Jura Margulis is a third generation pianist and pedagogue; born in Russia, raised in Germany, American by choice, European at heart. He divides his time between the McAllister endowed professorship for Piano at the J.W. Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences in Fayetteville, USA, and traveling internationally as a concert pianist, master teacher, and lecturer. Internationally acclaimed as a multifaceted concert and recording artist, Margulis is praised for his “absolute authority”, “controlled obsession” (Fono Forum), “impulsive and contemplative aesthetics” (FAZ), and “effortless spontaneity” (Washington Post). "After the performance one fleetingly thinks of the pianists that became legends, but comparisons are impermissible. Margulis is a master sui generis (of his own kind)." (Salzburg Drehpunkt Kultur). Jura Margulis' orchestral appearances include performances with the Russian National Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit. The past seasons have brought him to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Dallas, Cincinnati, Carmel, Austin, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Memphis, and New Orleans in the US, as well as abroad to Berlin, Freiburg, Elmau, Salzburg, Vienna, Warsaw, Bologna, Bruxelles, Bayreuth, Budapest, Bangkok, Barcelona, Madrid, Moscow, St.Petersburg, Seoul, Sapporo, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Aix-en-Provence, Tbilisi, Yerevan, and Lugano. Margulis has recorded numerous CDs covering a wide spectrum of repertoire from Bach to Berg; over 50 titles from his CDs can be found on iTunes. His latest CDs include an all Liszt Piano/Violin Duo recording with his sister Alissa Margulis; a world premier recording of Berg's '7 early songs' and the original 20 songs version of Schumann's Dichterliebe with Tenor Arnold Bezuyen; and a world premier recording on the MSP Steingraeber D-232 with an all Schubert Con Sordino program. The MSP website www.margulissordinopedal.com states: "The Margulis Sordino Pedal is a quantum leap for the dynamic (sound volume) and spectral (sound color) expressive palette of the modern concert grand piano." Margulis is the artistic director of the Fulbright Concerto Competition, an international piano contest in the US, and the executive director of the International Piano Academy Freiburg, a summer master class and piano festival in Germany. Jura Margulis is regularly invited as a judge in international piano competitions, most recently in the ARD Music Competition in Munich. He is a founding member of the Margulis Family Trio with his sisters Alissa and Natalia and performs with Martha Argerich on two pianos in Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and the USA. Jura Margulis is the host of PtoP, www.pianisttopianist.com, a weblog of thoughts, observations, methodology, rules, exceptions, aphorisms, and secrets from pianist to pianist. Margulis has two sons, Alexander and Nikolai, and in his leisure time tries to pursue superficial entertainment, literature, philosophy, history, poetry, jogging, whimsies, and social media with dignity.
Born in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, Russia, Jura Margulis was raised in Germany, where he studied with his father, Dr. Vitaly Margulis, at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. He finished the MM in 1994. He was also a student at the prestigious Fondazione per il Pianoforte in Cadenabbia at Lake Como in Italy, where he studied - amongst others - with Dimitri Bashkirov, Fou Ts'ong, Murray Perahia, Alexis Weissenberg, Leon Fleisher, and Karl-Ulrich Schnabel (1995/1996). He moved to the United States to study with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where he finished the Post Graduate Performance Diploma in 1998.
Performances and Awards
Jura Margulis' orchestral appearances include performances with the Russian National Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, the Südwestrundfunk Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Venezuela, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Prague Symphony Orchestra. He has played in numerous festivals, including the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, the Berliner Festwochen at Berlin Philharmonic Hall, the Internationale Sommerakademie Mozarteum in Austria, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, and the Argerich-Beppu Music Festival in Japan. He has won prizes in more than a dozen international competitions, including Busoni in Italy and Guardian in Ireland. He is also a recipient of the esteemed Pro Europa prize awarded by the European Foundation for Culture. The past seasons have brought him to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Dallas, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Little Rock, Tulsa, Carmel, Austin, Phoenix, San Jose, Minneapolis, Memphis, and New Orleans in the US, as well as abroad to Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Elmau, Salzburg, Vienna, Warsaw, Bologna, Bruxelles, Bayreuth, Budapest, Bangkok, Barcelona, Madrid, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Seoul, Sapporo, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Aix-en-Provence, Tbilisi, Yerevan, and Lugano. Active as a chamber musician Margulis performed with, among others, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Lilya ZIlberstein, Alissa Margulis, Arnold Bezuyen, the soloists of the Moscow Virtuosi, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Moscow String Quartet. Jura Margulis is a founding member of the Margulis Family Trio. He has also concertized with Martha Argerich on two pianos in Germany, Japan, and the USA.
