Gekich plays Liszt

Another example of effortless technique. Like Horowitz, the hands are close to the keys, fingers almost flat. This is Kemal Gekich, the Croation pianist from the coastal town of Split (on my list of places to visit!). He caused a stir in the 1985 Chopin Competition, followed up with performances in Europe, USSR and Japan, then went into seclusion in 1990 for further study.

The ‘first fruits’ of this retreat was the landmark recording of the complete Liszt Transcendental Etudes, generally considered as the best recording of the set ever made. Shortly to follow were the Naxos recording of Liszt-Rossini transcriptions (including the William Tell Overture) which won the “Rosette” Prize from the Penguin Guide to Music, and live recordings from Yugoslavia (VAI), Montreal (Palexa)…In 1999 he was invited to perform at the Miami International Piano Festival. Minutes before he was to walk on stage, a chance glance at a television showed houses burning in his hometown of Novi Sad. It was March 24th; the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia had begun. Instead of canceling, he went out on stage and played what many consider to be the best recital he ever gave, one that launched his current re-emergence as one of the major pianists of our century. (more)

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