By Maria Gregoriou
This week sees the coming of two piano recitals. The first is in Nicosia on Thursday with jazz music from the German pianist Axel Zwingenberger who will be performing in his Boogie Woogie style, and the second is on Friday in Limassol with Cypriot pianist Yiannis Georgiou.
Zwingenberger, who will be playing at the Shoe Factory, is presented by The Pharos Arts Foundation in collaboration with the Goethe Institut. The bogie woogie style he is so renowned for is very expressive and powerful as it is firmly rooted in the Blues. It emerged in the southern USA around the turn from the 19th to the 20th century, and was created by African-American pianists who ignored most of the rules of conventional piano playing. The style calls for a level of pianistic virtuosity, something that Zwingenberger has proven to have.
The creative pianist and innovative composer has not only adopted the style, he has also defined it to a great degree, as critics have labeled him The Boogiemeister of the world (a title which makes him particularly proud). This title has been rightly bestowed on Zwingenberger as he has explored the facets of authentic Boogie Woogie and Blues piano while also bringing to the stage his own interpretations of the style. This combination of diverse musical styles of his idols, Boogie pioneers Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons of the 1930s and 1940s, with his own ideas have given the style a new distinctive edge, which has been widely copied.
Zwingenberger has given concerts in over 50 countries all over the world and he has performed in almost every European country. He performs as a piano soloist most of the time, liking to play un-amplified at a big concert grand piano, which enables him to demonstrate his pianistic and musical talents.
He is renowned for his collaboration with famous jazz and blues musicians and he has been featured on 30 Audio CDs, among them recordings with US legends like Big Joe Turner, Jay McShann, Champion Jack Dupree, Sippie Wallace and many others, together with eight solo albums.
Zwingenberger is also a prolific photographer and has issued a book documenting night shots of steam trains in action.
Moving to the Rialto theatre in Limassol on Friday, Georgiou will be giving everyone present a solo recital including Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata, Rachmaninov preludes and works by Scarlatti, Chopin and Scriabin.
Georgiou was born in London and spent his childhood in both Cyprus and in England, where he attended the Royal College of Music Junior Department. He studied at Trinity College of Music in London, where he received numerous competition prizes and graduated with the DipTCL Performer’s Diploma.
He continued his studies in Moscow, at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire, from where he graduated with the Aspirant Diploma, making him the only Cypriot pianist to have received this award.
The pianist has performed as a soloist in the United Kingdom, Greece, Cyprus and Spain.
The Pharos Arts Foundation presents a piano recital with Axel Zwingenberger. January 29. The Shoe Factory, Nicosia. 8.30pm. €15/10. Tel: 96-669003
A recital with the Cypriot pianist. January 30. Rialto theatre, Limassol. 8.30pm. €10/7. Tel: 77-777745