The International Chopin Piano Competition has a long history of awarding prizes to pianists who go on to have major international careers. In addition, record labels have always shown interest in the competition and an award has many times helped propel an artist into the recording studio. Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder is just such an artist having placed second at the most recent competition in 2010 and who now makes his Deutsche Grammophon debut with a recital of Chopin works for solo piano, available September 13 on CD, LP and as a download.
Ingolf Wunder’s refined playing and extraordinary technique has been recognized in concerts and at competitions around the world. Prior to the Chopin Competition, Wunder had taken top prizes in Turin (European Music), Hamburg (Steinway), Feldkirch (“Prima la musica”), Asti (Concours Musical de France), Casarza (“VI Trofeo Internazionale”) and Budapest (Liszt) and he had already given concerts around the world. Wunder took second prize at the 2010 Chopin Competition as well as the audience award and prizes for the best performance of the Polonaise-Fantasy op. 61 and of a Concerto. In reviewing the competition, The Telegraph stated that “Wunder produced the most exquisitely poised Chopin sound, characterised by bel canto elegance, and it is hard to imagine a finer account of the Polonaise-Fantasie than his in Warsaw.”
Deutsche Grammophon eagerly signed Wunder as an exclusive artist and now, like many of his predecessors, presents his debut recital of all-Chopin works. Previous second prize winners of the Chopin Competition who have also recorded for Universal include Vladimir Ashkenazy and Mitsuko Uchida – impressive company which Wunder has now joined. Other prize winning artists who have recorded for Universal’s labels include Adam Harasiewicz, Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, Yundi Li and Rafał Blechacz.
Wunder, who is not a fan of competitions, had decided that after intensively studying with Adam Harasiewicz he would enter the competition not in order to win but because he had worked so hard on Chopin. The outcome of that decision changed the course of Wunder’s career and has brought his performances to a wider audience.