Born of a Greek father and a
Peruvian mother, Alexandros Kapelis grew up in both countries. He has spent his adult life in New York, Brussels, and currently lives in Venice.
Born of a Greek father and a Peruvian mother, Alexandros Kapelis grew up in both countries and enjoyed the advantages of a dual heritage. He began playing the piano when he was five years old and at the age of 20 moved to New York, where early in his career he was recognized by the Inter Press Service (IPS) as “one of the most promising young classical musicians of any nationality working in New York today.” The Washington Post also praised him for his “scintillating performance,” whereas the San Francisco Piedmont Post noted him for his “full range of technique in rendering the total palette of keyboard colors.” He has appeared throughout Europe, the United States, Latin America, the Middle East, and Japan.
As a soloist, Kapelis’ highlights include appearances with the Royal Philharmonic in London and the Prague Symphony Orchestra, amongst others. Currently, he is enjoying a collaboration with the acclaimed ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berliner Barock Solisten, having recently recorded the complete Bach concertos for solo keyboard and orchestra (BWV 1052-1058). Kapelis’ reading will be the first complete release since 2005. Only five pianists have ever recorded the entire set; this is also the first time that the celebrated ensemble from the Berlin Philharmonic has recorded these works.
An active chamber music player, he has collaborated with artists that include violinists Renaud Capuçon and Janine Jansen, violist Yuri Bashmet, cellist Mischa Maisky, clarinetist Stanley Drucker, trumpeter Sergei Nakariakov, as well as ensembles from the Philharmonia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic (Philharmonic Chamber Soloists). He came to the attention of Martha Argerich and in 2007 he moved to Brussels, where he spent four years near the great pianist, performing alongside Argerich and participating in several editions of the Lugano Martha Argerich Project.
As a recitalist, Kapelis made his mark with an unprecedented program inspired by Greek mythology. This recital took him to venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, the United Nations in New York, the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City, the Salle Cortot and UNESCO in Paris, the Lugano Festival, a recital tour through Japan, as well as the leading Italian venues, including the Parco della Musica (Rome), Auditorium LaVerdi (Milano), Teatro della Pergola (Florence), Politeama Garibaldi (Palermo), Teatro Olimpico (Vicenza), and Palazzo Labia - RAI Veneto (Venice). Unanimously praised by the press, the concerts were recogninized as ”a program created by an artist of genius” (Giornale di Vicenza) and “a pianist building a career of mythic proportions” (Oakland Tribune).
Upcoming highlights in 2024 see Kapelis on a tour with baritone Thomas Hampson focusing on Schubert’s creative heights of 1827 with the Winterreise and the Op. 90 Impromptus, appearing from March to May in Bern (Kulturcasino), Basel (Stadtcasino), Bremen (Die Glocke), Frankfurt (Alte Oper), Munich (Herkulessaal), and Vienna (Musikverein). July will see Kapelis focused on Bach, always with the Berliner Barock Solisten, performing the complete concertos for solo keyboard and orchestra in one evening in London’s Barbican Hall, as well as in Paris’ Théâtre des Champs Élysées in partnership with Radio Classique. In addition, a new documentary featuring a special performance at Bach's final resting place, Leipzig’s St. Thomas Church, will also premiere this summer. In September, Kapelis appears in Venice alongside Martha Argerich and the Berliners for the launch of his Epicenter Venice Festival, followed by the Schumann Concerto in China with the Xi'an Symphony Orchestra in the Fall and more Schubert performances at the Gstaad New Year Festival in December.
Off stage, Kapelis’ wide range of interests have often led him to bridge music with history, the visual arts, the environment, and other current issues. In this capacity, he has acted as Artistic Director/Advisor for various institutions. In 2016, he came to the attention of the late Pierre Cardin and teamed up with the French cultural icon as Artistic Director of the chamber music series at his Festival de Lacoste. In Italy, he was given the title of Artist in Residence in Venice by the Malipiero Foundation in 2014, and the summer of 2021 found him leading the campaign “Renaissance: The New Breadth of Venice”, with performances aimed at restarting the city's cultural life as it gradually recovered from the pandemic. Last year, Kapelis launched Epicenter Venice, a new international music festival that sees him as Artistic Director and Founder.
