From Chamber Music for Guitar to PPCM Voice - New Studies at the KUG
With new master's degree programs and new professorships, KUG is developing emphases in the areas of chamber music and new music.
In the field of chamber music, the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz is now offering a new master's program: "Chamber Music with Guitar". For this purpose, Petrit Çeku, an internationally renowned instrumentalist, joins the KUG as a professor. Other new master studies - in the name of the KUG-Motti “variety & interaction” - are “Instrumental- Coaching (Accompanying)” and "Composition and Music Theory Education”.
In addition, the internationally unique curriculum, "Performance Practice in Contemporary Music" (PPCM for short), will be expanded with its own professorship for singing. This task is given to none other than the popular German baritone, Holger Falk, who was also newly appointed to the KUG.
Petrit Çeku attended the Lorenc Antoni Music School from age 9 to 17, where he took lessons in classical guitar from Luan Sapunxhiu. In 2002, he was invited by Xhevdet Sahatxhija to study at the Pavao Markovac School of Music in Zagreb, Croatia. In 2008, he graduated from the Zagreb Academy of Music, having studied in the renowned class of Darko Petrinjak. From 2009 to 2013, he went on to study with the great master Manuel Barrueco at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, USA, where he completed his studies in 2013.
Petrit Çeku has performed in many recitals throughout Europe and the Americas and has been a soloist with orchestras such as Baltimore Symphony, Czech Chamber Philharmonic, State Hermitage Orchestra of St. Petersburg or Zagreb Philharmonic. He appears regularly with the famed Solisti di Zagreb and is a founding member of Guitar Trio Elogio, established in 2008. Hailed by guitar critic Colin Cooper as “a soloist of the highest ability”, he is the first prize winner of many international guitar competitions, including the most prestigious ones such as Parkening International Guitar Competition (Malibu, USA, 2012), Schadt String Competition (Allentown, USA, 2011), Maurizio Biasini International Guitar Competition (Bologna, Italy, 2011) and Pittaluga International Classical Guitar Competition (Alessandria, Italy, 2007).
Petrit Çeku’s first CD was released in 2008 by Naxos. He has recently recorded J.S. Bach's complete Cello Suites (BWV 1007-1012), arranged by Valter Dešpalj, which was released in 2016 under the Spanish label Eudora. He plays a guitar made by Ross Gutmeier.
Along with his repertoire of early and classical music, Holger Falk has a great passion for works from contemporary music theatre. Over the last few years, he has performed Wolfgang Rihm’s major roles: “Jakob Lenz” at the Polish National Opera Warsaw and “Dionysos” at the Heidelberg Theatre as well as the role of Cortez in “Die Eroberung von Mexico” at the Teatro Real Madrid at the invitation of Gérard Mortier. Furthermore, he has premiered many new roles that have been written for him.
In 2017, he was nominated as singer of the year by Opernwelt magazine for the interpretation of Kassandra in Xenaki’s Oresteia at the Theater Basel to which he successfully returned for Wertmüller‘s world premiere “DIODATI. UNENDLICH” in 2019. In 2018, he made his debut at the RuhrTriennale in the role of Jean-Charles in Hans Werner Henze’s “Das Floß der Medusa” with the Bochum Symphony Orchestra. Holger Falk is an enthusiastic singer of Lieder and has performed at the Kölner Philharmonie, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Konzerthaus Berlin, Heidelberger Frühling, Schwetzingen SWR Festival i.a..
For his recording of Hanns Eisler´s “Lieder Vol. 1”, the first part of a 4-CD collection of songs by Eisler (MDG), Holger Falk was honoured with the renowned German Record Critics’ Award 2017, “CD of the month” from Opernwelt and the “Gramophone Editor´s Choice Award”. He also received the ECHO Klassik Award in 2016 for his recording of Erik Satie: “Intégrale des Mélodies et Chansons” and released three CDs which featured Francis Poulenc’s complete oeuvre of 115 Mélodies for male voice (MDG). In 2017/18, his latest recordings of Hanns Eisler “Lieder Vol. 2” and “Vol. 3” released to great acclaim, for "Vol. 3" he has even been nominated for the Opus Klassik 2019 as “Singer of the Year” and “best solo-recording vocal: Lied”.