Petronel Malan im Portrait
Grammy Nominated South African pianist Petronel Malan is an exclusive recording artist for the internationally recognized label Hänssler Classic. Her debut disc ?Transfigured Bach: The Complete Bach Transcriptions of Bartok, Lipatti and Friedman," was nominated for three Grammy® awards, including "Best Instrumental Solo Album 2004." The album was on the Top-10 list for Classic FM (Southern Africa) for over 30 weeks and was met with critical and audience appeal alike. Her second recording "Transfigured Mozart," is scheduled for release in 2006 to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of Mozart's birth. As a "Blüthner Artist" she uses their pianos exclusively for her recordings.
Born into a political family in South Africa, of French Huguenot descent, she started piano lessons with her mother, an opera singer, at age four. Considered the "last prodigy" of the late South African pedagogue Adolph Hallis, she debuted with the Johannesburg Symphony at the age of ten. Ms. Malan won her first national gold medal at age twelve and her first international gold at age fourteen at the Third International Piano Competition in Marsala, Sicily. After winning every competition she was eligible to enter in South Africa, she emerged as the top South African pianist of her generation when she became the youngest person ever to win the coveted SABC Music Prize Competition. She relocated to the United States in 1991 to pursue her career.
She continued her studies under Joseph Stanford, Steven de Groote and Ralph Votapek. Following her European debut in Rome in 1987, she has continued to make orchestral, recital and chamber music appearances on four continents. Highlights include prestigious venues such as Carnegie Recital Hall, Salle Cortot (Paris), Mozarteum (Salzburg), Liszt Museum (Budapest), Kravis Center (West Palm Beach), Orchestra Hall (Chicago) and Bass Hall (Fort Worth). Festival appearances include the Gilmore, Jasper, Great Romantics and Ravinia Festivals. She has worked with conductors like Dmitry Manilov, Omri Hadari, Yashima Takeda, Bernhard Gueller, Fuzao Kajima and Terence Kern. Broadcasts for television and radio include live performances in Europe, Canada, across the US (also on NPR) and several documentary television-profiles in South Africa.
In 2000, four gold medals were awarded to her at the Louise McMahon International Music Competition, the Missouri Southern International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and the Los Angeles Liszt Competition "Budapest Concert." She was also a grand prizewinner in the 2000 Web Concert Hall Competition and gold medalist in the Entergy Young Artist Award and the Grace Welsh Piano Prize, to name but a few.
In 2003, she was awarded the national "Rapport/City Press Prestige Award" as one of the "10 Most Inspirational Women Achievers" in South Africa. Ms. Malan completed her undergraduate studies at Michigan State University and her graduate degrees at the University of North Texas, studying with Joseph Banowetz. Upcoming performances include appearances in China, Canada, an extended European tour in the Spring of 2006 preceded by a 14-concert tour of South Africa.
An icon in the South African music world, scholarships are donated in Ms. Malan's name. Along with her equally-famous actress/business woman sister, Annie, Petronel has graced magazine covers, appeared as a picture-clue in crossword puzzles and make regular charity appearances when in South Africa. Apart from a love for vintage gowns, her stage wardrobe is designed by foremost South African designers such as Henja Schaap and Hip Hop Clothing. A supporter of classical music in schools, she finds time in her touring schedule to visit schools and speak to students about classical music.
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