Toledo Symphony Classics Series Opens with All Rachmaninoff Program

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Maestro Sanderling opens the season with a rapturous evening of Rachmaninoff.

Martina Filjak

Martina Filjak will play Rachmaninoff on the Toledo Symphony's opening concert.

Filjak leapt like a tigress devouring the bolder passages [of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2] with rollicking vehemence. Yet, its delicate fugal material she dispatched with the graceful airiness of a kitten.

Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer

Maestro Sanderling opens the season with a rapturous evening of Rachmaninoff. Dynamic young pianist Martina Filjak, recent winner of the coveted Cleveland International Piano Competition, performs the Piano Concerto No. 2, and the orchestra tackles the composer’s posthumously rediscovered Symphony No. 3.

This is Martina’s debut with the Toledo Symphony. She has international praise for her poetic passion and technical mastery at the keyboard, as well as her charismatic personality and magnetic stage presence.

“Brilliant, sensitive and imaginative playing with resourcefulness of technique and naturalness of musicality...a striking individuality…a pianist to watch!”
    -Anthony Tomassini, The New York Times

The All Rachmaninoff program is Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22 at 8PM in the Peristyle. Tickets start at $22. Call 419-246-8000 or visit for more information and tickets.

Martina Filjak Bio -

One of the most exciting young artists to emerge in recent years, Martina Filjak is garnering international praise for her poetic passion and technical mastery at the keyboard as well as for her charismatic personality and magnetic stage presence. Her transition from prodigy to mature artist has been all the more remarkable against the backdrop of political maelstrom that defined her native Croatia during her childhood.

Martina's unwavering hunger for music, nurtured by piano teacher parents, has been her lodestar. Civil strife or no, she graduated from the Zagreb Music Academy and subsequently from the Vienna Conservatory and the soloist's class at Hannover's Hochschule für Musik. She participated in masterclasses at the Como Piano Academy, where she was coached by Dmitri Bashkirov, Peter Frankl and Andreas Staier.

In 2009, Martina Filjak won first prize in the Cleveland International Piano Competition, following which she made concerto debuts at the Konzerthaus Berlin and Vienna's Musikverein and her recital debut at New York's Carnegie Hall/Zankel Hall ("Brilliant, sensitive and imaginative playing with resourcefulness of technique and naturalness of musicality. …A striking individuality …A pianist to watch" The New York Times). Prior to winning the Cleveland competition, she had been first prizewinner of the 2007 Viotti International Piano Competition in Italy and the 2008 Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona.

Martina Filjak has performed with leading orchestras worldwide under the batons of Heinrich Schiff, Theodor Guschlbauer, Sebastian Lang – Lessing , Christian Zacharias and Stefan Sanderling. As recitalist and concerto soloist, Martina has also appeared at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; the Palau de la Música Catalana and L'Auditori, Barcelona; the Palais des Congrès, Strasbourg; the Shanghai Oriental Art Center and Severance Hall in Cleveland. Her recording of Soler sonatas was released in 2011 on the Naxos label.

Martina's extensive repertoire ranges from Bach to Berio and encompasses 30 concertos. A keen hiker and lover of the great outdoors, she delights in playing music that evokes the sounds of nature and folk music. Bartók's Out of Doors suite, Berio's Six Encores (with titles like Wasserklavier, Erdenklavier, Feuerklavier and Luftklavier) and Ravel's Une barque sur l'océan are particular favorites. She is also drawn to technically and intellectually challenging music such as Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata and Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 2.

Martina's 2010-2011 season began with a performance of Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto at the Konzerthaus Berlin with the Southeast Europe Youth Orchestra under the baton of Heinrich Schiff. Other highlights were performances of the Schumann, Grieg and Ravel concertos, Rachmaninov's second and the Shostakovich, Liszt and Brahms first concertos with, among others, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. In February 2011, Martina performed the world premiere of Milko Kelemen's Madrigal Rouge with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie under Christoph Poppen. Inspired by the work of the emotionally focused, abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko, Madrigal Rouge involves the projection of the color red on a large white screen behind the performers. Martina won new admirers in recital engagements in the U.S., Italy, Switzerland (Lugano), Germany (Munich and Hannover) and Spain (Barcelona's Palau de la Música).

In 2011-2012, Martina Filjak opens the Charlotte Symphony (North Carolina) season with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 under Christopher Warren-Green. Other highlights include performances of Brahms's First Piano Concerto with the Staatskapelle Weimar and with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, Falla's Noches en los jardines de España with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and Hindemith's Four Temperaments with the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino. Martina performs Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Boston Philharmonic and Benjamin Zander, as well as Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Sinfonieorchester Liechtenstein and the Ravel Piano Concerto at the final concert of the Florida Orchestra season, under Stefan Sanderling. Her 2011-2012 diary equally features recitals at the Residenz Munich (Allerheiligen Hofkirche), the Kasseler Musiktage and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Martina's extra-musical passions include nature [she is collaborating with the Office of the President of Republic of Croatia and the Ministery of Culture to publicise the need to protect the nearly extinct lynx] and education [she participates in Rhapsody in School, a project founded by Lars Vogt through which artists visit schools throughout Germany to give students access to classical music]. She also assists in fundraising for the 'Martina Filjak Scholarship' to help nurture the musical education of selected children in Cleveland, Ohio. Martina speaks seven languages. Fortunately, for an active performer, she loves to travel.

The Toledo Symphony

With roots as early as 1838, the Symphony sees itself as the musical heart of Northwest Ohio, supporting Neighborhood and Regional Concerts, a School of Music and three youth orchestras in addition to traditional concert offerings (Classics, Pops, Family, Mozart & More and Chamber).

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Ashley Mirakian
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