Winner of first prize at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, the phenomenal young cellist Andrei Ioniţă is known as a versatile musician focused on giving gripping, deeply felt performances. He has been recognized for his passionate musicianship and technical finesse.
Highlights of Mr. Ioniţă’s 2017–2018 season include performances with the Hallé Orchestra, Staatskapelle Weimar, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Zurich Chamber Orchestra. He also makes his recital debut at Wigmore Hall.
The previous season featured major debuts with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, and Munich Philharmonic, and recital debuts in Chicago and Washington, DC. The 2015–2016 season included performances with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev at Cadogan Hall in London, as well as performances with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica di Bologna, and Bucharest’s George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Ioniţă also performed recitals in Berlin, New York, Munich, St. Petersburg, and throughout Italy before undertaking a chamber music tour of Korea with violinist Clara-Jumi Kang and pianist Lucas Debargue. In June 2014, he collaborated with Gidon Kremer and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy’s festival, Chamber Music Connects the World. In the past few years, Mr. Ioniţă has been heard in such venues as the Kammermusiksaal at the Berlin Philharmonie, Herkulessaal in Munich, Stadtcasino Basel, and Romanian Athenaeum. He regularly collaborates with Valery Gergiev, Mikko Franck, and Cristian Măcelaru.
Before winning the Tchaikovsky Competition, Mr. Ioniţă won first prize at the Aram Khachaturian International Competition (June 2013), and second prize and the special prize for interpretation of a commissioned composition at the ARD International Music Competition (September 2014). In 2014, he also received second prize at the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann in Berlin.
Mr. Ioniţă was born in 1994 in Bucharest and began taking piano lessons at the age of five before receiving his first cello lesson three years later. He studied under Ani Marie Paladi in Bucharest and Jens Peter Maintz at the Universität der Künste Berlin. He is a scholarship recipient of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben and performs on a cello made by Giovanni Battista Rogeri in 1671, generously on loan from the foundation.
Japanese-born pianist Naoko Sonoda is a prizewinner of several international piano and chamber music competitions, including the Argento and Trieste competitions in Italy, and the Łódź Competition in Poland. Solo and chamber concert invitations have taken her throughout Europe and Asia, and to festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Her chamber music partners include Kolja Blacher, Hartmut Rohde, Mark Gothoni, Danjulo Ishizaka, Jens Peter Maintz, and Andrei Ioniţă. She has performed with such renowned orchestras as the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and appeared in world-class venues, most notably the Berlin Philharmonie, Mariinsky Theatre, and Wigmore Hall.
Ms. Sonoda is in high demand as a collaborative pianist; she was named best collaborative pianist at the International Music Competition in Markneukirchen (2013), Witold Lutosławski International Cello Competition in Warsaw (2015), and XV International Tchaikovsky Competition (2015). Her performances are regularly broadcast on international radio and television, including Kulturradio RBB and ZDF in Germany, NPO Radio 4 in the Netherlands, and the BBC.
Ms. Sonoda studied with Yoko Okumura, Seiko Ezawa, and Mikhail Voskresensky at the Toho Gakuen School of Music before studying at the Universität der Künste Berlin with Rainer Becker. She also studied chamber music with Tabea Zimmermann, Markus Nyikos, and Natalia Gutman. She has taken master classes with Hans Leygraf, Ferenc Rados, Klaus Hellwig, Pascal Devoyon, and Jacques Rouvier. After graduating, Ms. Sonoda was engaged as collaborative pianist by the Universität der Künste Berlin, Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, and Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar.
In the 2017–2018 season, she makes her debut as collaborative pianist at the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo in Colombia, among other recitals in Barcelona, Paris, Romania, and Tokyo.