Piano • Conductor
• Born 1965
Often appears with
Stefan Vladar is a prominent Austrian pianist. Well before he reached the age of 30, he was the winner of a major competition, had appeared with many famous conductors and orchestras in Europe and America, and had made several important recordings. But like many successful pianists from the latter-twentieth century, he wanted to branch out into other areas: he first served as director of various musical events and then became a conductor. While his choices in repertory have favored the German School -- especially as a conductor -- he has played various piano works by Dvorák, Bartók, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Gershwin. As a pianist Vladar has regularly performed as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber player and has recorded for major labels, including Sony, Naxos, Harmonia Mundi, Camerata, and Koch Classics.
Stefan Vladar was born in Vienna in 1965. He began piano lessons at the age of six and thereafter advanced quickly. In 1973 he enrolled at the Vienna Music Academy, where his most important teachers were Renate Kramer-Preisenhammer and Hans Petermandl.
In 1985 he became the youngest pianist ever to win first prize at the International Beethoven Competition in Vienna. Not surprisingly, his career had a meteoric ascent, as Vladar soon made appearances with the leading Viennese and European orchestras under the likes of Abbado, Ozawa, Marriner, Chailly, and others.
Soon Vladar's musical interests would extend into other areas: in 1988 he was appointed artistic director of the Neuberger Kulturtage (an annual festival/seminar event) in Styria, Austria, and in 1999 he became artistic director of a similar annual event held in Kremsmünster, known as the Upper Austrian Stiftskonzerte.
By the early '90s, Vladar had made a number of highly praised recordings, including the 1991 Brahms Piano Sonata No. 1 and Four Ballades for Sony. He had also launched a cycle of the Beethoven piano concertos by then for Naxos.
In 2002 Vladar accepted the appointment as chief conductor of the newly formed Grosses Orchester Graz, a post he held through 2006. During his tenure there he also led other major European orchestras, including the Stuttgart Philharmonic and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the latter naming him chief conductor and artistic director in 2008. Vladar joined the faculty at Vienna's University of Music and Performing Arts as professor of piano in 1999, yet is frequently found performing in chamber music recitals and conducting orchestra concerts at many of Europe's festivals. Among his recordings is the 2006 CD of Schumann's Carnaval, Papillons, and Faschingsschwank on Harmonia Mundi.