"A restless, inquiring mind"
International Piano [UK]
Pianist Ivan Ilić earned degrees in mathematics and music at the University of California Berkeley before moving to Paris on a university fellowship. He then studied at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, where he took a Premier Prix. The City of Paris sponsored his first recording.
Early career highlights included recitals at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Ireland's National Concert Hall, Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio, and the American Academy in Rome. He recently gave recital débuts in Vienna, Sao Paulo and Geneva.
Ivan's recordings have played a significant role in spreading his international reputation. His CD of 24 Préludes by Claude Debussy  received Mezzo Television's Critic's Choice Award in France, and was a Top Five CD of the Year of Fanfare Magazine. It was also selected by Classique News in France as a Top 5 CD of the Month. The album was broadcast on Radio France, BBC Radio 3, Dutch Radio 4, American Public Radio, Radio Hong Kong, and numerous other stations.
His next CD  featured the complete Chopin Studies for the left hand by Leopold Godowsky, a tour-de-force of musicianship and virtuosity. The recording was described as "a major achievement" and "breathtaking" by BBC Radio 3. It featured prominently in The Daily Telegraph [CD of the Week], German MDR Figaro [Top 5 CD], Classique News [Top 5 CD], and Czech Radio [5 stars]. The album was broadcast widely across 6 continents. Videos of Ivan performing Godowsky on YouTube attracted over 500,000 views. Shortly afterwards, Ivan made his acting début in two French short films: Luc Plissonneau's Les Mains and Benoît Maire's Le Berger.
From left hand repertoire, Ivan shifted his focus to US composer Morton Feldman, which led to a trilogy of publications. The first was a CD entitled The Transcendentalist . The programme suggested a connection between Scriabin miniatures and late Feldman, with detours in early John Cage and a Feldmanesque new work by Scott Wollschleger. It was the Critic's Choice of BR Klassik [DE], Swiss Radio Espace 2 [CH], Listen Magazine [US], and Classique News [FR]. It was also a CD of the month of Sinfini Music [UK] and TGV Magazine [FR], won a Supersonic Award from Pizzicato Magazine, and garnered 5-star reviews from Harmonie Magazine [CZ] and Aachener Zeitung [DE]. In November 2014 the album was nominated by the International Classical Music Awards for "Album of the Year". Forbes mentioned it in their 2014 list of Top 10 New Classical Releases.
Part 2 of the Feldman Trilogy was an unconventional art book/CD/DVD, published by the Geneva University of Art & Design . French magazine Le Nouvel Obs hailed the "sublime immobility" of Ivan's recording, and La Tribune de Genève wrote: "Under Ivan Ilić's fingers, Feldman reappears, ethereal and moving. This is a noble tribute which must be recognized". The final installment of the Feldman Trilogy is Ivan's new recording of "For Bunita Marcus" .
In recent years Ivan Ilić's approach has broadened in scope, as he searches for a way to reconcile his intellectual curiosity with his career as a soloist. He has co-produced several 5-hour radio series for Swiss Radio Espace 2. He also began to write about music: recent articles have appeared on the websites of Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, and Music & Literature.
For more information visit www.IvanCDG.com.
