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.
Recognized for his “scintillating performances” (Washington Post) that have taken him through Europe, the United States, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, and Japan, Alexandros Kapelis is more than a concert artist with a “full range of technique in rendering the total palette of keyboard colors” (Piedmont Post); he is a classical musician known for his ability to envision and bring to life multi-layered concepts that highlight music’s relevance to today’s world. His knowledge of a wide range of subjects beyond the musical realm have allowed him to conceive projects that bridge music with history, the visual arts, cultural identity, and the environmental cause.
Alexandros Kapelis was born of a Greek father and a Peruvian mother. He grew up in both Peru and Greece and enjoyed the advantages of a multicultural heritage. He does not come from a family of musicians, but began playing the piano when he was five years old. At the age of 20 he moved to New York, where early in his career he was recognized by the International Press Service (IPS) as “one of the most promising young classical musicians of any nationality working in New York today.” His main piano teachers have been Rosa Basurco in Peru, Dimitri Toufexis at the American College of Greece, Diane Walsh and Julius Levine at the Mannes College of Music in New York, and Noretta Conci in London. He also studied orchestral conducting at the masterclasses of Bruno Aprea (Rome Arts Academy) and Gianluigi Gelmetti (Accademia Chigiana). In 2004, Alexandros Kapelis came to the attention of Martha Argerich and in 2007 he moved to Brussels to be near the great pianist. He subsequently participated in several editions of the Martha Argerich Project, with performances alongside Argerich in Lugano, as well as in other European cities.
As a soloist, Kapelis’ highlights include appearances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, in addition to chamber concertos with ensembles from the Philharmonia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic (Philharmonic Chamber Soloists). A prolific chamber music player, collaborations include performances with violinist Renaud Capuçon, violist Yuri Bashmet, cellist Mischa Maisky, clarinetist Stanley Drucker, trumpeter Sergei Nakariakov, pianist Martha Argerich, amongst others. In the realm of conducting, Kapelis conducted Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare at the Ernen Festival with the Tibor Varga orchestra and nowadays conducts Bach and Mozart piano concertos from the keyboard.
As a recitalist, Kapelis made his mark with an unprecedented program on the Greek Myth, surveying thousands of years of Western archetypes and classical mythology as seen through the piano repertoire. This program took him to venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, 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” initiative culminated with being chosen as the featured performer at 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, as well as the Council of Ministers of both countries.
Last season, Alexandros Kapelis teamed up with French cultural icon Pierre Cardin, in the role of Artistic Director of a miniseries at the Pierre Cardin Festival de Lacoste, in Provence. Kapelis performed along his various guests, notably the Schumann Concerto with Gábor Takács-Nagy and the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Toulon, as well as in chamber with other distinguished artists. In the role of Artistic Advisor, Kapelis has also collaborated with the Athens Megaron on their chamber music series, and currently holds the title of Artist in Residence in Venice with the mandate to develop the nascent Venice International Music Festival.
This season sees Kapelis starting a collaboration with the acclaimed ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berlin Baroque Soloists. They are currently recording the Complete Bach Concertos for keyboard and string orchestra. This landmark project will take them to performances in Europe, Asia and the Americas throughout 2018, 2019, and 2020. A tour-de-force for soloist and ensemble alike, the artists will perform all of Bach’s solo keyboard concertos in one evening, giving the audience in each venue the rare opportunity to hear all of the concertos in one go.
Since early in his career, Alexandros Kapelis has been deeply involved with humanitarian causes. He has performed in numerous benefit concerts, most notably in London for Fight for Sight (the leading UK charity dedicated to pioneering eye research), in New York for the United World Colleges (headed by HRH Prince Pavlos of Greece), and in Athens for ELEPAP (Greek Society for the Protection and Rehabilitation of the Disabled). The environment is also a cause close to Kapelis’ heart; under the patronage of UNESCO, in 2016 he founded PROJECT ECO: Earth Connections Orchestra, an initiative that combines music and the environment. Following a very personal cause, in 2017 Alexandros Kapelis founded “The Greco-Latin Trust” in order to help young musicians from countries facing economic difficulties, specifically Greece and Latin America. Inspired by his own years as a student in New York, where he had to face the challenges of supporting himself while pursuing a full-time Master’s program, the Trust provides a living stipend to a full-time piano student for a year, in addition to introducing the young pianist to new audiences through various performance opportunities.
Alexandros Kapelis is a Steinway Artist. He lives between London and Venice.
Alexandros Kapelis has performed in some of the
world's most beautiful venues, both in standard recital programmes but also with a flair for thematic
and unconventional 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."
INTERNATIONAL 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)
Alexandros Kapelis has performed works for piano and orchestra ranging 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)
A member of the "Martha Argerich Project" in Lugano, Alexandros Kapelis has had the privilege to collaborate with some of the great musicians of our time.
"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"