Croatian pianist Martina Filjak to be in concert with Grand Junction Symphony

Martina Filjak, Croatian pianist, plays with Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra in concert Sept. 21.

Internationally renowned Croatian pianist Martina Filjak will be the guest artist for the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra performance “Pictures and Paganini.”

The concert, featuring Filjak playing “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” by Sergei Rachmaninoff, will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, in the Grand Junction High School auditorium, 1400 N. Fifth St.

Filjak won the prestigious 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition and has played for audiences across Europe, Africa and North and South America.

Also on the program for the concert are “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel and “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky.

A Classical Conversation concerning the concert will begin at 6:30 p.m., in the concert hall.

Tickets are $15, $20 and $25 and $5 for students with ID. Tickets can be purchase by calling 243-6787 or at

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• Filjak was born in Zagreb, the largest city in the Republic of Croatia.

• She studied at the Music Academy of Zagreb, the Vienna Conservatory, the Como Piano Academy in Italy (2008–09), in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Rotterdam, Netherlands. She continues working with Mi Kyung Kim at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany.

• Her orchestral debut was at age 12 with the Zagreb Soloists Chamber Orchestra.

• Along with winning the 2009 Cleveland International Piano Competition, among Filjak’s honors is first place at the 2007 International Viotti Piano competition, first place at the 2008 Maria Canals International Competition in Barcelona, fifth place at the 2007 Busoni Competition in Bolzano, Italy, and a prizewinner at the 2008 Unisa International Piano Competition in Pretoria, South Africa.

• Before Filjak arrives in Grand Junction she will play a recital in the Jacson Concert Series in Iowa. Four days after her performance in Grand Junction, she will play with the Springfield (Ohio) Symphony.

In August, Filjak performed in Germany, Poland, Croatia, Chile and the United States.

— Source: Martina Filjak’s biography at http://www.martinafiljak.comQ&A WITH MARTINA FILJAK

On a recent flight from Frankfurt to Houston, the Croatian-born Filjak, who is also an Italian citizen, answered a few e-mail questions about playing piano and why she will be in Grand Junction after making her Carnegie Hall debut in December 2009.

Melinda Mawdsley: How long have you been playing piano?

Martina Filjak: I started playing piano at the age of 3. Both of my parents are pianists, so it was both a family legacy and a destiny. It then became a professional and life choice.

Mawdsley: What brings you to Grand Junction to perform?

Filjak: The performance with the Grand Junction symphony is a part of my prize package I won at the Cleveland Piano Competition (in 2009). The competition gave me more than 50 performances across the U.S., including a New York Carnegie Hall debut held last December. It was very successful and got excellent reviews by “The New York Times” critic, Anthony Tomassini.

Mawdsley: You are performing “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Is it tougher to perform pieces that you know most audience members recognize?

Filjak: I don’t like to think that it is tough to perform the “known pieces.” One has to aspire to give an own idea that is so strong and so convincing that even if the audience is used to hearing it, they will still appreciate, notice and, hopefully, enjoy my own way of playing it.

For me, this is what I want to achieve. It is a step and a difference between a good, professional pianist and a high class, imaginative and adventurous musician.

— Melinda Mawdsley


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