Information about ordering Ivan's CDs here
###Read the Feldman CD review round up! [link]
###Read two articles Ivan wrote for Morton Feldman's 90th birthday on 12 January:
BBC Music Magazine [link] - Slipped Disc [link]
###Recent interviews: Andante [link] - Pizzicato [link] - Swiss Radio RTS Espace 2 [link] - Classique Mais Pas Has Been [link] - read Ivan's translation of a Feldman interview in Music & Literature [link] - Ivan's expanded liner notes essay published on Music & Literature [link]
###Feldman CD reviews: Gramophone [link] - BBC Music Magazine [link] - The Independent [link] - Diapason [link] - BBC Radio 3 Record Review - [link] - The Sunday Times [link] - Tribune de Genève [link] - The Washington Post [link] - Fono Forum [link] - Classiquenews [link] - Limelight Magazine [link] - Pizzicato [link] - Piano News [link] - The Whole Note [link] - Audiophile Audition [link] - L'Est Républicain [link] - Facts & Arts [link] - Opus Klassiek [link] - Cross-Eyed Pianist [link] - L'Obs [link] - Sylviane Falcinelli [link] - Classical Ear [link] - Klassik Heute [link] - Artistxite [link] - Planet Hugill [link] - The Guardian [link] - Sinfini Music [link] - Rete Toscana Classica [link] - International Piano [link] - American Record Guide [link] - The Arts Desk [link] - Westzeit [link] - Classica [link]
###Ivan was a live guest of the Radio France show La Matinale Culturelle on 23 November. Listen to a podcast of Ivan performing Feldman, Scriabin and Reicha live in Paris [link] [video]
###Ivan's new recording of For Bunita Marcus  was released on 16 October 2015, on French label Paraty, distributed worldwide by Harmonia Mundi. The album is the final installment in Ivan's Morton Feldman Trilogy, alongside the CD The Transcendentalist  and the Art Book/CD/DVD Detours Which Have To Be Investigated .
CD cover image [link] - HD image for posters [link] - CD liner notes [link] - Press releases: English - German - French - Other HD images of Ivan Ilić [link] Credit images to Benoît Maire.
###Watch the trailer for Ivan's newest CD below:
###Watch Ivan's newest video, the premiere of Antoine Reicha's Capriccio:
###Read a recent portrait of Ivan in International Piano Magazine [link]
###Read a recent review of the Art Book/CD/DVD Detours Which Have To Be Investigated by Philip Clark in Australian magazine Limelight [link]
###Learn more about ordering one of 7 different CDs available on this website [link]
###Ivan recently performed live on Radio France as part of the La Matinale Culturelle:
###Ivan performed Debussy and Scriabin live on BBC Radio 3's "In Tune" last April [link]
###Recent broadcasts across 5 continents include German Westdeutscher Rundfunk WDR, Australian ABC Classic FM, Estonian Klassikaraadio, Irish RTÉ Lyric FM, American WFMT Chicago, American Minnesota Public Radio MPR, British BBC Radio 3, South African Classic FM, Swiss Espace 2, Italian Rete Toscana Classica, and Radio 4 Hong Kong.
###Read a new in-depth interview with Ivan about cultivating your intellectual curiosity, recordings, and more on British blog The Cross-Eyed Pianist [link]
###In March 2015 Ivan was invited to Switzerland to record an extensive 5-hour series of radio shows about repertoire for the left hand, for the programme "Musique en mémoire"
with host Catherine Buser. The shows were broadcast on 6-10 April 2015 on Radio Suisse - Espace 2. You can listen to the entire series, "Maladroite la main gauche?" via the links below:
[1. The virtuosic left hand]
[2. Leopold Godowsky: the Paganini of the piano]
[3. Paul Wittgenstein, the one-armed pianist]
[4. Ravel, Prokofiev, Strauss, and Britten... Concertos for a one-armed pianist]
[5. A compendium of solo works for the left hand]
###In March 2015 Radio Hong Kong RTHK broadcast an interview recorded with Stacey Rodda during Ivan's last trip to China, on "Sunday morning at 4" [listen]. During the same trip, Ivan recorded a concert for RTHK Radio 4's "Music of Friends", including Bach, Chopin, Scriabin, and Wollschleger [listen]
###Part two of Ivan's Morton Feldman Triptych - the art book Detours Which Have To Be Investigated - was released in November 2014.
Detours Which Have To Be Investigated is a new art book/CD/DVD, an homage to composer Morton Feldman. It is the result of a collaboration between Ivan Ilić, visual artist Benoît Maire, AMI graphic design, and the HEAD - Geneva University of Art & Design. The book includes texts and photos, including a never-before published photo of John Cage. The DVD comprises three videos which aim to make Feldman's music accessible to a wider audience. The CD is Ivan Ilić's recording of Feldman's final solo piano work, "Palais de Mari" (1986). Ivan Ilić gave the launch concert at MAMCO, Geneva's Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, on 12 November 2014.
