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Karolina Syrovatkova

Pianist with a vision

a true artist who understands elegance, noblesse and creativity
— ABQ review
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Karolina Syrovatkova, the creator of "Clara"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karolina's Vision as an artist is deeply rooted in the belief that art should be experienced on many levels and should be accessible to everyone. Karolina created the "Living With the Great Composers" Series as an innovative way of experiencing classical music where she bridges various disciplines such as music and drama to create a new, exhilarating art form - the drama concert. In "Clara," Karolina portrays the role of Clara Schumann and unravels the intricate drama surrounding the life of this great pianist of the 19th century as well as the wife of Robert Schumann and the muse of Johannes Brahms. 

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an unforgettable experience you must come to see and hear!

 

"Clara" Show

The drama concert series titled Living With the Great Composers present a new art form combining theater and a classical music concert. The creator of the series, Karolina Syrovatkova, decided to combine the two art forms to draw the audience into the drama of a composer’s life. She tells the story of the piece she performs and its composer through the eyes of a woman important in that composer’s life. In the case of Clara, she narrates the story of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms from the perspective of their muse, great love and a wife of Robert,  Clara


 
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About

Internationally recognized Czech pianist Karolina Syrovatkova has been called by the ABQ Review "a true poet of the piano." She is known for her innovative approach to performing in which she combines her pianistic and dramatic talents to create shows about great composers.  She is the winner of several international competitions including the North London and the Sidney M. Wright Presidential Competition.  Her vision as a musician is deeply rooted in both the pianistic lineage of European(L’Ecole Normale in Paris, Prague Conservatory) and American schools (University of Maryland: BM, University of Texas at Austin: MM and DMA) and in the well-established principles of the Alexander Technique (AmSAT Certified Teacher). In addition to an active performing and teaching career, Karolina’s multifaceted musical vision has led her to launch classical music series both in the US and in Europe. She has been a champion of Czech music, particularly the music of her distant relative, Bedrich Smetana and of Leoš Janáček. Her latest CD of Janáček’s complete piano music will be released in June 2018. Her experimentation with bridging the gap between classical music and its audiences has led her to create a new art form she calls a “drama concert.”  Her series titled Living With the Great Composers combines theater and a classical piano recital in an educational, easy-to-understand and easy-to-love format. She has so far written and acted out personae of Clara Schumann, Olga Janáček, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Caroline von Esterházy. 

In my 30-year career as the Director of the Eastman School of Music, I have had the pleasure to hear a couple of pianists with the highest level of talent and musicianship and one of them was Karolina Syrovatkova
— Robert Freeman, Former Director of the Eastman School of Music; Dean, New England Conservatory
The drama concert entitled “Clara, the Woman in the Middle”, presented by Karolina Syrovatkova, was a transporting concert reflecting professionalism at every level. Karolina’s charming, dramatic portrayal of Clara Schumann gave our listeners insights into Clara’s love affair and marriage to Robert, their relationship to Johannes Brahms, and Clara’s attempt to balance family and professional life. This drama was punctuated with Karolina’s musical performance of Brahms, R. Schumann and C. Schumann. Her interpretation of the music reflected deep understanding and sensitivity to the romantic style of these composers. As one audience member said, ‘it was a magical evening for all of us.”
— Charlotte McLain, Director of BRL Concert Series
About “Clara:”
I can say that it was one of the most sensational music/ drama performances I have ever witnessed. The “acting” was superb – Karolina “was” Clara Schumann , and in my 76 years of listening to and watching musical performances, I have never seen or heard a better performance on the piano. The image of those lovely sensitive fingers stroking the keys of the piano will live long in my mind.
— Ian Sanderson
I recently attended a piano concert with Karolina portraying Clara, wife of Robert Schumann. Karolina was utterly charming as Clara as she told us the inside story of their love affair and subsequent marriage followed by the couple’s relationship with Johannes Brahms. I particularly enjoyed hearing Clara tell us about how she and Robert communicated through music as she played pieces composed by Robert during the time they were forbidden by her father to be in contact with one another. The evening was a memorable learning experience as well as a beautiful piano concert. I have told numerous friends about Karolina’s talent and highly recommend her concert to music lovers everywhere.
— Ann Burrows
a true poet of the piano
Experiencing Karolina Syrovatkova’s playing is a delight on many levels. Her technical proficiency is enormous but only serves as a foundation for the layers of passion and understanding that she brings to the music. Watching her perform adds enormously to the experience, for her movements are beautiful and express her deep union with the music.
— Joan Almon, Director of the Alliance for Childhood
Karolina Syrovatkova’s portrayal of Clara Schumann was mesmerizing and I think each of us sitting at our table believed we had experienced a realistic peek into this remarkable woman’s life. The music played by Karolina was beautifully played and included pieces several of us had not heard before but enjoyed tremendously.
— Jane Mitchell
Karolina Syrovatkova – Musical Phenomenon

