With her combination of colourful Brazilian spirit and musicianship, London-based pianist Clélia Iruzun is one of the most exciting musicians to emerge onto the international scene in recent years.
Clélia’s childhood was spent in the rich cultural atmosphere of Rio de Janeiro where she began playing the piano at the age of four, winning her first competition at seven and making her orchestral debut playing Grieg’s Piano Concerto at 15. At 17 Clelia won a scholarship to continue her development by studying with the highly regarded Maria Curcio in London, and then with Christopher Elton, who took her under his wing at the Royal Academy of Music where she graduated with the Recital Diploma. Later she also studied with Noretta Conci and then with Mercês de Silva Telles, who encouraged Clélia to develop her own definitive style. Her mentors have included Fou Ts’Ong, Stephen Kovacevich, and her compatriots, the great pianists Jacques Klein and Nelson Freire. Even from the early years of her career, Clélia’s stunning piano playing caught the attention of prominent musical figures such as Francisco Mignone who wrote a Suite especially for her and more recently Marlos Nobre who also dedicated a piece for her. Clélia has won many awards in Brazil and in Europe, such as the Tunbridge Wells Piano Competition in the UK, the Paloma O’Shea in Santander and Pilar Bayona in Zaragoza, Spain.
Clélia Iruzun has given recitals and concerto performance all over Europe, the Americas and Asia. Her tours in China included concerts for huge audiences, including recitals at the Grand Theatre in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. Her recital in Shanghai was voted one of the ten best concerts of the year. She has also toured China and Brazil with the Coull Quartet and performed with them again in the UK in the Southbank and in their series in Warwick University.
In the UK she has performed at the Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Room and Queen Elizabeth Hall, St John’s Smith Square and music societies and festivals across the country. She has also appeared several times on radio and television, including broadcasts for BBC Radio 3.
Concert tours have taken her across Canada and the USA, to Yugoslavia, Poland and the Czech Republic, Portugal, France and Spain. She has performed extensively in Scandinavia as well.
She has played several first performances of Brazilian works including the Piano Quintet by Henrique Oswald, the Octet by Villa-Lobos, Piano Sonata by João Guilherme Ripper, Desafio for Piano and Guitar and Sonata Breve by Marlos Nobre at the South Bank Centre and Wigmore Hall as well as Piano Concertos such as the Mignone’s Fantasia No.3 in Norway with the Kristiansand Orchestra, in London with Lontano Ensemble and in Poland with the Poznan Philharmonic where she also premiered the Concertante do Imaginario by Marlos Nobre.
In her native Brazil she is a regular performer on TV and radio and major concert halls where she has also premiered works by British composers such as York Bowen and Arnold Bax; recent performances include the prestigious Campos do Jordão Festival and concertos with the leading orchestras in the country.
Clélia also dedicates a great deal of her performances to the Classical and Romantic repertoire and has been praised for her interpretations of Mozart, Chopin and Schumann.
On disc, Clélia’s has championed the music of South American composers: Villa-Lobos Piano Music (1992, Meridian Records-re-issued 2005), Latin American Dances (1998, Intim Musik), The Waltz Album (2002, Intim Musik), and Brazilian Mosaic – including a world premiere recording of Marlos Noble’s Concertante do Imaginario (2003, Lorelt), the music of Lecuona (2005, Lorelt) and Francisco Mignone-Piano Music (2007, Lorelt). A disc of Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No 1 and Concerto for Violin and Piano with Vasteras Sinfonietta and Joachim Gustafsson (1999, Intim Musik) was selected by Swedish Radio as the best recording of the double concerto available.
Her CD with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Odaline de la Martinez playing the Concertino by Elizabeth Maconchy (2011, Lorelt), the others with Piano Music by Marlos Nobre (2012, Lorelt) and Federico Mompou (2012, SOMM) have been receiving enthusiastic reviews by the critics as well as the one dedicated to the music of Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth “Portrait of Rio”(2015, Lorelt). She also launched a CD with the flautist Marcelo Barboza called Golden Years (2014, Meridian). Her latest CD the second volume of the Mompou on SOMM Records has just been released early in 2016.
Clelia founded the festival “Brazil Three Centuries of Music” with the Coull Quartet and they have already had two successful editions in London.
Clélia is married to Renato and has two children Raphael and Maria Clara and makes her home in London, returning to Brazil two or three times each year. When not performing, Clélia enjoys Philosophy, following films, is an avid art lover and enjoys cooking.
Clelia has recently finished a Master degree in Philosophy at the Birkbeck College, University of London.