"In the desert of the technical era, a Bechstein is like an oasis of revitalizing sound escapades."
The Piano Duo Shalamov, established in 2009, is an astonishing example of a special musical formation: two individual pianists, musicians and artists, performing in an extraordinary symbiosis; two personalities, with their individual ideas and emotions, unified in their making of music. Their collaboration has truly been very successful and has led them to great achievements, despite their young age. Winning the 1st prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in September 2015 surely is one of their most extraordinary recognitions. Alina and Nikolay not only received the highest evaluation from the jury, but were also awarded the audience prize, as well as the prize for the best performance of the obligatory composition by Ferran Cruixent, commissioned especially for the competition that year. This success has now become part of the 64 year old history of the ARD Competition during which only two first prizes have been awarded in the Piano duo category.
Competitions have always played an important part in the duo’s development. In 2013, they won the 4th prize at the 2nd Arthur Rubinstein competition in Moscow. In 2015, Alina and Nikolay achieved the 2nd prize at the 4th International chamber music competition in Ciudade de Alcobaça in Portugal, followed shortly afterwards by a 1st prize, as well as the prize for the best interpretation of a composition by Franz Schubert at the Piano duo competition in Jeseník (Czech Republic).
Alina and Nikolay began playing together as a duo in Bulgaria – Alina’s home country – under the supervision and direction of Professor Milena Mollova, a world renowned Bulgarian pianist and one of the few students of the legendary Emil Gilels. Both pianists were students in her piano class at the National Music Academy “Pantcho Vladigerov” and the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. During this time, the duo won the 1st prize at the International competition “Franz Schubert” in Ruse. These distinctions encouraged them to work with even more enthusiasm as a duo and to continue their collaboration as an official ensemble.
In their early years of musical training, both Alina and Nikolay have participated as soloists in many national and international competitions, too, and have given recitals both in Europe and Russia. Their festival appearances include the Varna Summer Festival, (Varna, Bulgaria), the March Music Days, (Ruse, Bulgaria), the Sofia Music Weeks, (Sofia, Bulgaria), the Youth Musical Festival (Bern, Switzerland), the Concertino Praha (Czech Republic), as well as various music festivals in Spain (Madrid, Toledo, Santander) and many others.
Most recently Duo Shalamov won the very prestigious Musikpreis by the Bruno FreyStiftung.