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Tamara Stefanovich

Pianist Tamara Stefanovich has a broad repertory but specializes in rigorous, complex music, both contemporary (Boulez, Stockhausen) and mainstream (Bach). She has appeared widely across the U.S., Britain and Europe, and Japan. Stefanovich was born in Belgrade, then in Yugoslavia, in 1973. Her parents had no money for babysitters and took her to Belgrade Philharmonic concerts as an infant with a milk bottle: "thus food became an important part of my musical life later on," she quipped to The Cross-Eyed Pianist. Stefanovich began piano studies in Belgrade and then moved to Philadelphia to attend the Curtis Institute. She went on for further studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, Germany, where she turned in the direction of contemporary music after attending a workshop on the music of Pierre Boulez by pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The two became life partners, and Stefanovich went on to work with and/or premiere works by a variety of contemporary composers, including Boulez, Harrison Birtwistle, and Peter Eötvös. In general, she has favored complex works by the likes of Boulez, Stockhausen, and Szymanowski, and she is one of the comparatively few European pianists to have consistently programmed the piano music of Ives. Stefanovich's career suffered due to sanctions against Serbia following the country's actions in the 1990s; for nearly a decade, she had almost no concert bookings and, she told The Cross-Eyed Pianist, "the question of changing the profession was a daily one. I worked, but my work was not used, and for me, not being useful is close to a sin." The situation improved after the turn of the century, and Stefanovich has performed widely across the U.S., Europe, and Japan, appeared with the likes of the Cleveland Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the Israel Philharmonic. She has been accompanist to baritone Matthias Goerne and has performed chamber music with various partners, including the similarly minded violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Recitals have taken her to Wigmore Hall and the Royal Albert Hall in London and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, among other world-class venues. Stefanovich has recorded for the Harmonia Mundi, NEOS, and PentaTone Classics labels, among others. On the latter label, she released the album Influences, featuring music of Ives, Bartók, Messiaen, and Bach, in 2019. The following year, she was heard on a recording of Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie with the Nationaltheater-Orchester Mannheim.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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