Rising stars in the firmament of pianists are always plentiful. Some turn out to be mere shooting stars, burning up as quickly as they appear. But with the duo Zala and Val Kravos, a double star has emerged that is bound to keep shining for a long time. This young duo has great potential, as their debut CD proves.
A very early Mozart sonata, a very late Schubert, music about (not for!) children by Bizet, and a rarity by French female composer Françoise Choveaux make for a fascinatinating program full of contrasts. The Kravos siblings, which are born performers of Choveaux’s “Poème” – the piece was dedicated to them – show off the entire width of their pianistic skill. They have often performed together in the past; now, the young and promising piano duo presents their first recording.
Ingenious, brisk, and confident, the merely 17-year-old Mozart makes a grand statement with his sonata in D major for four hands (KV 381). The youthful composer already proves himself as a master of his art: formally and musically, the piece stands out with its variety and masterful musical ideas. A perfect match for the young piano duo, which gets to work with enthusiasm and vigor. The opposite to a fresh work of youth is Franz Schubert’s mature F minor sonata. Written during his last year of life, and published only posthumously, this magnificant piece is a true litmus test for any piano duo. We probably don’t need to say that Zala and Val Kravos naturally pass this test with bravado.
Georges Bizet’s “Jeux d’enfants” are no trifle. The pieces are difficult, both musically and technically. But they also paint the multifaceted portrait of a childhood, from dreamy scenes to puppet dances to a whooshing festival. An especially thankful arena for all pianists! The same goes for the work of Françoise Choveaux. Her “Poème” clearly has classical roots, and at the same time undoubtedly is a piece from our time. And it is an exciting work for every piano duo – as well as for audiences!
Despite their young age, Zala Kravos and her younger brother Val are exceptional pianists and have been performing internationally for many years. They regularly impress critics and audiences with their talent and musical maturity. In 2019, they completed their chamber music diploma for four-handed piano with accolades from the Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg.
Zala Kravos, born in July 2002 in Slovenia, first came in contact with music in Brussels when she was three years old, and when she was five, started piano lessons in Luxembourg, where she lives with her family. When she was six, she joined the Conservatory of the City of Luxembourg, where she completed all piano diplomas as well as several diplomas in solfège and theory. In addition, between 2012 and 2016, she took lessons with Maria João Pires at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Élisabeth. She continued her education learning from Louis Lortie, until she received the diploma “Jeune Artiste” in 2018. In 2019, she was accepted – on exceptional permission – into the Bachelor of Music honors program at the Royal College of Music in London.
Since she was six years young, she has been performing dozens of times every year and has played concerts in eighteen countries, among them China and the United States. When she turned eight, she began performing regular lieder recitals and appearing as a soloist with orchestras. She also plays chamber music in duos and trios and a repertoire for four hands with her younger brother Val. In 2017, she recorded her first solo album, which was very well received by critics and the media in seven European countries. Spanish music magazine Ritmo introduced her as the world’s youngest pianist and featured her album and a Barenboim recording among the albums of the month.
Val Kravos was born in Slovenia in August 2004. When he was five, he began taking piano lessons in Luxembourg, where he has lived since 2007. He joined the Conservatory of the City of Luxembourg when he was six years old. There, he studied piano, music theory, and several other theoretical subjects.
He took part in several workshops and master classes in Luxembourg and France. As one of the best students of his conservatory, he was a long-time member of the group “Piano Kids Luxembourg, ” which performs in Luxembourg and internationally. From 2018 to 2020, he studied at the Musica Mundi School in Belgium, a special institution for talented young musicians from all over the world, among others with Jacques Rouvier. In addition, he continued his musical studies in Luxembourg and Belgium with Sylvia Thereza, a former assistant of Maria João Pires.
Since he was six, he has regularly performed as soloist or with orchestras and has played concerts in over a dozen different countries. Recently, he began devoting himself to chamber music and specifically four-handed repertoire with his older sister Zala. In 2016, the jury unanomisouly awarded him the “Steinway Prodige Art” award in Luxembourg. In 2016 and 2017, he received the gold medal at the Luxembourg competition for young soloists – again an unanimous decision by the jury and with special recognition – and in 2019, he received the same awards at the European competition for young soloists as well as the special prize awarded by the Luxembourg radio station 100,7 FM.