Ivan Karizna (detail) View full image

MA signs Ivan Karizna

We are delighted to welcome cellist Ivan Karizna to the Maestro Arts roster. Born into a musical family in Minsk, Belarus, Karizna began the cello aged seven and went on to study with Jérôme Pernoo in Paris and Frans Helmerson at Kronberg Academy. Following early prizes at the Tchaikovsky and Queen Elisabeth Competitions, he attracted the attention of orchestras including Orchestre de Paris, Mariinsky Theatre and St Petersburg Philharmonic, as well as chamber music partners Gidon Kremer, Renaud Capuçon and Christian Tetzlaff.

Karizna is a natural storyteller in his playing, having been encouraged in his early studies to read poetry and literature. He explains: ‘Music is a language and we have to be able to use it to express many different things. When we play, we should always tell a story. Otherwise, it has no meaning. You can play all the notes in tune, very fast, and it’s effective, but music only becomes art when you make a story – just like a painter or writer.’

He plays a cello once owned by Paul Tortelier, and says of it, ‘It’s a very big cello, a beast, with a huge projection and a unique colour. When I see Tortelier in films and recordings, I have the sense of his personality in the cello, although now I’ve played it for almost two years, it’s becoming more like my own personality. I’m very happy with it.’

Karizna has clear goals in his career: ‘I would like to share the beauty, philosophy and meaning of art. I would love to play with the best orchestras – I realise every musician dreams about that, and for me, it’s very important. I want to be able to express something and to have a direct exchange with audiences. As cellists, we think we have very limited repertoire, but actually there are so many pieces that have been written and not been performed. The world has always been very masculine, but that’s changing and there are many works by brilliant women composers to perform. Programmers often believe that they have to programme Dvořák, Tchaikovsky and Haydn to fill a hall, but I’m all for playing contemporary music and to make this list larger, although how to fill a hall is a long and difficult and discussion.’

In January 2023, Karizna stepped in to perform the Dvořák Cello Concerto with Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, which resulted in him being chosen for a six-concert tour with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and Vladimir Jurowski. Forthcoming engagements include concerts with the Flanders Symphony Orchestra in Belgium, with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and recitals in Vienna and Cologne.

Read the full interview here.

Ivan Karizna plays Bruch’s Kol Nidrei