Contestant 21: Lukas Vondracek
If you wonder who is the biggest star among the contestants, this is who. The Czech super pianist Lukas Vondracek has been hailed as “the greatest pianistic talent of our times” by Stuttgarter Zeitung, and the name brings out nods of recognition among everyone who follows piano music carefully.
Since his debut at the age of 14 with the Czech Philharmonic, Lukas has performed with pretty much all of the World’s most renowned orchestras, including BBC Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Hong Kong Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, the NHK Symphony, Orchestre National de Belgique, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, St.Petersburg Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Wiener Symphoniker, as well as Baltimore, Cincinnati, Colorado, Dallas and the National Symphony Orchestras in the United States.
He has also worked with conductors such as Marin Alsop, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jiri Belohlavek, Manfred Honeck, Pietari Inkinen, Paavo Järvi, Theodore Kuchar, Zdenek Macal, Vasily Petrenko and Antoni Wit.
Performing regularly in concerto and recital appearances, Vondracek has played at Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Carnegie Hall in New York, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., La Cite in Paris, Opera House in Sydney, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Philharmonie in Berlin, Royal Festival Hall in London, Rudolfinum in Prague, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Symphony Center in Chicago, Tonhalle in Zurich, and in major cites throughout Europe, America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Festival highlights include Prague Spring, La Roque d’ Antheron, Gilmore, BBC Belfast and Boston Celebrity Series.
Born in Opava, Czech Republic in 1986, Lukas Vondracek’s musical ability was spotted at the age of two by his parents, both professional pianists. Lukas made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall’s Issac Stern Auditorium at the age of 16. He moved to the U.S. in 2009 and received an Artist Diploma from Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Hung-Kuan Chen. His other teachers include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Peter Barcaba, Rudolf Bernatik and Andrzej Jasinsky.
Lukas was the 1st prize winner at the Hilton Head, San Marino and UNISA international piano competitions, and he is also recipient of the Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award, at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Award for the Most Exceptional Young Artist in Europe.
Here’s a clip of Lukas Vondracek performing Beethoven Piano Concerto 5 Emperor Op. 73.