November sees a welcome return for the renowned cellist Florian Kitt. After completing his studies in1964, he has appeared as soloist with many leading orchestras and conductors, given cello recitals at important festivals and made numerous recordings. These engagements took him all over the world - apart from his home country Austria most frequently to the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, the United States and Asia.
Austrian cellist completed his studies with Gaspar Cassadó in Cologne and André Navarra in Detmold after graduating from the Vienna Musikakademie as a pupil of Frieda Litschauer. Following his debut at the Konzerthaus in Vienna in a recital together with Rudolf Buchbinder in 1964, he has appeared as soloist with many leading orchestras and conductors, given cello recitals at important festivals and made numerous recordings. These engagements took him all over the world - apart from his home country Austria most frequently to the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, the United States and Asia.
His passion into modern music had been approved by many recent successful performances - György Ligeti's cello-concerto at the Royal Festival Hall in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Diego Masson brought raving acclaim by press and the public, Luciano Berio's concerto "Ritorno degli Snovidenia" in Rome, Nigel Osborne's concertos, both dedicated to Florian Kitt were successful all over the world.
Florian Kitt is also a very devoted teacher; apart from various master-classes he holds a professorship at the University for Music in Graz since 1970. In addition to his extensive repertoire of established classic and romantic works, his especial feeling for contemporary music has inspired many major composers to dedicate works to him.
Since mid eighties, a strong part of his activities lies in his cello & piano duo. Recently, he performs together with pianist Aima Labra-Makk.
Aima Maria Labra-Makk leads a solid career as a solo concert pianist, chamber musician and educator. Her performances and magnetic presence have earned her world-wide acclaim. European critics describe her playing as "peerless marked by high musical intelligence, colorful expression with physical robustness (to sound) with elegant ease of touch but never for the sake of display." Even the famous pianist and pedagogue Tatjana Nikolaeva highly praised the expressiveness and depth of her playing.
Born in 1965, in Cebu City of the Philippines, Ms. Labra-Makk received her first piano tutorials at the age of three from her mother who was also a pianist. When she was at the age of teenager, she seriously committed herself to piano. After balancing rigorous and intensive piano lessons and high school academics, she proceeded to the University of the Philippines where she studied under Perla Suaco and earned a Bachelor Degree of Music.
In 1985, she won the top prize of the National Music Competition for Young Artists (NAMCYA), piano category C. Overwhelmed and impressed by her technique and her performance, the judges decided not to award a second prize. The top prize in that category has never been won since then.
In 1986, she was granted acceptance at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria, where she studied under her mentor Eugen Jakab. It was at this same period as well when she was granted numerous and generous scholarships such as the Bosendorf Scholarship, Martha Debelli Stipend, Alban Berg Foundation Scholarship.
In 1989, after winning a main prize at the First International Competition Franz Schubert and 20th Century Music in Graz, she started getting invitations to do recitals, radio and television recordings, and concert tours.
In 1990, with a unanimous board decision, Ms. Labra-Makk was awarded the highest honors in Concert Diplomat from the University of Music. She later received a recognition award from the Ministry of Education of Austria (Wurdigungspreis des Bundesministers fur Wissenschaft and Forschung).
She performs in key cities and venues in Europe such as the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Haydnsaal in Eisenstadt, Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, Stefaniensaal in Graz, among many others. She has also performed in international festivals such as the Vienna International Festival (Wiener Festwochen), 1st Women´s Festival in Eisenstadt (Frauenfestival), Liszt-Beethoven Symphonies for Piano Series in Wiesbaden, Germany.
In 1999, she was the featured pianist at the Easter Concert of the Liszt Society in Raiding, Austria (Liszt´s birthplace). Since then, she performs regularly at the Liszt Center in Raiding.