.” Full review here (in Swedish)
More concerto appearances are coming up in the next concert season:
February 17-18th 2015: Prokofiev 5th Piano Concerto with Lahti Sinfonia conducted by Dalia Stasevska.
Some dates for concerts in the summertime have been added. More info here
The videos of the finals of the Ilmari Hannikainen Piano Competition are now available on Youtube.
The Swedish Cultural Foundation has given funds for starting a new recital series in Helsinki! The idea of the series came to life after discussions between Martin and the Swedish composer Karl-Nicklas Gustavsson, and will focus on unjustly neglected piano music, but will also feature lied and chamber music. More info to come soon!
A radio interview (in English) with Martin for Radio Classic in Tampere was broadcasted today. It can be found in the archives here.
Martin has been selected as one of six “Young summer artists” (‘Kesän nuoret taiteilijat’) by the Sibelius Academy, and is as such given the opportunity to give a concert at The Helsinki Music Centre (Musiikkitalo) in the summertime. The concert will take place on August 14th, and apart from solo piano works by Couperin, Chabrier and Debussy, the concert will include lied, chamber music and Hindemith’s rarely performed Kammermusik (‘Piano concerto’) op 36 nr 1.
Martin received first prize at the Ilmari Hannikainen Piano Competition!
A review of some semifinal performances has appeared in Keskisuomalainen (in Finnish). Read it here.
Martin was selected as one of six finalists in the Ilmari Hannikainen piano competition. The finals will be taking place on March 5-6, with the Jyväskylä Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ville Matvejeff. The whole finals will be streamed live on internet. Martin is performing Prokofiev’s 5th piano concerto on the second day of the finals.
Martin just finished a very well-received tour performing Ravel Left hand concerto with The University of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Petri Sakari. Concerts were given in Gothenburg, Larvik and Bergen (Grieghallen). An encore from the last concert can be heard here.
Martin has been asked to perform parts of Sebastian Dumitrescu’s Piano Concerto with The Finnish Radio Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu in a workshop for composition students of the Sibelius Academy. The workshop takes place on March 3rd.
With the motivation “with remarkable symbiosis between emotion and intelligence, and with poetic touch and virtuosity, he puts the music first”, Martin won the Ljunggren competition in Gothenburg. The competition, the largest of its kind in Sweden, is held every year and is open to all instrumentalists and singers. More information (in Swedish) can be found here.