21 January 1956 |
Peter Ritzen (born 21 January 1956) is a Flemish pianist composer and conductor.
Life and career
Peter Ritzen studied piano and chamber music at the Royal Conservatory of his native city Ghent. His teachers were Louis Pas and François Glorieux. He continued his training at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, with the Russian pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva. He graduated with the Diplôme Supérieure d'Exécution for Piano from the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris 'Alfred Cortot'. His teacher there was the Polish Piano pedagogue Marian Ribicky.
As a concert pianist, Ritzen has played throughout Europe, Asia and the US. He cooperated as a soloist with many well known orchestras and ensembles. He is an acclaimed interpreter of Franz Liszt & Theodor Leschetizky. His contact with the Chinese Culture resulted in a whole repertoire of own China related compositions. As a result of free classical improvising in concerts on the piano, he transcribed numerous Chinese folk songs, award winning movie themes and Viennese waltzes. Ritzen is a composer of massive works with many performers (+400). His transcendental symphony 'Heavenly Peace', world premiered in 2005 is a typical work in this magnitude. Peter Ritzen is a performing artist for Naxos Records.
Ritzen is the founder and artistic director of the International Theodor Leschetizky Summer Academy at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien (University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna) since 1991. In 2000 & 2004 he was invited to be the artistic director and chairman of the Jury of the International Piano Competition 'Theodor Leschetizky' in Taipei.
In 2015, Peter Ritzen was appointed artistic director of the New Cosmos International Music Festival. The inaugural concert was held at the Haydnsaal of Schloss Esterházy in Eisenstadt, Austria under Ritzen's baton.The world famous cellist Christine Walevska was one of the featured soloists. The festival intends to combine Far East Musicians with European Music traditions.
In 2016 Peter Ritzen is appointed as music director of "Das Akademie Orchester" in Vienna. The 65-member ensemble is directly related to the International Summer Academie Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna.
- Chinese Rhapsody Nr.1 (1987)
- Chinese Rhapsody Nr.2 'Dance of the little happy Buddhas' (1989)
- Chinese Rhapsody Nr.3 'Chinese Market' (1989)
- Sonata for Piano ('Adamant Variations') (1991)
- Award Winning Movie Themes (1999) [13 free transcriptions on famous movie themes]
- 4 Transcriptions on Viennese Waltzes of Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehár en Robert Stolz (2008)
- 4 Transcriptions on Chinese folk songs (2009)
- 3 Spanish Songs for soprano & piano on poems by Santiago Rupérez-Durá (1989)
- 15 Transcriptions on Chinese folk songs for soprano & strings. (1998)
- Piano Quintet in F# minor (2006)
- Eyskens Lieder Nr.1-2 for soprano, baritone and piano on text of Mark Eyskens (2015)
Concertos for piano and orchestra
- Concerto Nr.1 'China in the Year of the Dragon'. (A Paraphrase on Southern Chinese Opera: 'A Fantastic Dream in the Garden') (1989)
- Concerto 'The Last Empress' (Paraphrase on the Chinese Peking Opera 'Last Empress' 1908) (1994)
- Concerto for Taiwan (2000)
- Chinese Requiem for soprano, piano, choir, grand orchestra en Chinese percussion, on a poem by Santiago Rupérez Durá. (1990–1994)
- Chinese Violin Rhapsody (1994)
- Chinese Flute Concerto (1995)
- Symphonic Poem 'Hua Chiao' [Overseas Chinese] for soprano and orchestra. (Libretto:Santiago Rupérez Durá) (1997)
- Transcendental Symphony 'Heavenly Peace' for organ, choir, grand orchestra, Chinese percussion- & instruments and soloists.[Libretto: Santiago Rupérez Durá (2003)
- Sacred symphonic poem:'Finis est infinitus' for soprano, choir, large ensemble and percussion. [Libretto: Peter Ritzen (Hebrew, German) and Latin: 'Salve Regina'] (2009)
- Cantata 'Wilde Roos' for organ, choir, piano (orchestra), French horn, percussion, and soloists. Libretto: poems of Anton van Wilderode. Composed in 2011, Beijing.