###Order the art book/CD/DVD at Mollat.com [link]. Alternatively, you can order it via this website. For more information click here.
###Read a new portrait of Ivan in La Tribune de Genève [link] - [English]
###Read an article Ivan recently wrote for Gramophone [link]
###Read an article about the Feldman book published in Le Nouvel Obs [link]
###Read an interview with Ivan about the new project on Classique News [French] - [English]
###Ivan recently recorded five one-hour episodes of Musique en mémoire with Catherine Buser for Swiss Radio RTS - Espace 2 about the New York School of Music, broadcast in October 2014.
[1. The Principal Characters]
[2. Cage and Feldman]
[3. The Influence of Transcendentalism]
[4. Music and the Visual Arts]
[5. Three Accessible Masterpieces of the New York School]
###Ivan's CD - The Transcendentalist - was released in 2014.
The Transcendentalist is an exploration of meditative music. It traces a mood from miniatures of Alexander Scriabin to John Cage and Morton Feldman, to a new work by a young American composer: Scott Wollschleger.
John Cage once said: "I would like every man to fix their attention on themselves";
The Transcendentalist encourages this introspection. Through the patient, refined playing of
Ivan Ilić, we have access to a contemplative world of inner calm.
Click here to learn more about The Transcendentalist, and to peruse CD-related press.
For a selection of CD reviews please click here.
###The Godowsky CD was released in 2012. For order information click here.
Click here to learn more about the Godowsky CD, and to peruse Godowsky-related press.
For a selection of Godowsky CD reviews please click here.
###The short film Les Mains by Luc Plissonneau is now available below. Ivan plays the lead role of Izak in a love story about an introverted pianist and Lucie, his student muse.
Brahms Intermezzo in E Major
Recorded with the generous support of the City of Paris
Visit the audio archive here.
"Ivan Ilić makes us forget the pianistic tricks, and the musical athletics: he gives us music. The warm tone, velvety touch and the intimate, deliberately dreamlike atmosphere he creates are admirable."
"These studies, conceived as they are for the configuration of the left hand, are of terrifying difficulty, and it is to the credit of the American pianist Ivan Ilić that he manages to bring expressive finesse to them as well as negotiating the technical hurdles. His is certainly a labour of love."
Classical CD of the Week
The Daily Telegraph, UK [link]
"In addition to his expert technique, Ivan Ilić succeeds in transforming the necessary acrobatics to
open jubilation and poetic tenderness, or as he says himself, 'aesthetic ecstasy'.The result is a tribute characterized not by paralysis but by boldness. He carries Godowsky's message forward to the present day."
Top 5 CD of the Month
Classique News, France [link]
"[In the Study no. 41] Ilić delivers the music's essential dramatic message with aplomb. Ilić pulls off [Study number 18a] superbly, threading through it a consistently clear melodic line while carefully subduing the inner parts... [No. 43 in C# minor] is brilliantly fulfilled; he stitches together all the sweeping shifts in register consummately. I can't help wanting to award Ivan Ilić a medal for his purposeful, intelligent grasp of this taxing music, not to mention his feat of endurance."
International Record Review, UK [pdf]
"Ivan Ilić achieves a very musical performance, impressive technically and especially articulation-wise. If his goal was to generate the radiant chopinite spectre of voices and colours with five fingers according to Godowsky's arrangement, he succeeds utterly. One can only wish Ilić's inspirational recording the success it deserves."
Harmonie Magazine, Czech Republic [pdf]
"Ilić is not only a virtuoso capable of brilliantly interpreting Chopin's Etudes, but he is also capable of giving them a depth that is not always present when pianists play the originals with both hands...his playing is brilliant and luminous. A fine, impressive recording by an outstanding pianist."
Piano News, Germany [link]
"Few pianists dare to perform Godowsky's Chopin Studies, let alone record them. What is truly remarkable is that Chopin's stylistic finesses do not disappear from these transcriptions for the left hand. Ivan Ilić [is] remarkably suited for this recording. I had a strong emotional reaction to Ilić's version of Study No. 41 B minor, with its freely flowing melodious middle section."
