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Variations Part I & II

Donated by Michelle Kay

Croatian pianist Maksim Mrvica makes his second album for EMI Classics. Entitled Variations Part I & II, it includes a collection of classical and pop themes, recorded in the UK and Croatia with a variety of internationally renowned producers and writers including Youth, Tonci Huljic and Tolga Kashif. The young Croatian pianist has also written his own composition for this album, based on a theme by Paganini, which features alongside other popular classical works including Liszt’s Totentanz, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Scriabin’s Etude in D sharp minor.

Maksim trained as a classical pianist for many years in his home country and gave his first public performance at the age of nine. War broke out in Croatia in 1990 but Maksim was determined to continue his musical studies. He spent five years at the Music Academy in Zagreb studying with Professor Vladimir Krpan (a pupil of Arturo Benedetto Michelangeli) followed by a year at the Ferenc Liszt Conservatoire in Budapest. During this time, he won first prize in the Nicolai Rubinstein International Piano Competition in 1999 and the following year he moved to Paris to study with Igor Lazko, and in 2001 he gained first prize in the Pontoise Piano Competition.

Maksim’s first disc Gestures featured contemporary Croatian piano pieces and this became one of the fastest-selling recordings ever to be released in his home country, winning four Porin (Croatian Grammies), including one for Best Classical album. He went on to make his debut album The Piano Player on EMI Classics, released world-wide in June 2003. The Piano Player has achieved Double Platinum status in Hong Kong, Platinum in Taiwan, Singapore and Croatia and Gold status in Malaysia, Indonesia and China. Maksim’s increasing international popularity led to an extensive tour during 2003/4, particularly throughout Asia.

Maksim said "I’ve been completely taken aback by how younger international audiences have responded so enthusiastically to my music. My ambition was always to bring my love of classical music to others through both live performances and recordings and does suddenly feel as if my dream is coming true."

Theo Lap, Vice-President of International Marketing at EMI Classics said "Maksim is a dynamic and inventive musical personality. We respect the commitment and dedication he has brought to both ‘The Piano Player’ and ‘Variations’ and look forward to continued success with his forthcoming release."