“ … The playing of this couple is simply phenomenal.”
-Juan Krakenberger, Mundo Clásico
The Piano Duo Shalamov, established in 2009, is an astonishing example of a special musical formation: two individual pianists, musicians and artists, performing in an extraordinary symbiosis; two personalities, with their individual ideas and emotions, unified in their making of music. Their collaboration has truly been very successful and has led them to great achievements, despite their young age.
Winning the 1st prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in September 2015 surely is one of their most extraordinary recognitions. Alina and Nikolay not only received the highest evaluation from the jury, but were also awarded the audience prize, as well as the prize for the best performance of the obligatory composition by Ferran Cruixent, commissioned especially for the competition that year. This success has now become part of the 64 year old history of the ARD Competition during which only two first prizes have been awarded in the Piano duo category.
Competitions have always played an important part in the duo’s development. In 2013, they won the 4th prize at the 2nd Arthur Rubinstein competition in Moscow. In 2015, Alina and Nikolay achieved the 2nd prize at the 4th International chamber music competition in Ciudade de Alcobaça in Portugal, followed shortly afterwards by a 1st prize, as well as the prize for the best interpretation of a composition by Franz Schubert at the Piano duo competition in Jeseník (Czech Republic).
Alina and Nikolay began playing together as a duo in Bulgaria – Alina’s home country – under the supervision and direction of Professor Milena Mollova, a world renowned Bulgarian pianist and one of the few students of the legendary Emil Gilels. Both pianists were students in her piano class at the National Music Academy “Pantcho Vladigerov” and the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. During this time, the duo won the 1st prize at the International competition “Franz Schubert” in Ruse. These distinctions encouraged them to work with even more enthusiasm as a duo and to continue their collaboration as an official ensemble.
Shortly after, Duo Shalamov moved to Madrid (Spain) after being accepted at the prestigious school of music “Reina Sofia”. For the period from 2011–2013, the young couple had the chance to expand their repertoire and work with a number of great musicians, such as Ralf Gothóni, Eldar Nebolsin, Kennedy Moretti and Alexander Bonduryanski. Their studies in Madrid were rewarded by being invited to play at the Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, and at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona – two of the most important concert halls in Spain.
In their early years of musical training, both Alina and Nikolay have participated as soloists in many national and international competitions, too, and have given recitals both in Europe and Russia. Their festival appearances include the Varna Summer Festival, (Varna, Bulgaria), the March Music Days, (Ruse, Bulgaria), the Sofia Music Weeks, (Sofia, Bulgaria), the Youth Musical Festival (Bern, Switzerland), the Concertino Praha (Czech Republic), as well as various music festivals in Spain (Madrid, Toledo, Santander) and many others.
In the summer of 2015, the duo was invited to the Tel-Hai Master class in Israel. Having been awarded a scholarship for the course, Alina and Nikolay spent two very intense weeks working with the successful duo Tami Kanazawa and Yuval Admony (Japan/ Israel).
Currently, Alina and Nikolay Shalamov reside in Rostock (Germany), having the wonderful opportunity to extend their musical knowledge and experience while studying with Prof. Hans-Peter und Prof. Volker Stenzl, both renowned musicians and pedagogues themselves, as well as with their assistants, the duo Olha Chipak and Oleksiy Kushnir. Alina and Nikolay are in their last semester pursuing a piano duo Konzertexamen degree at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Rostock. The school has also given them the chance to participate, as part of their education, in the master class of the famous French pianist Jacques Rouvier.
Most recently Duo Shalamov won the very prestigious Musikpreis by the Bruno FreyStiftung.