Hudebni Rozhledy, Czech Republic [link]
"Recording all 22 Chopin Studies for the left hand by Leopold Godowsky brings even super talented technicians to their limits...Ivan Ilić, a 33-year-old American in Paris, overcomes the trying tour-de-force most magnanimously. The legato and polish of his playing are exemplary."
Fono Forum, Germany [link]
"Looking at the score blackened with notes will make you dizzy. But Ilić's interpretation is pure poetry. He doesn't call attention to the score's difficulties, nor does he want to dazzle with virtuosity, rather he enjoys the sound, color and layered polyphony...a charismatic young interpreter."
Vltava maximum (5* rating)
Czech Radio 3 - Vltava, Czech Republic [link]
"Godowsky pieces for the left hand alone are a benchmark for any pianist. Ivan Ilić, an American with Yugoslav roots, masters these touchstones seemingly effortlessly!"
Top 5 CD of the Week
MDR Figaro, Germany [link]
"This disc's principal interest lies in Ivan Ilić's highly assured touch and his accomplished technique. It is sufficient to listen to Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest to be convinced, a performance admirable in its velocity and richness of sonority. One clearly recognises that the pianist has a clear idea of the unity of the preludes, playing them in a single go, yet managing to highlight and contrast the serenity of Canope or La Terrasse des audiences du clair de lune with the multiple transformations of Ondine, Brouillards, or Feux d'artifice... a virile touch and well-controlled passion."
"[T]his is a pianist whose musical intelligence naturally runs deep. There was an imaginative view of large-scale design too: the subtly coloured and long-phrased shaping of the major-mode section was beautifully judged. Ilić did not wow you with virtuosity that was either deceptively easy or physically demonstrative, for this was virtuosity of the mind as much as of digital dexterity. This recital’s 45 minutes of music flew by."
Irish Times, Ireland. [link]
"Highly considered performances that are rooted in Debussy's text but show individual intelligence and imagination, too." Four stars
Classic FM Magazine, UK. [link]
"He is a magisterial technician, with a formidable brain and a far-reaching sensibility that effectively and unpretentiously reaches far further than the immediacy of his sleeve or his heartbeat...a pianist to watch."
Classical Source, UK. [link]
"For those of an eclectic bent, pianist Ivan Ilić’s Friday recital proved a delight. The program was an adventure in learning as well as a brilliant display of technical prowess, all free of clichés. Ilić was technically flawless, offering lots of color plus an uncommon sensitivity to Debussy’s expressive little tone paintings."
San Francisco Classical Voice, USA. [link]
"Ivan Ilić is one of America’s leading young pianists. In his new CD, he takes on Claude Debussy’s Préludes in an entirely original and fascinating way: rather than wading into oceans of misty-eyed tone colors, he approaches them simply and analytically. In this way, he arrives at a purified tableau: one that remains comprehensive and iridescent, but doesn’t distract from the masterly form of the miniatures."
Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, Austria. [link]
"Ivan Ilić, an American based in Paris, has a deftness of touch that allows him control over both Debussy’s exuberant climaxes and his quiet, subtle moments. The sound is rich and clear, with a broad range of dynamics but a solid rhythmic pulse."
Mail & Guardian, South Africa. [link]
"His playing is characterised by clarity, vivacity and his intuitive feel for systems in the music...the pianist, who has real personality, listens attentively to the music he is making, and his name is one to remember."
Le Monde de la Musique, France.
"Ivan Ilić’s approach is intimate and poetic without being over-indulgent; clearly this is spirited and yet very carefully distilled playing. I especially admire the pianist’s straightforward manner in La Cathédrale engloutie and Feux d’artifice, which brews up huge intensity while allowing in the finer needles of light."
International Record Review, UK.
For a selection of CD reviews from 2012 please click here.
For a substantial selection of reviews from 2006-2009 please click here.
For engagements in Germany/Austria please contact:
Tel: +43 (1) 956 98 25
Mobile: +43 (0) 676 964 2800
For engagements in France and French-speaking Switzerland/Belgium/Canada:
Mobile: +33 (0)6 4280 7641