Pianist Jura Margulis has been recognized for his compellingly communicative performances, as well as for the range of his tonal palette and his consummate virtuosity. Reviewers have praised the “absolute authority” of his interpretations and the sense of “controlled obsession” he transmits at the keyboard (Fono Forum). The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung noted that his aesthetic is both “impulsive and contemplative.” The Los Angeles Times praised his “excellent pianism” and called him “highly musical”. The Washington Post applauded his “titanic reserves of sheer power” and his “effortless spontaneity.” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram called his performance “ … the perfect Beethoven for the audience of our time … sweeping lyricism … imagination, originality, and good taste pervaded every phrase.” In August 2011 Drehpunkt Kultur in Salzburg writes: "After the performance one fleetingly thinks of the pianists that became legends, but comparisons are impermissible. Margulis is a master sui generis (of his own kind)."
- 1991: Schumann, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Liszt, Moszkowsky
- 1998: Maurice Ravel, Serge Prokofiev
- 1999: Jura Margulis "live on the Horowitz Steinway 503" - Schubert, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Skriabin
- 2000: Schumann, Liszt, Debussy
- 2003: Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Medtner, Stravinsky
- 2006: Transkriptions: Bach, Gluck, Schubert, Wagner, Saint-Saëns, Caplet
- 2009: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Berg
- 2011: Liszt, Violin-Piano Duo, Alissa Margulis, violin
- 2013: Schumann (Dichterliebe in Original Version, 20 songs), Berg (Sieben frühe Lieder, world premier recording with male voice), Arnold Bezuyen, Tenor
- 2014: Schubert Con Sordino (world premier of the Margulis Sordino Pedal Steingraeber D-232)
Margulis has recorded ten CDs for Sony, Ars Musici, and Oehms Classics, covering a wide spectrum of repertoire. These recordings have attracted substantial attention, including selection as a “reference recording” by Fono Forum, and inclusion on the “Bestenliste” of the Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (the German Recording Review). His most recent CD, featuring piano transcriptions of music from Bach to Caplet, received a 10 out of 10 for “artistic quality” from KlassikHeute. The accompanying review applauded his “ability to structure the Bach Chaconne, to build momentum and at the right moment to gently abate … not since Horowitz’s old RCA recording have I encountered a performance of Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre that so grippingly leaps from the stage, as here in Jura Margulis’ own transcription.” The review also noted that Margulis’ own transcription of a little-known piece by André Caplet “should, like Ravel’s own transcription of his La Valse, claim a place in the repertoire of young pianists.” Klassik.com, also giving the CD its highest rating, raved that Margulis “cannot be praised enough.” Margulis’ Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Berg CD was released in fall of 2009; “This CD is one of the best played, best interpreted, best programmed recitals of piano music of the year,” writes All Music Guide. In 2011 a CD with the complete Liszt violin and piano duo repertoire with his sister Alissa Margulis was released. In 2013 Margulis released a CD recording of Schumann’s Dichterliebe in original version and Berg’s Seven Early Songs with tenor Arnold Bezuyen. Over 50 titles from his CDs can be found on iTunes.
Teaching and Administration
Jura Margulis is a third generation pianist and teacher and piano pedagogy is an integral part of his artistic vision. His yearly master classes in the US and abroad, including courses in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Slovenia, Armenia, Israel, Russia, Korea, and Japan, center around his pedagogical concept: The Unified Piano School, A synthesis of piano pedagogy and performance traditions, which bridges the Russian School's concentration on sound, imagination, and physical technique, and the German School's focus on structure, rhythmic coherence, and style. He has lectured on this concept at numerous forums including the World Piano Pedagogy Conference and the International Summer Academy at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Margulis is the artistic director of the Fulbright Concerto Competition, an international contest for pianists in Fayetteville, and the executive director of the “International Piano Academy Freiburg”, a summer master class and piano festival in Germany. He is regularly invited as a judge in international piano competitions, most recently in the ARD Music Competition in Munich. Since 2008 Margulis is the inaugural holder of the Emily J. McAllister Endowed Professorship in Piano at the J.W. Fulbright College of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Jura Margulis is the host of PtoP, http://www.pianisttopianist.com, a weblog of thoughts, ideas, concepts, observations, suggestions, research, methodology, discoveries, rules, exceptions, aphorisms, and secrets from pianist to pianist. He is a writer for the Huffington Post's Arts & Culture section - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jura-margulis. In 2014 Margulis released a CD on a MSP Steingraeber D-232. The MSP website http://www.margulissordinopedal.com states: "The Margulis Sordino Pedal is a quantum leap for the dynamic (sound volume) and spectral (sound color) expressive palette of the modern concert grand piano".