Biography

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Cristiana Pegoraro, Pianist

Acclaimed as one of the most gifted musicians of her generation, Italian-born pianist Cristiana Pegoraro has consistently entertained and enlightened audiences with her inspired performances and original programming.

She began her music career as a child prodigy, debuting at age 10 at Teatro Laudamo (Messina), performing Chopin’s 24 Preludes. Since that early age, Cristiana has received numerous national and international awards, including the 1989 Prague Best of the Year for Classical Music Award for “her great personality, strong musical temperament, mastery of phrasing and expressive artistry.”

Hailed by The New York Times as “an artist of the highest caliber” following her 1996 stunning debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Cristiana Pegoraro has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the United Nations (New York), the Sydney Opera House, Festspielhaus (Salzburg), Musikverein (Vienna), Royal College of Music (London), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome), Amici del Loggione del Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Theatro Municipal (São Paulo), Theatro Municipal (Rio de Janeiro), the Opera House (Manaus), and at music festivals including the Budapest Spring Festival, Umbria Jazz, Umbria Jazz Winter, Sorrento Jazz Festival (Italy), Saint Petersburg Festival (Russia), Edinburgh Festival, Klavierfestival Ruhr (Germany), Shabyt Festival Astana (Kazakhstan), the Aichi World Expo (Japan), and the Zaragoza World Expo (Spain), among others.

Ms. Pegoraro has appeared as a soloist with acclaimed orchestras and ensembles such as Salzburger Kammervirtuosen, Hannover Kammerorkester, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Garland (Texas) Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Arlington (Texas), Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra (Texas), COS Youth Symphonic Ensemble (USA), MAV Symphony Orchestra (Hungary), Darzhava Philarmonia Shumen (Bulgaria), National Orchestra of Georgia (Tbilisi), Orquesta Filarmonica de Bogota (Colombia), Orquesta Sinfonica de Cuyo, Orquesta Sinfonica de la Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Orquesta Sinfonica Pro Lirica (Peru), Kazakhstan Chamber Orchestra, State Chamber Orchestra of the Music Academy of Astana (Kazakhstan), and Philharmonic Orchestra of Oradea (Romania).

In Italy, she has performed with Orchestra Verdi di Milano, I Musici di Parma, Istituzione Sinfonica di Roma, Orchestra da Camera dell’Umbria, Orchestra Filarmonica Città di Roma, Orchestra Filarmonica di Civitavecchia, Orchestra Filarmonica di Roma, Orchestra Filarmonica Umbra, Orchestra Filarmonica Veneta, Orchestra del Narnia Festival, Ensemble Estro Tanguero, Orchestra Sinfonica Accademia Musicale Pescarese, La Camerata Ducale di Parma, Orchestra Sinfonica Carlo Coccia di Novara, Chamber Ensemble of Rome, and Orchestra L’Armonica Temperanza.

She has collaborated as a soloist with the Banda Centrale della Marina Militare and with the Banda dell’Arma dei Carabinieri, with whom she performed before an audience of 3,000 at the Auditorium Parco della Musica of Rome. Her 2003 New York City concert with the Banda Centrale della Marina Militare, as part of the celebration of Columbus Day, took place in the presence of the city’s mayor Michael Bloomberg aboard the battleship-museum USS Intrepid.

Cristiana Pegoraro is the first Italian female pianist to perform all 32 Piano Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven, and among few pianists in the world to have performed all five Beethoven Piano Concertos in a single day. During her tours of the Persian Gulf countries, she became the first female pianist of any country to perform concerts of classical music in Bahrain, Yemen, and Oman.

Over the years, she has appeared before many of the world’s highest dignitaries, including the President of Italy, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Governor of New York State, the Mayor of New York City, Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, the Italian Minister of Economic Development, and the President of the Austrian Senate.

In 2008, she was the only European representative at the Spring Festival at the United Nations in New York, and performed in the hall of the General Assembly in front of ambassadors and dignitaries from 192 countries.

In collaboration with Italian Embassies and Italian Cultural Institutes, she is regularly invited by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to represent Italy and to promote Italian music worldwide.

Hailed by critics as “among the best interpreters of Cuban and South American music,” Ms. Pegoraro has premiered works of Latin American composers Astor Piazzolla, Joaquin Nin, Ernesto Lecuona, and others, to European audiences.

In addition, she has written piano transcriptions of many of their well-known compositions, including Piazzolla tangos, and composed a fantasy based on Lecuona’s Cuban dances.

Her piano artistry can be heard on 28 CDs released by Decision Products, Nuova Era, Dynamic, Diva Productions, Eden Editori, Da Vinci Publishing and Promu.

