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
between Venice and London.
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 Piedmont Post (San Francisco) 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. The musicians are recording the Complete Bach Concertos for keyboard and orchestra (BWV 1052-1058), with a world tour starting at London’s Barbican Hall (July 2022), followed by Asia (July 2022), and Europe (May/July 2022 and 2023).
An active chamber music player, he has collaborated with renowned artists that include violinist Renaud Capuçon, 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. In October/November of 2021, Kapelis appears again with Argerich in a chamber music tour of 3 European cites and next year with the Poulenc Concerto for two pianos with the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra. Other chamber music engagements include heading a chamber music festival in Beijing in October 2022, followed by a chamber music tour in China.
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, and more recently, 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 acclaimed by the press as a program created by “an artist of genius” (Giornale di Vicenza) and “a pianist building a career of mythic proportions” (Oakland Tribune), Kapelis’ “Greek Myth Recital” was chosen for the transfer-of-power ceremony of the Presidency of Council of the European Union in 2014, in the presence of the Italian and Greek Presidents of the Republic and the Council of Ministers of both countries. On the occasion of the 200th Anniversary of the independence of Greece in 2021, Kapelis reprises his “Greek Myth” with performances in leading museums that house collections of Greek works from classical antiquity.
Off stage, Kapelis is known for his understanding of a wide range of subjects that have allowed him to bridge music with history, the visual arts, nature, and cultural identity. In this capacity, he has acted as Artistic Director/Advisor for various institutions. He teamed up with French cultural icon Pierre Cardin as Artistic Director of the chamber music series at the Pierre Cardin Festival de Lacoste and has also collaborated with the Athens Megaron in their chamber music programming. In 2014 he was given the title of Artist in Residence in Venice by the Malipiero Foundation. He is currently in charge of creating an international music festival in Venice, set to debut in September of 2022. The summer of 2021 also finds him leading the campaign “Renaissance: The New Breadth of Venice”, with performances to re-launch the city's cultural life as it gradually starts to recover from the pandemic.
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. He has performed in numerous benefit concerts, most notably 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 ELEPAP (Greek Society for the Protection and Rehabilitation of the Disabled). Under the aegis of UNESCO, in 2018 he founded PROJECT ECO (Earth Connections Orchestra), an initiative that combines music and the environment. On a personal note, Alexandros Kapelis also founded 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 provides a living stipend to a full-time piano student every year.
Alexandros Kapelis is a Steinway Artist. He lives between Venice and London.
- Updated June 2021
Described as “scintillating” (Washington Post)
and heard in some of the most striking venues, Kapelis’ recitals often reveal a flair for
thematic and imaginative programming.
"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
With a particular affinity for the works from the 1700’s and the 1900’s, Alexandros Kapelis’ repertoire for piano and orchestra
ranges from Bach and Mozart,
to Hindemith and Lutoslawski.
"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.
Alexandros Kapelis greatly enjoys exploring the chamber music repertoire and has appeared with various renowned artists and ensembles.
"Robust, brilliant, virtuoso, but also stylistically attentive, was the interpretation of Alexandros Kapelis. [Mendelssohn Quartet for piano & strings, Op. 3]"
KATHIMERINI. Athens, Greece
"It was moving to listen to Greek pianist Alexandros Kapelis, a fully structured musician with strength and sensitivity, but also with ethos, revealed not only by the quality of his sound, but also by his bearing and body language. Last night, he stood worthily on stage next to the great Martha Argerich in Bach’s Concerto"
KATHIMERINI. Athens, Greece
"Kapelis has no equal in Rachmaninoff, but he also plays the classics with astonishing taste."
MARTHA ARGERICH, Interview in "Classica"
Renaud Capucçon, Liya Petrova, Yuri Bashmet, Mischa Maisky, Takis Kapoyannis, Sergei Nakariakov
Lincoln Center, New York
Yuri Bashmet & Mischa Maisky