Alexandros Kapelis holds a Bachelor’s degree from the American College of Greece, and a Master’s degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York. His main teachers have been Rosa Basurco in Peru, Dimitri Toufexis in Greece, Diane Walsh and Julius Levine in New York, and Noretta Conci and Gwenneth Pryor in London. He also attended the conducting masterclasses of Bruno Aprea (Rome Arts Academy) and Gianluigi Gelmetti (Accademia Chigiana). He conducted Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare at the Ernen Festival and nowadays leads Bach and Mozart piano concertos from the keyboard.
Since early in his career, Alexandros Kapelis has been involved with various humanitarian causes, most notably performing in London for Fight for Sight, a leading UK charity dedicated to medical research; in New York for the United World Colleges under the patronage of HRH Prince Pavlos of Greece; and in Athens for the Greek Society for the Protection and Rehabilitation of the Disabled (ELEPAP). Under the aegis of UNESCO, in 2019 he founded PROJECT ECO (Earth Connections Orchestra), an initiative that aims to combine music and the environment. On a personal note, Alexandros Kapelis has created The Greco-Latin Trust in order to help young musicians from countries facing economic difficulties, specifically Greece and Latin America. Inspired by his years as a student in New York, the Trust's objective is to raise funds every year in order to provide a living stipend to a full-time piano student.
Alexandros Kapelis is a Steinway Artist. He lives in Venice.
"A rarity among his generation, Kapelis plays expressively and evocatively. His emotional and psychological explorations into music make him one of the most promising young classical musicians of any nationality in New York today."
INTER PRESS SERVICE- IPS (New York)
"Kapelis threw himself forcefully into the wild raptures of Claude Debussy's 'The Joyous Island' and expertly limned the classical poise of his 'Dancers of Delphi.'"
THE WASHINGTON POST (Washington, D.C.)
"There is in his playing a precision of rhythm, a dedication to clarity and a clear attentiveness to form. One can almost see him listening to the composer’s voice. This was especially obvious in the concluding piece of the program, Rachmaninoff’s Études-Tableaux, Op. 33. Closest to Kapelis’ essence as a musician, these miniature tone poems require dramatic expressiveness, but it is an expressiveness best served by containment and control… Kapelis engaged that challenge with a driving energy, under which must beat a passionate heart."
PIEDMONT POST (San Francisco)
"Kapelis does not indulge aimlessly from one note to the other, neither does he linger unnecessarily. Thus, he sounds neither vulgar nor flashy. On top of that, he masters lyricism and passion convincingly and with bravura."
THE ORIZZONT (Valetta, Malta)
"Kapelis proved to be a well-schooled performer of Scarlatti, achieving the always-difficult adaptation from the current piano to the baroque clavicembalo. The artist once more was faithful to the pristine text... Kapelis displayed his traits as a virtuoso of the keyboard, without any concession to the public nor to decadent sentimentality. "
DIARI DE BALEARS (Mallorca, Spain)
Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic, offers his congratulations
RAI Veneto Palazzo Labia, Venice
"Kapelis possesses as undeniable temperamental vein and a dominion over the Lutoslawski Paganini Variations for piano and orchestra. This work is full of mortal difficulties, even for such a well-equipped instrumentalist. Kapelis overcame all these traps with great success."
EL PORVENIR (Monterrey, Mexico)
"It is needless to point out the huge demands that Mozart [Piano Concerto KV 488] places on the performer regarding maturity of expression, stylistic fidelity, cleanliness, and structural balance. Even so, Kapelis passed this “trial by fire” with an ease that truly impressed us. With his clean, sure technique, with his evenness, and especially with his correct weight of sound (so that it would not overpower, but neither fall into “angelic sweetness”), Kapelis created an interpretation that displayed not only his pianistic talent, but also his unexpected expressive maturity."
ESTIA (Athens, Greece)
"The performance of the Schumann piano concerto responded to the passionate impulse that echoed in the youth of Alexandros Kapelis, exulting the lyricism and the dialogue between the piano and the orchestra. The soloist took advantage of his technique, energy and vitality, qualities that augur him a brilliant future in his musical career."
EL COMERCIO (Lima, Peru)
LISZT: THE RUINS OF ATHENS Alessandro Ferrari, cond.
SCHUMANN: PIANO CONCERTO Gábor Tákacs- Nágy, cond.
KABALEVSKY: PIANO CONCERTO n.4 Gérard Körsten, cond.
SCHUMANN: PIANO CONCERTO Gábor Tákacs- Nágy, cond.
RACHMANINOFF: PIANO CONCERTO n.2 Sabine Aubert, cond.
BACH: CONCERTO FOR 4 KEYBOARDS, BWV 1065 Gérard Körsten, cond.