Gramophone Magazine heralded her second recording (Dynamic Records) of Ernesto Lecuona’s piano music with glowing praise: “Cristiana Pegoraro plays not only with brilliance, but with a most engaging finesse.”

Peter Burwasser of Fanfare Magazine described Cristiana as “a multi-faceted artist who eagerly searches for passion and musical inspiration in her life and her performances.”

Pegoraro’s “Astor Piazzolla Tangos”, released in 2016, won the gold medal at California’s prestigious Global Music Awards. The pianist’s two most recent recordings comprise a CD entitled “Gioacchino Rossini Overtures – Piano Transcriptions,” featuring her newly-written transcriptions of the composer’s most famous overtures, and a second CD, “Fantasia Italiana,” with more new transcriptions, for piano and string orchestra, of Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.”

Cristiana has released five highly-acclaimed CDs of her own compositions: “A Musical Journey,” “Ithaka,” “La Mia Umbria,” “Volo di Note,” and “Piano di Volo.” She has also had various compositions of hers used in films and documentaries. Ms. Pegoraro composed the soundtrack to the video “For Whom the Sirens Toll” produced by the United Nations Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and presented at the United Nations on September 11, 2004, in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack. She wrote the soundtrack for the documentary “La casa dell’orologio” (“The House of the Clock”) by Italian director Gianni Torres.

On March 22, 2021, her video clip “RAIN,” with original music, debuted on the occasion of the United Nations’ “World Water Day.” The video was made under the auspices of the UN and was entered in the UN’s official Gallery.

Cristiana is the author of a book of poems called “Ithaka” and a series of children’s books based on Italian operas. Her poems are published in the book “Poeti Umbri Contemporanei” by Il Formichiere and in the 2020 edition of “Il Corniolano,” released on World Poetry Day, declared by UNESCO.

At present, she has received over 40 international awards. They include:
– The World Peace Award from the Circolo Culturale Italiano of the United Nations “for her effort in advancing peace in the world.”
– The Mela d’Oro Premio Bellisario by Fondazione Marisa Bellisario with a live ceremony on RAI1 broadcast worldwide, and a private visit with the President of the Republic of Italy, Sergio Mattarella.
– The Melvin Jones Fellow Award “for dedicated humanitarian services” from the Lions Clubs International Foundation.
– The Premio Simpatia, awarded by the Mayor of Rome to performing artists, authors, ambassadors and sports figures who exemplify a commitment to Italy, and conceived in recognition “of individuals who enrich and exalt the essential values of life through their work.” Past recipients have included film directors Federico Fellini and Franco Zeffirelli, actress Sophia Loren, and Mother Theresa.
– The 2010 ILICA Woman of the Year Award by the Italian Language Intercultural Alliance in New York.

Cristiana supports various international organizations such as UNICEF (for which she is a spokesperson), Amnesty International, World Food Programme, Emergency, Lions Clubs International, and Rotary International in their humanitarian efforts.

She has been a featured artist on radio and television, on WQXR New York, RAI, Mediaset, Radio Vaticana, Discoteca di Stato (Italy), BBC (Scotland), ARD (Germany), RTP (Portugal), Nine Network (Australia), and CBC (Japan). She has been a guest on the Italian TV shows “Porta a Porta” with Bruno Vespa (RAI 1), “Sottovoce” with Gigi Marzullo (RAI 1), and “Vivere Meglio” with Fabrizio Trecca (Rete 4). Concerts of hers have been broadcast on RAI 5.

Ms. Pegoraro created, produced, and directed, for Oltretutto Radio (Italy), the show entitled “The Magic of the Piano,” with biographies of the great composers and her performances at the piano.

Cristiana regularly presents master classes at The Juilliard School in New York City and in much of the USA, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia as well as outreach and music appreciation programs, with the goal of spreading the love for and the interest in classical music.

During the school year, Cristiana teaches privately at her studios in Rome and New York City. In July of each year, she coaches at the Narnia Festival Summer Training Program, held in Narni, Italy.

In addition to her concertizing and teaching activities, she is also involved in arts and organizational management and production, working with important institutions and for music events at both national and international levels.

From 2011, she is the Founder and President of Narnia Arts Academy (www.narniaartsacademy.com) and Artistic Director of Narnia Festival (www.narniafestival.com), a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote the arts and the cultural, architectural and historical heritage of Italy through a vast array of initiatives. Both the Academy and the Festival are seven-time recipients of the “Medal of the President of the Italian Republic” for their outstanding programming.

She is a spokesperson for her native region of Umbria’s tourism campaign throughout the world.

Ms. Pegoraro graduated with highest honors from the Conservatory of Terni, Italy, at the age of sixteen. She continued piano studies with Jörg Demus in Vienna and with Hans Leygraf at both the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. Later, Cristiana was a student of Nina Svetlanova at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.