“Formidable…dizzying…magical.” These words from New York reviewer Harris Goldsmith vividly illustrate pianist Petronel Malan’s uniquely captivating style. Indeed, as a multiple Grammy® nominee and gold medalist of several international piano competitions, Petronel continues to enthrall audiences worldwide.
Lauded by reviewers as an unmistakably creative force in the classical music industry, Petronel’s critical acclaim culminated in the nomination of three Grammy® Awards, including “Best Instrumental Solo Album” for her debut disc “Transfigured Bach.” As an exclusive recording artist for Hänssler Classic, “Transfigured Mozart” (2006) and “Transfigured Beethoven” (2008) followed to great critical acclaim. “Transfigured Tchaikovsky” (2012) includes the world premiere recordings of the art song transcriptions by Isaac Mikhnovsky & Samuil Feinberg.
Petronel maintains a full performance schedule as recitalist, orchestral soloist and chamber musician in major venues throughout the world. After her European debut in Rome in 1987, further highlights have included Carnegie Recital Hall, Théâtre du Châtelet & Salle Cortot (Paris), Mozarteum (Salzburg), Liszt Museum (Budapest), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), Alte Handelsbörse (Leipzig), Levoca (Slovakia), Bass Hall (Fort Worth), as well as the Ravinia and Gilmore International Piano Festivals. Petronel has appeared with orchestras such as the St. Petersburg State (Russia), Martinú (Czech Republic), Bucaramanga (Colombia), Batumi (Republic of Georgia), Sicilian Chamber (Italy), and several others in the US and South Africa, under the batons of Vasily Petrenko, Bernhard Gueller, Dmitry Manilov, Yoshimi Takeda, Wolfgang Bothe, James Brooks, Robert Hanson, and Fuzao Kajima.
Ms. Malan’s career was launched following five gold medals in 2000 at international piano competitions. These included the Louise McMahon, Missouri Southern, Los Angeles Liszt “Budapest Concert” and Hilton Head International Piano Competitions. She also won grand prize in the 2000 Web Concert Hall Competition, Entergy Young Artist Award & the Grace Welsh Piano Competition.
Born in South Africa, Petronel began lessons with her mother at age four, continuing with Adolph Hallis and Joseph Stanford. She debuted with the Johannesburg Symphony at age ten and subsequently won all major national competitions, before moving to the United States to further her studies. Following a degree at Michigan State University, Petronel completed both her graduate degrees at the University of North Texas. Her teachers included Steven de Groote, Ralph Votapek and Joseph Banowetz. She also received intensive coaching sessions from American legend Earl Wild.
Although residing in the United States, Ms. Malan continues strong ties to her native South Africa. She received the “Rapport/City Press Prestige Award” as one of the “10 Most Inspirational Women in South Africa,” and has appeared on magazine covers, fashion spreads and even as picture-clues in crossword puzzles. Apart from a love for vintage gowns, Ms. Malan’s stage wardrobe is designed by foremost South African designers. A frequent speaker and promoter for classical music in schools, music scholarships in her name are awarded annually to promising young musicians.