“Her piano playing bears the mark of three great pianists who formed her and of whom she managed to create an improbable synthesis: The panache of Martha Argerich, the musicality of Leon Fleisher and the impeccable finish of Krystian Zimerman.” Diapason Magazine.
Latest News: Release of Bach Partita’s CD “Me-Su-Bach” with Orchid Classics. ClassicsToday in the UK grades it 10/10 artistic and technique. Classica Magazine in France awards it 4 stars, saying this CD “places her in the highest reaches of the discography of this music.”
Edna Stern began her studies in Israel with Viktor Derevianko, a student of Heinrich Neuhaus. She continued studying with Krystian Zimerman at the Basel Hochschule and with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Institute and at the Lake Como International Piano Foundation. Her repertoire ranges from Bach to Berio. Her recordings are highly praised by critics, receiving such awards as Diapason d’Or, Diapason Découverte, Arte Best CD, Gramophone upcoming artist, and selection by France’s leading newspaper Le Monde.
Edna Stern has performed at prestigious halls and festivals such as the Olympia in Paris, La Roque d’Anthéron Festival, Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Paris’ Châtelet Theater, Moscow’s Music-House, Petronas in Kuala Lumpur and Musashino Hall in Tokyo; performing in solo recitals and with orchestras, with conductors such as Claus Peter Flor and Andris Nelsons. Stern gives Masterclasses all over the world, in such places as the CNSM of Paris, Rutgers University and the Tel-Aviv Zubin Mehta School of Music.
She is a professor at the Royal College of London since 2009 and her musical activity includes working with great artists in other art fields, like film director Amos Gitai, as well as Agnès Letestu, first ballerina from the Paris Opera.
• Musical profile
Stern built a reputation as an interpreter who does not shrink from taking strong and unconventional stands and at the same time respectful of the historical tradition of interpretation and the heritage of her own teachers. She is especially known for her Bach interpretation which received awards and critical praise throughout Europe (Gold Diapason, Arte Best CD):
“With Edna Stern we avoid the clichés. Her playing is neither romantic nor baroque. It takes on perfectly the serious tone of the composer without falling into coldness or rigidity. It is at the same time an instrumental revelation and a clear sign that music is indeed alive.” Mathias Heizmann, Arte, 2009.
While studying with Krystian Zimerman at the Basel Hochschule in Switzerland, she also took advantage of the famous Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and its collection of authentic instruments, developing thus another facet to her musical approach. It led to several years’ collaboration with one of the leading baroque violinist in Europe, Amandine Beyer, and a joint recording of C.P.E. Bach’s violin sonatas, which also earned them five Diapason stars. For the 2010 celebration of the birth of Chopin, Paris’ museum of instruments and concert hall, the Cité de la Musique, chose her as the pianist to record for their series on the museum’s original Pleyel from 1842. This recording was released with Naïve and got enthusiastic reviews:
“The subtle chemistry of a successful Chopin. This CD has eclipsed all that we’ve heard so far in the commemoration of the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth. ” Katchi Sinna, Muzikzen, 2010.
Her interest in different instruments and sounds set her apart as a Mozart player and her recording of Mozart’s Concerti was chosen in France by the newspaper Le Monde as one of the 10 Top CDs of 2010 and was as well praised in the German and English critique:
“It is fascinating to hear Edna Stern’s perfect, mature and effortless technique, which she does not however use for the purpose of bragging, but puts discreetly at the service of music. She succeeds to the extent of completely disappearing behind the music[…] developing a whole unexpected wealth of nuances and a variety of tone colors[…] A spontaneous joyful playing with beauty and respect: my Mozart-Ideal through this CD has become much closer.” Attila Csampai, Bayrische Rundfunk, 2010.
“This is an artist with a delicate touch who likes to shape every detail of phrasing and articulation as if polishing a tiny gem.” Lindsay Kemp, Gramophone Magazine, 2011.
Edna Stern published ten music CDs spanning the Baroque (three J.S. Bach albums, C.P.E. Bach), Classical (Mozart Concerti, Piano of Enlightenment, two Beethoven Sonatas albums) and Romantic (Schumann, two Chopin albums) periods. Upcoming CDs to be released are a CD dedicated to Hélène de Montgeroult (to be released February 2017) and a third volume of Beethoven Sonatas.
• Communication with the public and making sense of the musical scores
Stern enjoys communication with the public, other artists and diverse art forms.
She often collaborates with the Collège de France and the Lugano University, playing concerts followed by discussions. An example of her aspiration to bring together different art forms and share her reflections with the public was a recital given at the Roque d’Anthéron Music Festival and a discussion with an art historian on the relation between the painter Klee and Bach’s Music. She further wrote on this subject on www.THINQon.com, a site for meaningful conversations online, where she developed a more personal relation with her public through writing.
Two essays of hers will be published in the coming months. An article on Beethoven in the academic annual review of the University of Udine in Italy, and an essay on polyphony for the prestigious Barbier-Müller Foundation in Switzerland in a special volume celebrating its 15th anniversary.
She is currently working as well on her book Intermezzi – fragmented thoughts on Music.
• Special Projects
The discovery of composers is a major task in Stern’s project building and programming. Her recording Piano of Enlightenment featured nowadays forgotten composers such as Galuppi and C.P.E. Bach, alongside J.S. Bach and Mozart.
“The pianist Edna Stern reunites with Mozart, Galuppi, Haydn, C.P.E. Bach, musicians with enlightened sounds, which is all the more evident through her light-dark interpretation. The sound, all in lightness, draws one’s attention particularly to the deep and transcendent aspect of the chosen pieces. How beautiful are those Galuppi sonatas, with their arpeggios that run naturally under the fingers!” Péché de Classique Magazine, December 2013.
Another of her programs this year included premiering the Sonatas of Jewish composers from the concentration camp of Terezin, in New York and in Paris. The music raised the public’s interest and was followed by an immediate invitation to play in Los Angeles in a conference that will be one of the first projects of the newly established Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices, overseen by James Conlon.
• Future Special Projects
Amongst the upcoming future projects:
- Chronicle of an assassination, an Amos Gitai play with music.
- Shadow and Light, a piano recital collaboration with Agnès Letestu and the dancers of the Paris Opera, with music by Bach, Liszt, Scriabine and Prokofiev, on original choreographies by Bruno Bouche.
- First performance of the 2 Simon Mayr Concerti in September 2016 with the Ingolstadt Chamber Orchestra.
- Release, in February 2017, of a CD dedicated to French composer Hélène de Montgeroult, with Orchid Classics and the Cité de la Musique in Paris, followed by a recital at the Philharmonie of Paris.
- The recording of the complete Beethoven Sonatas (first two CDs released in October 2014, a third already recorded and to be released in 2018).
• What they say
“Her love of music that manifests itself in the absolute necessity to play and in the joy with which she plays, her inborn talent and great personality, her curiosity for searching for the new, … all of these provide for the making of a great artist.” Krystian Zimerman.
“Allying poetry and splendorous tone color, Edna Stern charms by efficient virtuosity without it being demonstrative. She is guiding us through an unreal world of contrasting emotions that we would never like to leave.” Antoine Mignon, Classica Repertoire Magazine.
“If musical taste, phrasing that has organic respiration, and poetic sonority are still important in the market of pianists, Edna Stern is certainly part of the great hopes of the young pianist’s generation.” Rüdiger Schwartz, Abendzeitung.
“Mercurial and meditative… Stern extracts magic from her instrument.” Geoff Brown, The Times, UK.
“Stern has all the qualities of a great artist: virtuosity, imagination and passion.” Joe Laredo, International Piano Magazine, UK, 2007.