Praised by the legendary Martha Argerich as "one of the best young musicians I ever heard in my life", Italian pianist Irene Russo (1974) appeared on the big international stages like one of the most interesting talents of her generation. In July 2008 she was the recipient of the First Prize at the Dorothy MacKenzie International Piano Award in New York.
Current season 12/13 started with recitals in Italy, including the Benetton Foundation in Treviso, followed by Masterclass at the Metropolia University of Helsinki and guest soloist appearances with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Her official sold-out debut in the Main Hall of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in December will be followed by a concert in deSingel of Antwerp together with German clarinettist and composer Jörg Widmann and a Masterclass in Spain at the Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Castellon de la Plana.
During last season 11/12 she has performed in various concert venues like: Amsterdam Muziekgebouw and Beurs van Berlage, Padua Villa Marcello, Brussels Theatre Flagey, Bologna Sala Borsa, including a performance at Flemish Opera House of Antwerp at the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium. Highlights of season 10/11 have included engagements with l’Orchestre National of the Pays de la Loire and John Axelrod (Prokofiev n.3), a production in cooperation with the Royal Ballet of Flanders and English choreographer David Dawson, followed by concerts in Korea, Austria, Italy and Germany. Previous season 09/10 have included performances in Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and debut in South Africa; during season 08/09 she has performed at Bechstein International Concerts Series, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, deSingel Antwerp, Berlin, as well as recordings for the Dutch Radio and Television. In seasons 05/06 and 07/08 she was guest soloist with the Klassische Philharmonie conducted by H. Beissel, performing both Brahms 1st and 2nd piano concertos in the most important German concert halls such as: Beethovenhalle Bonn, Musikhalle Hamburg, dieGlocke Bremen, Meistersingerhalle Nürnberg, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Herkulessaal Munich, and culminated in a sold-out Berlin Konzerthaus, where she received great acclaim from public and press, followed by debut in Stuttgart Liederhalle and concerts in Spain.
In 2000 Irene Russo won the Clara Schumann International Piano Competition in Düsseldorf, where she was particularly praised by the Jury: Joachim Kaiser ("She reminds me of a young Kempff"), Nelson Freire, Maria Tipo and Martha Argerich ("Mademoiselle Russo à toute mon admiration") among others. Ms. Russo is also Prize Winner of the 2002 ARD International Piano Competition in Munich, where she received the Special Prize for the Best Interpretation of Contemporary Music. Living composers, among which Jörg Widmann, have written works especially for her. In 2003, Irene Russo was also awarded with the Mention of Honour at the Martha Argerich International Piano Competition.
In recent seasons Ms. Russo has been invited to perform in prestigious Festivals, including: Schloss-Elmau, La Roque d’Antheron International Piano Festival, Heidelberg Spring Music Festival, Robert Schumann Festival, Beethoven Klavier Festival, Festival van Vlaanderen, Festival International de Marseille, Musica Viva Festival, Eclat Neue Musik, Bergen International Contemporary Music Festival, Klavier Festival Freiburg, Festival Ten Holt and LekArt Festival.
Among her teachers: Lazar Berman at the International Piano Academy "Incontri col Maestro" in Imola and Alicia de Larrocha ("El recuerdo que nos deja es fabuloso!") in Barcelona.
Irene Russo has appeared as guest soloist with leading orchestras, among which: Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro San Carlo, Kiev Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra da Camera di Mantova, Klassische Philharmonie, Houston OrchestraX, Orchestra da Camera della Toscana, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, Craiova Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with conductors such as Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli, Susanna Mälkki, David Stern, Fabio Mastrangelo, Alexander Liebreich, Marc Andreae, Misha Damev, Ovidiu Balan and Michel Tilkin.
Her international career started in 1993 in Sydney. Since then Ms. Russo has played extensively through all Europe, United States, Canada, Latin America and Middle-East; she has performed in important concert venues including: Steinway Hall New York, Auditorium Verdi Milan, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, Palais des Beaux-Arts Bruxelles, Beurs van Berlage Amsterdam, Teatro Comunale Bologna, Zilkha Hall Houston, Arthur Rubinstein Society Tel Aviv, Palau de la Musica Valencia, Teatro Municipal Lisbon, Jack Singer Hall Calgary, Queen Elizabeth Hall and deSingel Antwerp, Teatro San Carlo Naples, Cleveland, Madrid, Paris, Zurich, Barcelona, etc.
Her discography includes CD's for Brilliant Classics, Edipan and Oehms Classics, DVD for WERGO as well as television recordings on: Italian RAI, ZDF, Alpha BR and CBC Canada. Her studio/live recordings are regularly broadcasted on: SWR, NDR, ARD, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Radio 3 Belgium, D-Radio Berlin, North-American KUHF, France Musique, Radio 4 Holland.
Passionate chamber musician, Ms. Russo has collaborated with: Jörg Widmann, Alexander Lonquich, Valerie Guillorit, Gabriele Cassone, Frank Reinecke, David Adorjan, Alissa Margulis, Carolin Widmann, Genevieve Strosser, Zoltan Kovacs and Nadja Helble among others.
Dedicated teacher, since 2008 Irene Russo holds a professorship at the Royal Music Conservatory of Antwerp and she’s also on faculty at the Music Conservatoire of Castelfranco Veneto (Venice), where since 2010 she’s member of the Artistic Board. Recently she was offered a professorship at the LUCA School of Arts in Leuven (Campus Lemmens Instituut). She's often invited to gives Master Classes and Lectures in Conservatoria and Universities in The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain and Belgium. She serves regularly as jury member at various international piano competitions.