Albert Landa

Albert Landa has been actively involved in Australian classical music for almost 8 decades. Whilst principally known as a Concert Pianist his artistic curiosity has led him along many different paths. Between the ages of 18 and 28 he was a professional French Horn player. Freelancing, and then a member of the Queensland and later the Sydney Symphony Orchestras Horn Section. As a pianist he has performed recitals and concerto performances since the age of 10. He received his A.Mus.A at the age of 11, at the time, the youngest ever to receive this award.

In 1966 he moved to London where for the next six years he was involved in professional musical activities. Active in chamber music with the Nemet Piano Quartet giving BBC Broadcasts, and touring all over the UK. He also became active as a Ballet Repetiteur and was being groomed as a conductor for the English National Ballet. He also worked as a Repetiteur and orchestral pianist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra during their Summer Season at London’s Festival Hall. However, he decided against a career as a conductor and in 1971 received an invitation to return to Australia and take up a position on the Piano Faculty of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, his old Alma Mater.

He remained in this position for almost 24 years. His inaugural recital at the Conservatorium drew “rave” notices from the critics and his performance of the Alban Berg Sonata Op. 10 resulted in the ABC inviting Landa to join the great International Violin sensation, Pinchas Zukerman in a performance of the Alban Berg “Concerto for Piano and Violin and 13 Wind Instruments” (a work of notorious technical difficulty) and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the conductor Willhelm van Otterloo. This performance received “rave” reviews also and led to Landa being invited to perform concerti with all the Australian Symphony Orchestras. In 1972 He gave the World Premiere of a new Piano Concerto by the Australian composer, Raymond Hansen.

During his tenure at the Conservatorium of Music, Landa gave innumerable solo recitals, chamber music recitals, accompaniment in Lieder performances, and Master Classes. During his time as Lecturer in Pianoforte many of his pupils have gone on to have careers in professional musical activities, some as accompanists, some as repetiteurs in opera companies in Europe, some as teachers in the music departments of some of our finest secondary schools, and one exceptional student who has achieved a brilliant solo career and is now based in New York.

Also, Landa has the distinction of being the first and only pianist to record the complete “Well Tempered Clavier” of J.S. Bach in Australia on the ABC CLASSICS label. His other recordings also include recordings of popular piano recital pieces and encores and both these recordings have had great commercial success.

Landa has always had the greatest admiration for Shostakovich. Both as a composer and as a man. He lived in turbulent, sometimes terrifying times, and his music powerfully chronicles the tremendous struggles and tensions of his times; at the personal level, at the historical and national level and at the universal level. This is why he has so often been described as ‘The Beethoven of the 20th Century’.

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