(c). Adrian Schmidt
Pianist Martin Stadtfeld (b. 1980) gave his début recital at the age of nine, and was only 13 when he enrolled at the Musikhochschule Frankfurt to study with Lev Natochenny. He created a stir in 2002 when he became the first German pianist to win the International Bach Competition in Leipzig. First prize in this prestigious contest, which hadn't been awarded for 14 years, opened the doors to the leading Bach festivals (Ansbach, Stuttgart, Köthen) for the young artist, as well as to other important music festivals. Concert tours have since taken him to all the leading music centres in Europe, the USA and Japan, and he has given solo recitals to full houses in all major German cities, in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Sumida Triphony Hall in Tokyo and at the Salzburg Festival. He has also played in orchestral concerts together with the Munich Philharmonic, London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, the Residentie Orkest den Haag, the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchester and the Dresden Staatskapelle. Martin Stadtfeld records exclusively for Sony Classical. His début CD with Bach's Goldberg Variations was released in 2003 to effusive praise from the critics, and rapidly rose to first position in the German classical charts. In October 2004 Martin Stadtfeld was awarded the "Echo Klassik" prize for this CD as "Young artist of the year". His sophomore album, "Bach Pur", featured Bach's three-part inventions and his Italian Concerto, as well as transcriptions by Ferruccio Busoni and Alexander Siloti, and again went to no.1 in the German classical charts; in 2005 the pianist was awarded another "Echo Klassik" prize for the "Solo recording of the year". Martin Stadtfeld's great passion is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, but to quote the weekly paper Die Zeit, Bach is certainly "the alpha and omega of his thinking, but by no means the entire alphabet. The young German artist can do a lot more than just play Bach". In autumn 2005, in time for Mozart Year, Martin Stadtfeld released Mozart's piano concertos no. 20 & 24, recorded together with the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra under Bruno Weil, which the music press praised as an "interpretation at once totally alert and highly sensitive". February 2006 saw the release of the CD "Kleine Stücke" with 16 Bach preludes and Robert Schumann's Bunte Blätter. Martin Stadtfeld then went on to record three keyboard concertos by Bach, with Achim Fiedler conducting the Festival Strings Lucerne. This CD was released in the autumn of 2006, and was awarded the "Echo Klassik" prize for the "Best concerto recording" in 2007. For his next CD, the young pianist turned his attention to Schubert, releasing the two sonatas D.960 in B flat major and D.984 in G major in September 2007. German trade magazine Audio chose this recording as its classical CD of the month, writing that "Martin Stadtfeld makes the piano sing. His approach is unusual and unfamiliar-sounding, cheeky and typically Stadtfeld. But once you've got used to it, these interpretations afford immense pleasure". "Echo Klassik" once again honoured the new CD with an award as its "Best solo recording (19th century)" in 2008. The recording of the first part of Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier" was made in the Dortmund Konzerthaus, and was released in October 2008 accompanied by a second CD made as a co-production with the broadcasting station SWR: Martin Stadtfeld explains to a 12-year-old girl the special features of the work, using extracts from the score that he plays on the piano, the harpsichord, a clavichord and an organ. Martin Stadtfeld has been working together with the Dortmund Konzerthaus for many years now. In addition to regular recitals there as part of the concert series "Junge Wilde", he has also gone to some lengths to engender interest in classical music among pupils from problem schools: he visits schools, talks to the children about his work as a pianist, presents music to them, especially music by Bach, and invites them to attend one of his concerts. This concept has been so successful that Martin Stadtfeld now makes regular visits to schools in other towns, too.