• Born 1965
Often appears with
Klára Würtz is among the more important pianists to have emerged from the latter decades of the 20th century. Hungarian-born, Amsterdam-based, she has, since the early '90s, made numerous tours of the United States and Canada while also appearing throughout Holland and elsewhere in Europe. If her repertory generally excludes Baroque as well as contemporary music, it is broad still, taking in all the sonatas of Mozart and large chunks of the outputs of Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Bartók, Debussy, and many others. Würtz has made numerous recordings for a variety of labels, including Brilliant Classics, Regis Records, and Globe.
Würtz was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1965. She was a child prodigy: she first sat down at the piano at age five and soon became an extraordinarily accomplished player. She joined the Hungarian Radio and Television Children's Chorus in the early '70s, not as a singer but to serve as the group's pianist. She soon enrolled at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in her native city where she studied under Zoltán Kocsis, György Kurtág, and Ferenc Rados. She would later attend master classes held by András Schiff in England.
1985 proved to be a breakthrough year for Würtz when she captured first prize in the Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition, a prestigious event held every two years in Seregno, Italy. In 1988 Würtz was a prize winner in another important contest, the Dublin International Piano Competition. By this time her career was firmly established in Europe, though not yet in North America.
In 1991 she began making regular tours of the United States and Canada and soon won over critics and public alike, most particularly at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, and at the Ravinia Festival. Among her first recordings was the 1994 Globe CD of a collection of Bartók works that included the Piano Sonata and the 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs.
Throughout the 1990s and in the new century as well, Würtz remained very active in the concert hall and recording studio. Probably her most significant work has been her Mozart: she has performed the sonatas in numerous concerts and recorded them in a complete set for Brilliant Classics, issued in 2005. Other recordings by her include a 2005 five-disc set on the same label containing a challenging mixture of works by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, and Rachmaninov. In 2011, she recorded Schubert's Impromptus for Piano Classics.