Laura Kargul's new CD, “Liszt and Ravel: Transcriptions for Piano,” produced by Grammy award winner Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering and DVD, includes the rarely recorded Liszt arrangement of Beethoven’s song cycle "An die ferne Geleibte," the world premiere recording of excerpts from Ravel’s piano arrangement of "Daphnis and Chloé," and the spectacular solo piano version of Ravel’s orchestral tour de force, "La Valse: Poème Chorégraphique." Also included are Liszt's monumental transcription of Wagner's "Liebestod" and several of his stunning arrangements of songs by Schubert and Schumann.
American pianist Laura Kargul first came to international attention in 1985 when her European debut in the Netherlands was hailed by the Rotterdams Nieuwsblad as “one of the most remarkable debut recitals recently given in our country.” The following year Ms. Kargul 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 performances 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, the Lesvos Arts Festival in Greece, the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and Music Mountain in Connecticut. 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.
Although her repertoire spans from Scarlatti to Rochberg, Laura Kargul has been recognized in particular for her poetic virtuosity in playing the nineteenth century romantics. “Unassuming, without exaggerated gestures, Laura Kargul enters the stage and astounds her audience.... with great wealth of expression.... visible and audible perfection in technique.” (Thüringische Landeszeitung, Eisenach, Germany) 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 on her unusual versatility and find equally compelling her renditions of works from all periods: “How convincingly poetic, deeply lyrical and profound, will her playing of Schubert be judged.” (Wiesbadener Kurier, Wiesbaden, Germany)
Laura Kargul's early piano studies began at the age of six with Rebecca Frohman and she made her concerto debut with orchestra in her native Detroit at thirteen. 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 were pianists Leon Fleisher and Theodore Lettvin and conductor Gustav Meier. Ms. Kargul holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Michigan and is now the Director of Keyboard Studies at the University of Southern Maine, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1989. She currently resides in Freeport, Maine.