Cristina Ortiz, piano
Even though Cristina Ortiz has been resident in Europe for many years, it is the passion, spontaneity and allure so characteristic to her Brazilian cultural heritage, which is central to her music making. Dominating a broad range of solo and concerto repertoire, she now adds the role of chamber musician ever more important in her make-up as a truly complete artist.
She has performed with Antonio Meneses, Boris Belkin, Kurt Nikkanen, Uto Ughi, Dimitri Ashkenazy as well as the Prague Wind Quintet. Besides collaborating with string quartets such as the Chilingirian, the Grainger or the Endellion, Ms. Ortiz has just recorded the piano quintets of Fauré and Franck with the Fine Arts Quartet for Naxos.
There is no doubting her dedication to championing Brazilian music, well evidenced in the American premiere of Guarnieri's "Choro" at Carnegie Hall under Dennis Russell-Davies, or the Decca recording of Villa-Lobos’ five Piano Concertos, a recording which definitely confirmed her as the main interpreter of his music.
Cristina Ortiz’s interpretation of a wealth of the most significant piano literature from Beethoven to Bernstein and beyond, has sustained critical acclaim as well as bringing to her public’s attention a number of lesser known works: 1. as in her CDs of pieces by Clara Schumann for Carlton Classics or that of Stenhammar’s 2nd Piano Concerto with the Göthenburg Orchestra under Neeme Järvi for BIS; or 2. as in the world premiere of Lalo Schifrin’s “Concerto of the Americas” in Washington DC and Kyoto; or performances of Erwin Schulhoff’s Piano Concerto with the Czech Philharmonic and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
Cristina Ortiz believes teaching is an invaluable source for self-analysis. Using her experience, she inspires young pianists to develop a feeling for colors and to broaden their range of emotions. In giving private lessons or conducting master classes while on concert trips throughout the world whenever possible, she dedicates special attention to the use of Pedal: that all-important yet nearly untaught art.
From the time when she was invited by her mentor, Rudolf Serkin, to participate in his famous “Music from Marlboro” or when appearing at the “Festival of the Two Worlds” in Spoletto Italy, Cristina knows that an artist can but grow from sharing music with peers. She has recently organized chamber music concerts as well as several workshops for young pianists, with the intention of bringing music to her friends in the south of France. In 2006, her first “C* O* & Friends Festival,’’ there was music for wind instruments and piano, whereas in 2008, her second, that for strings and piano. To the delight of her audiences, an informal jazz-session ended both programs, in lighter fashion.
Ms Ortiz has worked with conductors such as André Previn, Kyril Kondrashin, Zubin Mehta, Neeme Järvi, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Maris Jansons, David Zinman and Dennis Russell-Davies among many more and played with orchestras such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, Chicago Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, RPO and Philharmonia to cite but a few.
On the other hand, she especially enjoys directing from the keyboard, be it in concert with the Prague Chamber Orchestra (at the Rudolfinum or the Musikverein, Vienna); with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, in Ørebro, Sweden; or in the recording studios with the Consort of London, for Collins Classics. Recently for the first time in Brazil, she delighted the São Paulo public and orchestral partners alike with her relaxed yet visceral approach to music, directing and performing Beethoven’s Concerto # 3 from the keyboard. In her opinion this format of music making is the most complete and satisfying for a soloist, due to total commitment by all musicians on stage.
Cristina Ortiz, as a true Ambassador, has started to perform classical music in the various Embassies of Brazil around the world, closely relating to the exclusive audiences by informally announcing what she chooses to play: be it Chopin or Lorenzo Fernandez; Schubert or Fructuoso Vianna; Brahms or Nepomuceno; Debussy or Villa-Lobos: all chosen composers, equally treasured by her.