About the project
Each island preserves its riches and values in its own way. It reveals them slowly, with difficulty and somewhat stingily to a small circle of chosen ones. The program of this sound carrier, the first recorded on an organ on the island of Vis, reveals to us not only the richness of the island’s sacral architectural heritage, but also the centuries-old concern of its inhabitants about the presence of music in their daily lives
About the program
For the discography debut on this valuable newly restored instrument, I have chosen,
with the exception of one piece by Bach, the repertoire of composers from Mediterranean countries, spanning five hundred years.
My wish was, on the one hand, to remain authentic to the circle of civilization to which the organ, the city, and the island belong, and on the other hand to show a variety of music that despite (or even thanks to) all the historical, stylistic and mechanical features of such an instrument can sound fresh and original.
To the classics of organ music, from Cabezón to Messiaen, I added my two contrasting improvisations inspired by the island of Vis. The first of them – Meditation, evokes the natural ambiance of Vis: its stone, vegetation, bays, vineyards, and sunsets, but also the crickets that are the constant background sound companion of this CD. It is a jazz-tinged free improvisation that uses the typical baroque feature of the Italian organ (divided registers, one of which sounds in the lower part of the keyboard, and the other in the upper part) as an advantage to highlight the solo sound of the reed stop and transforms its harshness into the melancholic atmosphere of the island landscape.
The second is an improvisation to the tune of a traditional Vis church song, whose idea was to show the wealth of sound possibilities of the organ in its full glory. It is my homage to the tradition and culture of Vis and to the organ, which is inseparably fused with the space and acoustics of the church in which it is located, as well as with this unique island.
About the performer
Bruno Vlahek (Zagreb, 1986)
Bruno Vlahek (Zagreb, 1986) is one of the most prominent and versatile musicians of his generation, being praised by the critics for his fantastic virtuosity and depth of musical thought that bewitches the audience. He regularly appears as a recitalist and soloist with orchestras in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Russia and Middle East – in venues such as Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Mozarteum Salzburg, Dubai Opera, St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, Moscow’s Kremlin, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Shanghai Concert Hall or Seoul Arts Centre, as well as at the festivals of Dubrovnik, Bolzano, Moscow, Vienna, Palma de Mallorca, Dar-es-Salaam or Verbier. He toured China several times and is a regular guest to some of the country’s finest venues.
After having graduated as one of the youngest students in history of the Zagreb Music Academy with Vladimir Krpan, he obtained a soloist diploma at the Haute École de Musique in Lausanne with Jean-François Antonioli and received his master’s degree with Vassily Lobanov at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, where he also studied composition and improvisation. Afterwards he studied with legendary pianist and pedagogue Dmitri Bashkirov at the Queen Sofía College of Music in Madrid. Bruno Vlahek is winner of highest prizes of many prestigious piano competitions, such as those of Paris, Shanghai or Lyon. In his native country he received a title of the Young Musician of The Year awarded by the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently received the Swiss prize Paderewski, Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe’s Award, Pnina Salzman Memorial Award in Israel and Arists on Globe Award.
At the same time, as a composer, he was awarded first prize at the International Composition Competitions Cristóbal Halffter in Spain, and won the discographic award Porin as well as the Stjepan Šulek Award for the best composition of the year 2019, among others. In 2021 he became laureate at the New Classics – Organ Taurida competition held in the Great Hall of the P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. For his achievements he was awarded by the Honorary Diploma from the hands of Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain. His performances were broadcasted on TV and radio stations such as France Musique, BBC 3, Dutch NPO Radio 4, Spanish RTVE and Catalunya Ràdio, Australian ABC Radio or Radio Suisse Romande, for which he recorded Saint-Saëns’ 2nd Piano Concerto with Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne.
In 2020 he published three critically acclaimed solo discs: Touches dedicated to piano solo works by L. Bernstein, G. Ligeti and I. Stravinsky (Croatia Records), complete Etudes-tableaux by S. Rachmaninov (PlayClassics) and selection of Scarlatti’s Keyboard Sonatas (Naxos).
He performs with great success with his wife Dubravka Vukalović as D&B Piano Duo, with whom he became a prizewinner of the International Piano Duo Competitions in Monte-Carlo and London. He is also active as a concert organist and has written numerous orchestral, chamber, solo and choral works of various genres which have been performed on five continents in cities such as New York, Chicago, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Cambridge, Lisbon, Prague, Salzburg, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Seoul, Singapore and Sydney. His works are published in Croatia, Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA.