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                           Photo by Jean-Pierre Rousset

Pianist Laura Kargul

Laura Kargul was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where she began piano studies at the age of six with Rebecca Frohman. She showed early promise, giving her first solo recital at age 11 and performing as a concerto soloist with orchestra at age 13. As a teenager she attended the National Music Camp at Interlochen, where she studied with Nelita True and won a full scholarship to the University of Michigan. Her principal teachers at Michigan were pianists Leon Fleisher and Theodore Lettvin, and she also served as an assistant to conductor Gustav Meier.

After receiving her doctorate in piano performance from the University of Michigan, Ms. Kargul began to concertize internationally. Her European debut in the Netherlands in 1985 was hailed by the Rotterdams Nieuwsblad as “one of the most remarkable debut recitals recently given in our country.” The following year she played at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and earned immediate recognition as “a world class pianist: This is playing that belongs on our great concert stages.... almost feverishly inspired, so controlled and so thrilling.” (Haagsche Courant, The Hague) Subsequent tours have included solo concerts in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland and the West Indies. As a guest of numerous international music festivals, Ms. Kargul has appeared at the Schleswig-Holstein, Nordhessen, and Eisenacher Summer Music Festivals in Germany; the Evian Music Festival in France; the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca in Italy; and the Lesvos Arts Festival in Greece. She has recorded for radio in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Jamaica, as well as for PBS radio and national television in the United States. As a collaborative artist she has performed with ensembles such as the Lark Quartet and the Da Ponte String Quartet in venues such as Music Mountain in Connecticut and the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

 

Although her repertoire spans from Scarlatti to Rochberg, Laura Kargul has received particular recognition for her playing of the nineteenth century romantics. She is one of few pianists ever invited to give a full recital on Liszt's own Bechstein piano at the Liszthaus in Weimar, Germany and her performances of Liszt have consistently drawn high praise: “Liszt wanted everything from the piano - wildness and fervor, exuberance and humility. Laura Kargul delivers all of it. She is completely absorbed by the music - elegantly floating through the most treacherous passages. It's like childsplay to her... equipped with sparkling brilliance, clean double octaves, and perfectly executed leaps.” (Hessische Allgemeine, Kassel, Germany) At the same time, critics frequently comment upon her unusual versatility and find her performances of works from all periods to be equally compelling: “How convincingly poetic, deeply lyrical and profound, will her playing of Schubert be judged.” (Wiesbadener Kurier, Wiesbaden, Germany) Her newly released solo CD, “Liszt and Ravel: Transcriptions for Piano,” produced by Grammy winner Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering, includes the rarely recorded solo piano version of Ravel’s “La Valse,” and the world premiere recording of excerpts from Ravel’s solo piano arrangement of “Daphnis and Chloé.”

 

Laura Kargul moved to Maine in 1989 to join the piano faculty at the University of Southern Maine, where she now serves as the Director of Keyboard Studies. Devoted to teaching, Ms. Kargul lectures, adjudicates and presents master classes at national and international venues such as the collaborative conference of the National Music Teachers Association, the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations, and The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto where she recently presented her talk, “Piano Technique On (and Off) the Bench.” She resides in Freeport with her husband David and thirteen year old son Gabriel.