Sontraud Speidel

Ms. Speidel was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, where she started piano lessons at the age of five. At the age of eleven, she entered the Music University of Karlsruhe where she studied with Irene Slavin (a Russian pedagogue) and Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen. She was awarded her teacher's degree as well as her concert diploma "with distinction." Following her studies at the Music University Ms. Speidel studied with Branka Musulin, Stefan Askenase and Geza Anda. She has received various awards in Germany as well as the coveted Bach Prize in Washington, D.C. She was the recipient of the Boston Symphony's Jackson Prize and Italy's Ettore Pozzoli Prize. Ms. Speidel has concertized, made appearances on both radio and television programs and has made recordings in most European countries, the former Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, the United States and Israel.

Other musical pursuits include conducting Master Classes in Maryland, Washington, Tennessee, Alabama, Hawaii, Florida, Minnesota and California (in the United States) as well as those she has conducted in her native Germany, Vienna,Austria and Galilea, Israel. Ms. Speidel was "Distinguished Visiting Professor" at California State University (U.S.), at the Université de Montreal (Canada) and guest professor at Tel Aviv University (Israel) and at the Bologna Conservatory (Italy).

Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt invited her to perform at the Palais Schaumburg (Germany) in 1979. Ms. Speidel has had compositions written for and dedicated to her. Notable among these is the Greek master Yannis Papaioannou. She also plays music written for the piano which has been neglected in the past. Among the composers are: Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Clara Schumann, Theodor Kirchner and Carl Reinecke. Her musical activities at present include concertizing with several chamber music ensembles which include duo violin/piano; piano duo; piano trio with violin and cello.

Sontraud Speidel is currently Professor of Piano and head of the Piano Department at the Music University of Karlsruhe, Germany. She also chairs "Piano-Group", an association of pianists, piano teachers, students and piano fans whose purpose is to promote young talented pianists and is also dedicated to research work in piano pedagogy. In addition to the above-listed activities, Ms. Speidel is also a regular juror at both national and international piano competitions.

“Pianist Sontraud Speidel should be commended for her efforts on this new release by Brioso (BR107) . This special album contains some truly enjoyable, charming, off-the-beaten path solo piano pieces composed by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel....The most sublime results come in the contemplative movement of "Sonata in E Major," the dramatic and majestic Allegro molto quasi Presto (E major); the "Wanderer Song - Presto" (E major), wherein the sense of loss and helplessness is brought out in an almost wild and desperate world of feeling; and the Andante espressivo (A-flat major) taken from her four "Songs for the Pianoforte" (Book II), which reflects the quiet beauty of a Schubertian song.”
Molly Vivian Huang, IAWM Journal

"Sontraud Speidel's recordings give ready evidence of her outstanding capabilities. Bach's works, especially, show how she is able to recognize the wealth of ideas in pieces, then present such riches with precise tonal balance, unusual spontaniety of breathing and impulse, deep sensitivity and her own individual but never arbitrary - shaping. There is always excitement in her playing, from the formal plasticity she gives to markedly powerful tones to the wit, sparkle, rich contrasts and expressive strength of her interpretations. Sontraud Speidel is one of the most inspiring, gripping and convincing woman pianists of today."
Wolf-Eberhard v. Lewinski

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