Renowned pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico to deliver Faculty Spotlight concert Feb. 8

Christina poses with a piano
image by Bo Huang
Christina Petrowska Quilico

York University music Professor Christina Petrowska Quilico, a world renowned pianist, will give a signature performance Feb. 8 at York University, from 12:30 to 1:30pm in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, 112 Accolade East at York University’s Keele campus.

The concert is part of the Faculty Spotlight series offered by the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University.

With the intriguing title “Global Sirens,” the concert will feature Petrowska Quilico performing an eclectic program featuring composers around the world. The concert is free and open to the public.

Possessing passion and sensitivity, phenomenal technique and “dazzling virtuosity” (New York Times), Petrowska Quilico is a compelling force, whether she is playing a Liszt piano solo, a Mozart chamber work, the Grieg concerto or the premiere of a new work by a living composer. CBC Music named her one of 20 “can’t-miss classical pianists” of 2014 and one of Canada’s 25 best classical pianists in 2015.

Born in Ottawa, Petrowska Quilico studied at Juilliard, and went on to study in Paris and Germany with Ligeti and Stockhausen. Her professional career has taken her across the U.S. and Canada, as well as to Taiwan, the Middle East, France, Germany, Greece and Ukraine. She has appeared in recitals in Carnegie, Alice Tully and Merkin Halls, and as a soloist with most of Canada’s leading orchestras and the symphony orchestras of Greek Radio and Taipei.

She also collaborated frequently in concert and recorded four CDs with her late husband, the famed Metropolitan Opera baritone Louis Quilico. As well, she is a passionate interpreter of the music of her first husband, the celebrated Quebec composer Michel-Georges Brégent.

Petrowska Quilico has premiered close to 200 works. Of the more than 35 concertos she has performed with orchestra, 19 were contemporary, 10 of these premieres. Composers Pierre Boulez and John Cage gave her special coaching prior to her performances of their music.

In recorded output, few artists can match Petrowska Quilico, particularly for contemporary repertoire. Among her more than 47 CDs are five albums comprising eight Canadian piano concertos, and solo and chamber works by contemporary Canadian and international composers. Along with these, she has recorded the likes of Chopin and Debussy; Tangos Brasileiros, for the 150th anniversary of composer Ernesto Nazareth in 2013; and her highly praised Liszt bicentennial CD (“Quilico plays exquisitely … brilliance without ego” – Fanfare magazine).

Christina Petrowska Quilico with compser Ann Southam. Photo by Andre Leduc

Four of Quilico’s CDs of Canadian music have earned Juno Award nominations, three of them for concerto CDs and one for the solo piano cycle Glass Houses Revisited by the late Ann Southam (1937-2010). Petrowska Quilico is very closely associated with the music of the Southam and has devoted six CDs in three albums to Southam’s music, including the piano cycles Rivers, Glass Houses and Pond Life. The CD Glass Houses Revisited was highly lauded, named one of “30 best Canadian classical recordings ever” by CBC Music, and remains one of Centrediscs’ all-time bestsellers. In March 2016, Petrowska Quilico performed selections from Rivers and Glass Houses to an enthusiastic audience at Montreal’s Innovations en concert.

She has also garnered praise for her Centrediscs recording of Michel-George Brégent’s 16 Portraits, which the composer had described as “études romantiques.” The SRC’s Espace Musique called it Une véritable révélation!, while Fanfare magazine termed the études “‘studies’ in the emotional or intellectual sense.”

In addition to her concert career, Petrowska Quilico is a professor of piano and musicology at York University in Toronto and a published author and artist. At York University, she formed a duo with her colleague, Professor Jacques Israelievitch, former concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In addition to many joint performances, they recorded the Canadian music CD Fancies and Interludes for Centrediscs and the complete Mozart sonatas for violin and piano, on the Fleur de Son label, a project finished only months before Israelievitch’s death in 2015.

Among Petrowska Quilico’s upcoming projects are a two-CD Centrediscs set comprising Classics with a Twist, which includes Montreal composer John Rea’s Las Meninas; and Worlds Apart, which features, among other works, Michel-Georges Brégent’s Geste and Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux’s Assemblages.