13th March, 2017
Congratulations to Sophie Karthäuser and Eugene Asti on winning the Caecilia Award for their album 'Kennst Du Das Land' - lieder by Goethe, Eichendorff and Mörike - which was recorded on the Harmonia Mundi label in 2016.
Belgian soprano Sophie Karthäuser studied with Noelle Barker at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She is now in great demand, especially as a Mozart singer. She sang her first Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) under René Jacobs and her first Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) under William Christie. Since winning the Audience Prize at the Wigmore Hall Song Contest she has developed an acclaimed career as a recitalist, enjoying a particularly close artistic partnership with the distinguished American pianist Eugene Asti.
Eugene Asti studied at the Mannes College of Music, New York with Jeannette Haien where he earned his B.Mus. and M.A. degree. He subsequently studied piano accompaniment with Graham Johnson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. One of the foremost accompanists of his generation, he has performed with many great artists including Dame Felicity Lott, Sir Willard White, Sir Thomas Allen, Angelika Kirchschlager, Bryn Terfel and the late Dame Margaret Price in venues such as the Wigmore Hall and the Barbican, London, the Musikverein in Vienna, Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Kölner Philharmonie, the Megaron in Athens, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Symphony Hall in Birmingham and the Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York. In 2009 Eugene became an official Steinway Artist.
'it s so lovely to hear the piano sound given the prominence that it deserves, and there s a lovely bloom on the recording that gives it an almost live quality which I really appreciated. It s a great selection of songs ... it just works really well'. BBC Radio 3 Record Review, May 2016.
'Sophie Karthäuser proves herself a natural in Lieder ... With her fresh, limpid soprano and sharp feeling for character and nuance, she gives unfailing delight in the these settings ... Elsewhere in the Goethe songs charm, lightness and grace prevail ... Throughout, Eugene Asti, recorded with proper prominence, is a model partner, commentator and animator ( accompanist is an insult in Wolf): subtly fluid in rhythm, hyper-sensitive to the flux of Wolf s liquescent harmonies and conjuring textures of gossamer delicacy in songs such as Frühling über s Jahr , with its diaphonous bell chimes, and the two elfin sketches ... In sum, a recital to delight all Wolf lovers, and an ideal entrée for those still to be converted to the peculiar richness and intensity of his art.' Wigmore Gramophone, August 2016.