After a performance of a Mozart piano sonata by Karolina Syrovatkova in Aspen, John O’Connor of Shenandoah University excitedly said to her, “I have played that sonata a hundred times and have heard it played another hundred, and that is the best performance I have ever heard.”

What Professor O’Connor had heard was the result of enormous talent, intelligence, hard work, misfortune, adversity, passion, perseverance and eventual triumph.

Karolina was born and grew up in Prague in a musical family; she learned to play on a piano that had belonged to Smetana. At 19 she had the chance to come to the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Tennessee. There she won the concerto competition and played with the Festival Orchestra. She was then able to come to the University of Maryland on scholarship. The first two years went very well with straight A’s though she had never had a formal course in English and no math courses in the previous three years. Then misfortune struck; she developed such pain in her arms that she had to completely stop playing. She took a semester off, returned to Europe and studied German at Tübingen and Italian at Perugia. The rest for her arms helped but the pain returned when she began playing again. Many treatments from conventional physical therapy to acupuncture were tried without success. Only when she began working with an Alexander Technique teacher did improvement begin. She took great pleasure in all her courses from astronomy to Egyptian art and graduated summa cum laude and ΦΒΚ. At this point, she could have entered many types of music-related work which would not have placed demands on her arms, but she was absolutely dedicated to performance. She could not live without it.

But, although her arms were better, she did not feel that she could subject them to the strain of entering piano competitions, so she looked to graduate school. While an undergraduate, she had participated in the Aspen Summer Music Festival, where she worked with Anton Nel of the University of Texas, Austin. After looking at several schools, she went to Texas to study with Nel. There she was delighted to learn that in Austin there was also a program of study to become an Alexander teacher. With characteristic thoroughness, she enrolled in it and completed her Alexander training at approximately the same time that she received her DMA from Texas.

One of her collaborative recitals was awarded best of the year, and her lecture recital was declared “stunning” by Nel. Her written analysis of a piece on one of her comprehensive examinations was so good that the reader of the exam asked to know who had written it so the he could congratulate the student. Now you may say, “What does that have to do with performance?” Well, the analysis is the rediscovery of what was going on in the mind of the composer and thus has everything to do with faithful performance.

So what Professor O’Connor heard was a performance informed by a deep and thorough understanding of the music by a pianist conscious of exactly how she was using each and every muscle, deeply in love with the music and passionately determined to reveal its beauty to her hearers.

As part of her study of a piece of music, Karolina learns all she can about the life of the composer. To share that understanding, she has awakened a talent hidden for many years. At age 10 and 11 she was a child actress in hour-long movies made for TV. For one of these, she won “best actress of the year” in an international competition. Now, she uses that talent to offer an evening in which she plays a woman close to a great composer to tell his story and to play his music. The delightful combination opens understanding in a way hard to believe possible.

We live in a world that wants to put people in slots. You are either a pianist or an Alexander teacher, not both. No, Karolina is both, and a better Alexander teacher for being a pianist and a better pianist and piano teacher for being an Alexander teacher. You are either a concert pianist or you have a DMA and are a teacher. No, Karolina is both. You are either a pianist or an actress. No, Karolina is both. If you don’t believe this, then find some way to encounter Karolina and see for yourself.
— Clopper Almon, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University and University of Maryland
a true artist who understands elegance, noblesse and creativity
— ABQ review


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Karolina is available to be hired to perform "Clara" and other drama concert shows by filling out the form below or writing directly to mondartmanagement@gmail.com

If you are interested in a presentation, masterclass or a lesson, please fill the form below. 

For universities who wish to hire Dr. Syrovatkova to give a presentation or a masterclass: please write directly to universitieskarolina@gmail.com 

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