BIZJAK PIANO DUO

Ensemble
biography

Lidija and Sanja Bizjak studied in Belgrade before joining Jacques Rouvier's class at the Paris Conservatoire several years later. After initially pursuing careers as soloists, they launched also their duo career performing for the first time Medelssohn's concerto in 2002 with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. They won two special prizes at the ARD Munich Piano Duo competition in 2005.

Popular with audiences in France, they have gone on to perform at the Cité de la musique, Musée d'Orsay and Salle Gaveau in Paris, in Palazetto Bru-Zane in Venice, at the festivals such as La Roque d'Anthéron, Nohant, Sully, Auvers-sur-Oise, Folle Journée in Nantes and in Tokyo and Belgrade's festival Bemus. They regularly perform with orchestras, including performances with the Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Sinfonia Varsovia, Chamber orchestra Pellléas, Orchestre de Picardie and many orchestras in Serbia
Lidija and Sanja Bizjak's highlights include Debut in BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London with Le Carnaval des Animaux with the Britten Sinfonia and Stravinsky's Petrushka and The Rite of Spring at the Roque d'Anthéron Festival 2009.

Their first CD with all Stravinsky's work for piano four hands was released in 2012 for the French label Mirare and received highly acclaimed reviews. They also recorded two non-commercial CDs for piano duo – live recital for Radio France's programme Déclic and two pianos recital (Mozart, Schumann, Brahms) for the Meyer Fondation and the Paris Conservatoire.


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Reviews
Martinu, Poulenc CD Review
2015-06-01 BBC MAGAZINE, London
""An excellent programme of 20th-century pieces for two pianos from this impressive duo of sisters. The lively textures and contrasts, bound to life, with grit and delicacy. »"
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Martinu, Poulenc CD Review
2015-05-04 Gramophone, London
""The Serbian-born sisters Lidija and Sanja Bizjak have devised a clever programme, pairing two concertos for two pianos and orchestra with two works for two pianos alone. Martinů's music sparkles under the Bizjaks' fingers… In the Poulenc Double Concerto, the soloists and the Stuttgart Philharmonic under Radoslaw Szulc bring all the fun of the fair to the exuberant opening movement…Argerich and Zilberstein gave us a spectacular live performance of Shostakovich's Concertino, but this one too has a vibrancy and panache as the young pair whoop it up in the Allegro's Russian-style boogie-woogie...The Bizjaks are perfectly attuned to the stop-start nature of that amorphous tune in the first movement of Stravinsky's Sonata...A disc that looks like it will be coming round for further mentions in the Awards season.""
(Adrian Edwards)
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Martinu, Poulenc CD Review
2015-03-23 The Herald Scotland, Edinburgh
""Now comes an absolute belter from the Serbian sisters Sanja and Lidija Bizjak, whose reputation is soaring: they've already appeared at the Royal Albert Hall Proms playing Carnival Of The Animals, and are noted for the electrifying immediacy of their playing. But the compelling feature on their new recording, the dazzling playing apart, is the repertoire itself. Nothing on the playlist is staple material: everything is fresh. Poulenc's Concerto For Two Pianos, where the sisters are joined are joined by the Stuttgart Philharmonic and conductor Radoslaw Szulc, gets an occasional outing, but the rest - a bracing collection with Shostakovich's Concertino For Two Pianos, Stravinsky's Sonata For Two Pianos and Martinu's Concerto For Two Pianos And Orchestra - languish in obscurity.""
(Michael Tumelt)
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Martinu, Poulenc CD Review
2015-05-11 MusicWeb International.com, City of London
""It is rare to find a single CD release with such fascinating twentieth-century repertoire as this. It comes from the Bizjak Piano Duo making its debut release on Onyx. These impressive sisters are on blistering form and play with intelligence, liveliness and considerable charm."
(Michael Cookson)
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Martinu, Poulenc CD Review
2015-04-13 The ArtDesk.com, London
""Wonderful stuff - an exciting, breezy recording.The mercurial outer movements (Martinu) are thrilling and sensationally played here by Lidija and Sanja Bizjak, flipping between percussive aggression and melting lyricism without breaking a sweat. Stravinsky's euphonious Sonata for two pianos receives a witty, taut performance, the central movement's variation theme nicely deadpan. A magnificently enjoyable disc. »"
(Graham Rickson)
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Martinu, Poulenc CD Review
2015-05-11 Falcinelli blog, Paris
""Leur toucher crépitant se joue de l'éblouissant Concerto composé par Martinů en 1943; le rebondissement ludique de leur articulation admirablement précise entraîne l'Allegro final dans un pétulant tourbillon que rien ne semble devoir enrayer, or ce Concerto abonde en périls
pour la synchronisation, tant entre les deux pianistes qu'entre ceux-ci (ou celles-ci) et l'orchestre! Nulle oreille – et cela vaut pour l'ensemble du disque – ne saurait distinguer l'une de l'autre tant leurs sonorités convergent en une harmonie fusionnelle. »
                                                                                                                                                  

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(Sylvaine Falcinelli, )
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Bizjak Piano Duo – Martinu, Poulenc CD for Onyx
2015-02-20 The Irish Times, Dublin
""Fizz, froth and high jinks characterise this album...""
(Michael Dervan)
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Bizjak Piano Duo – Martinu, Poulenc CD for Onyx
2015-02-23 Télérama, Paris
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Two pianos, four hands, one virtuosity: the Bizjak sisters take the listener away, while revealing one of Martinu's most unknown score.

"The multi-awarded tandem takes the listener far away by adding a dimension of joyfull complicity and of tenacious virtuosity to this tradition. Their Rite of Spring (cf. Stravinsky CD) brought back the dazzling freshness of the original four-hands version, played by Stravinsky and Debussy, a few months before the scandal of the Parisian creation in 1913. This marvellous and glaring CD, made us wonder how the duo could possibly repeat this recording masterstroke … They made it thanks to their curiosity, their knowledge of the repertoire and the complicity of the young Polish conductor Radoslaw Szulc."

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(Gilles Macassar)
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Stravinsky CD "Le Sacre du Printemps" "Petrouchka"
2013-09-13 Télérama, Paris
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"The Bizjak tandem celebrates the eternal Rite of Spring. We were KO'd! Two sisters, born in Belgrade, take up this challenge with a stunning brio. This black and white, x-rayed Stravinski's version is better than a lesson of symphonic anatomy: it is a study of algebra and musical alchemy." FFFF

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(Gilles Macassar)
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BBC Proms - St Saens "Carnaval des Animaux" with the Britten Sinfonia
2009-08-11 Telegraph, London
""Brethtakingly fine and delicate, not a hint of circus act. If concert promoters want to book a pair of piano-playing sisters, now they know where to go"

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(Damian Thompson)
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