Called “the discovery of the year” by Crescendo Magazine and described as “on her way to the very top” by Concerti Magazine, German-Greek pianist Danae Doerken is among the elite of internationally acclaimed artists of a new generation, electrifying audiences and peer musicians alike with her stunning technical skills, exceptional charisma, and great profundity of her musical thinking.
A uniquely gifted talent, Danae Doerken received the support of Lord Yehudi Menuhin when she was only seven years old and soon began to cause a stir at major European venues with her “sparkling joy of playing” (Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger). After studying with internationally venerated teachers Karl-Heinz Kämmerling and Lars Vogt, she is now a regular guest of major orchestras including the Munich Symphony, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Norrlandsoperan Symphony and Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Dörken has performed to great critical acclaim at London‘s Wigmore Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Mozarteum Salzburg, KKL Lucerne, Tonhalle Zurich, Beaux-Arts Brussels, Cologne Philharmonie, Philharmonie Essen, Gasteig in Munich, Konzerthaus Berlin, the Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Tonhalle Dusseldorf, Frankfurt Alte Oper, and Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Danae Doerken also performs regularly at major festivals including Kissinger Sommer, Schwetzingen festival, LuganoMusica, Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and the renowned ‘Spannungen’ Festival in Heimbach.
Highlights of the 2021/2022 season are Danae Doerken's concerts with the Staatskapelle Weimar in the Cologne Philharmonie under Dominik Beykirch and the Staatsphilharmonie Nuremberg, her recital debuts in the Cesis Concert Hall in Latvia, Coesfeld theatre, as well as re-invitations to the Konzerthaus Berlin, Brucknerhaus Linz and the Dresden Music Festival. She will be the artist in residence of the Boswil Summer Festival in Switzerland.
During the 2020/21 season, Danae Doerken celebrated her solo debuts at the Schumannfest Düsseldorf and Logensaal Biel and she was the first artist to ever perform using the ImmerSphere combination of augmented reality technologies. Furthermore, chamber music engagements brought her to Wigmore Hall London, Festival du Forez and a tour through Cyprus, where she performed the world premiere of a newly commissioned piece for 2 pianos by Faidros Kavallaris together with her sister, Kiveli.
A passionate chamber musician, Ms. Doerken has performed with leading artists such as Lars Vogt, Gustav Rivinius, Sharon Kam, Artur Pizarro, Christiane Oelze, Carolin Widmann, Benjamin Beilman, Benedict Klöckner and Katia and Marielle Labèque. With her sister Kiveli, Danae Doerken regularly presents outstanding four-hand piano repertoire. She is recording a new album with oboist Philippe Tondre for a SWR Stuttgart Radio production.
Danae Doerken's groundbreaking recording of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 and Mendelssohn’s rarely performed Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Royal Northern Sinfonia was released in 2016 to rave critical acclaim. Previously, her solo recording of fantasies by Schumann, Schubert, and C.P.E. Bach on ARS Produktion was nominated for an ICMA Award. Her 2012 debut CD (also on ARS Produktion) featuring solo works by Leoš Janáček received equally enthusiastic reviews. Her latest albums EAST and WEST (ARS Produktion) and Between Nostalgia and Revolution(GENUIN) were nominated for an ICMA Award, the Opus Klassik Award and the German Record Critics’ Award.
Of Greek descent, Danae Doerken founded the Molyvos International Music Festival (MIMF) in 2015 together with her sister on the island of Lesbos. Amidst the dramas of the European refugee crisis and the European financial crisis, her festival has become a major contribution to strengthening the connections with classical music in Greece. The festival has year-round benefit events running throughout Germany which feature many of the MIMF artists including Marlis Petersen, Sebastian Manz, Maximilian Hornung, Philippe Tondre, Linus Roth, and Lars Vogt. Danae Doerken's service to classical music and the Greek island of Lesbos has been repeatedly covered by major media outlets including German, Austrian and Swiss national television programs ttt and 3sat kulturzeit, on WDR television and in countless newspaper articles, radio features, and other outlets.
Frederic Chopin – Polonaise Op. 26, No. 1
Manolis Kalomiris – Nocturne OR Franz Liszt – Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto
Manolis Kalomiris – 5 Preludes OR Franz Liszt – Love Dream No. 3
Béla Bartók – Romanian Folk Dances BB 68
– Intermission –
Franz Schubert – 12 Ländler D 790
Edvard Grieg – Wedding Day at Troldhaugen
Francis Poulenc – Huit Nocturnes FP 56 OR Claude Debussy – Images I
Manuel de Falla – Danse rituelle du feu
East and West embodies Danae Dörken’s feeling that our diversity is what ultimately brings us together and gives us enormous strength. All of the works in this program share the commonality of being heavily influenced by folk music traditions of different countries around the world. The folkloristic character of these compositions highlights the individual elements of each culture that render the pieces unique and underscore the necessity for them to be loved and remembered forever.
Chopin’s Polonaise in C-sharp minor embeds the melancholy of the tunes of polish folk music, while Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances feature the unusual rhythms of the Transylvanian peasant polka. Schubert’s 12 Ländler reflect the melodies of alpine folk dances, while Danza ritual del fuego by de Falla is reminiscent of guitar performers that can be heard in village squares in Spain. Grieg’s inspiration for Wedding Day at Troldhaugen came from the mighty chords that characterise Norwegian folklore and Manolis Kalomiris’ compositions are influenced by Greek folk music. At first glance, the Huit Nocturnes by the French neoclassical composer Francis Poulenc might seem a little out of place, but while this composition is not directly influenced by folk music, the simplistic elegance of the Nocturnes render them ideal counterparts to the remaining pieces on the program.
Robert Schumann – Forest Scenes Op. 82
Franz Schubert – Fantasy in C Major Op. 15 “Der Wanderer”
– Intermission –
Claude Debussy – Images I
Béla Bartók – Romanian Folk Dances BB 68
Franz Liszt – Love Dream No. 3
Franz Liszt – Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto
This program combines works that were inspired by sounds and melodies the composers heard as well as images the composers saw. Schumann’s Forest Scenes are short musical depictions of nine settings he experienced when walking through the forest, while Schubert’s Fantasy Op. 15 is based on his own famous song “Der Wanderer” that speaks about trying to find happiness. Claude Debussy’s impressionist music is an accurate description of three images through sound, while Bartòk’s Romanian Folk Dances were influenced by folk tunes that he heard on the street. The program ends with two famous works by Liszt, his Love Dream No. 3 and his Rigoletto-Paraphrase, which is composed around four different melodies that stand for four different characters from his own opera “Rigoletto” that sing together in harmonious unity.