A rising star in Paris, 28 year old American pianist Ivan Ilić is gaining international recognition for his “unique blend of a Gallic touch, a Slavic soul and a mathematician’s precision.”
A disciple of the legendary François-René Duchâble, Ivan took degrees in music and mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley before leaving for Paris with a Hertz Travelling Fellowship from the University. Shortly afterwards Ivan was admitted to the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, where he took a Premier Prix in piano performance. At age 20 he launched a solo recital career that has taken him to Belgium, Ireland, Serbia, the Czech Republic, America, and throughout France and the United Kingdom.
Over 55 solo engagements for 2007 include solo recital debuts in Boston, Washington, Dublin, Bristol, Glasgow, and Cardiff in addition to festivals throughout Europe. Ivan will give his Carnegie Hall recital debut in June 2008 at Weill Hall, followed by his Wigmore Hall debut in London.
Ivan's playing is often broadcast on television and radio in America, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Serbia. In 2006-07 he was a laureate of the Nadia Boulanger Foundation in Paris; the city of Paris sponsored his last recording.
Reviews from Autumn 2007:
"The silence that greeted the build-up of tension towards the middle of the piece was evidence of Mr Ilić's tremendous stage presence and charisma...[he] paid particular close attention to the pacing of [Liszt's Dante Sonata] as a whole, and he measured silences and tempi the way a master chef measures ingredients for a main course. He held nothing back, and the result was thrilling...an unforgettable pianist, one who takes risks with his audience and leaves a room full of new fans."
- Leslie Gordon Inverurie Herald, Scotland, November 16th 2007
"...Ilić's control of the sound of the piano is staggering, and the subtlety and precision of his playing are enough to make you blink. But Ilić has something more to offer in addition to his total command at the piano: his humanity. The [Liszt Dante] Sonata is a tremendous showpiece...he launched into demonic tempos with gusto...Ilić was greeted with a roar of enthusiasm after the final chords."
- Rebecca Davidson Stornoway Gazette, Scotland, November 15th 2007
"The music was full of light, space and colour...the second half, which started with Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantasie, relaxed into a more rhapsodic, richly colourful and evocative mood. [Ilić] played it with sensuality and eloquence and the sound of the piano became lush and romantic. [He] explored all these musical avenues in a lucid and exciting way."
- Peter Podmore Southern Reporter, Scotland, November 15th 2007
A bold mix of modern and Romantic works...[Debussy's] Préludes...were navigated with mastery and finesse by Mr Ilić, who is obviously very comfortable in the French repertoire...a transparent and moving account of the Chopin Polonaise-Fantasy. The evening closed with Liszt's Sonnet no 47 and the Dante Sonata. The first was a lesson in elegance, the second in virtuosity..."
- Brian Maclean Northern Scot, Scotland, November 9th 2007
"...the entire hall seemed to pulsate... Ilić played with verve and panache, obviously enjoying himself...[his] luminous sound was well-suited to the Chopin Polonaise-Fantasy and the Liszt Sonnet, whereas Liszt's Dante Sonata proved that Ilić is happy to indulge his considerable gift for impetuous virtuosity. Perhaps most impressive was his control of the sound of the instrument throughout the afternoon, the silences well-judged, and the gratifying louder passages never marred by excess. Let's hope he'll return."
- Christina Prescott Western Telegraph, Wales, October 29th 2007
"Ivan Ilić is one of those select performers who possess the extra spark that makes them thrilling and truly memorable artists. Ilić began his recital at the Tabernacle Arts Centre in Machynlleth this month by taking a big risk with Afterglow, recently written for him by the American composer Keeril Makan. This haunting piece, almost metaphysical in mood, was paced brilliantly by Ilić. The entire work had an underwater feel, and the six Debussy Préludes that followed emerged from a similarly refined approach to resonance. Ilić's sensual playing and fluid gestures sculpted each sound, each silence."
- William Harper Owens County Times, Wales, October 19th 2007
"The concert demonstrated artistic potential of the highest order...the harmonic richness of eight Debussy preludes from the second livre was palpable, and Ilić brought out the subtle shades of colour with a poet’s ear. Ondine was particularly compelling, the elusive spirit of the water nymph captured exquisitely. Following the intermission, Ilić gave one of Chopin’s most satisfying works, the Polonaise-Fantasy. He brought out Chopin’s complex lineage of Bach and Schubert, and the playing was restrained and elegant throughout..."
- John Morgan Western Mail, Wales, September 25th 2007
"Once in a while you experience something quite extraordinary at a concert, and this was one of those occasions. Ivan Ilić is an extremely talented American pianist with a wonderful technique, a relaxed style and an easy manner with his audience...Ilić has the ability to get under the skin of his music...he gave a dazzling performance of music by Händel, Debussy, Chopin and Liszt. Nothing interrupted the glorious flow of music and the depth of feeling in every note, making this a very special concert."
- Malcolm Rees South Wales Evening Post, Wales, September 22nd 2007