Alan Kogosowski is a pianist with remarkable technical and musical abilities. He has brought music to audiences in an exciting way that, above all, makes people feel involved and happy to be part of this unique expression of the human spirit. He is a distinguished Chopinist and has made it his mission to promote the works of the great master. He is also a presenter of music, bringing together world-class talents in various series of musical events. A child prodigy himself, Kogosowski has also made an effort to mentor and hone young performers in his master classes. Kogosowski feels, as did the sculptor Anthony Caro, that ‘art is a celebration of life. It is a means of expressing joy and gratitude at being alive. We are lucky to be here.’
Chopin in the Hands of a Master
The Chicago Sun-Times
There are only a handful of pianists in the world who have earned the title of “Chopinist,” and Australian performer Alan Kogosowski is one of them.
This title of “Chopinist” is given to someone who has a deep understanding of the music of the piano’s greatest composer and has shown dedication in applying this knowledge.
Schooled at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, as well as in London and Warsaw, Kogosowski made his first tour at age thirteen and performed on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York. At sixteen, he won Australia’s Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship, the youngest person ever to receive this award.
His New York and London debuts, at Lincoln Center and the Wigmore Hall, were enthusiastically received, with music critics giving due attention to his interpretation and extraordinary technique.
Aside from his reputation as a concert pianist with an insightful interpretation of the Romantic repertoire, Kogosowski has also been known for his musical presentations. For 10 years he hosted a series of musical evenings in London, known as Schubertiades, at Sotheby’s, with guest artists from all over the world. He also coordinated and presented several series of concerts at the Royal Academy of Arts, Leighton House, and the Gibson Hall.
In 1999, Kogosowski was honored by the Polish branch of the Order of the Knights of Malta with a special decoration in recognition of his many outstanding all-Chopin recitals in London, and his highly successful series of Chopin concerts to raise funds for medicines to be sent to Poland, recalling a similar practice by the great pianist/composer himself.
His recreation of Chopin’s last public appearance, which took place in 1848 in London’s Guildhall, has been called “one of London’s great musical events.” When he repeated this program in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, the Chicago Sun Times declared that “this was Chopin in the hands of a master. In his many all-Chopin recitals Alan Kogosowski has demonstrated his belief that Chopin’s music is one of the most powerful artistic symbols of the human spirit.”
Kogosowski has produced a TV series about the life and music of Frederic Chopin, in which he performs and introduces a wide cross-section of the great composer’s key works. He has also written a major book on Chopin and his impact on the world of the piano.
Alan Kogosowski has contributed two noteworthy additions to the piano concerto repertoire. Concerto Elegiaque in D minor, his orchestration of Rachmaninoff’s great Trio in D Minor, was recorded by Neeme Järvi and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, with him as soloist. The recording went on to become Best Recording of the Year in 1994 by the American Record Guide.
Kogosowski followed that work with his reconstruction and orchestration of Chopin’s unfinished Concerto No. 3 in A major. This piece is now a complete companion to the two already famous concertos by Chopin. Chopin Piano Concerto No. 3 was published and premiered in 1999, with Maestro Järvi and the Detroit Symphony.
Kogosowski’s specialized European training in the use of the hands and fingers allowed him to practice unlimited hours a day throughout his childhood and adult career. His knowledge of the coordination of the hand muscles and ligaments developed further when, at the age of 21, the bones of his right hand were broken in a car accident. Returning to the concert stage after only 18 months, Kogosowski demonstrated better technique and more endurance than before, thanks to his study and understanding of the use of the hands and fingers.
Calling on his deep understanding of the piano technique originated and developed by Chopin, Kogosowski has developed a unique method of helping the growing number of people afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome. After many years of study of the anatomical aspects of piano technique, he has adapted his knowledge of the positioning of the hands and posture at the keyboard to the prevention and remedy of this condition, one which has afflicted piano players and violinists for years, but which has now come to much wider general attention.
The book Genius of the Piano is dedicated to my beloved father, Izzy, or Izio, Kogosowski, from whom I first learnt Paris, which is the backdrop for much of the book.
As a little boy I immediately understood that the magical word “Paris” was more than the name of a city: it was a state of mind. For my dad it symbolized the gateway to a new life after the unimaginable darkness of the Second World War.
To me it was the symbol of beauty, elegance, charm, grace, sparkle, love of life, and, above all, humanity–all qualities that were innate to and inseparable from my father, to which in him were added natural sweetness, kindness, and compassion. He understood and valued all the qualities that make life beautiful and meaningful, and he encouraged me endlessly and unstintingly in my love of the piano and everything else.
My mother, Chana (Hana) Prager Kogosowski, is a spectacularly courageous and loving person.
As a teenager she was responsible to a great extent for keeping her family together during the Second World War, although she would never claim this, giving all the credit to her darling father Maier Prager, my beloved grandfather.
My mum wrote a short but incisive book about her life, focusing largely on the early years and the story of her family’s survival in Russia through the war years, from enforced settlement in northern Siberia, to the hardships of Kazakhstan.
I am proud to make this book available here as a free download.
You have granted future generations the opportunity to experience a personal connection with history. Thank you for your invaluable contribution, your strength and your generosity of spirit.Steven Spielberg, Chairman, Visual History Foundation, Los Angeles
“I couldn’t stop reading the whole book last night. Now I know where you got your flare for writing from! Your mum is a truly amazing woman and you must be very proud of both your parents. I felt I was living the whole journey described in the book. Your mum’s family survived because they looked after each other and cared for each other–a lesson for today’s generation.”Feroza Saran, Bombay