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Kian Soltani
Kian Soltani

Kian Soltani Biography

Kian Soltani
© Holger Hage

Please note that because of the Covid−19 pandemic, we are currently unable to provide reliable information about forthcoming live performances.

“His cello sound has the fuzz and richness of caramel, and he plays with an easy warmth … drawing [the orchestra] after him like a halo around a candle flame.” The Washington Post

New worlds of imagination appear whenever Kian Soltani makes music. A sense of individuality, depth of expression and charismatic presence are among the elements of the young Austrian cellist’s captivating artistry. Rave reviews and invitations to perform at the world’s leading concert halls have propelled him from rising star to one of the most exciting musicians of his generation. Soltani’s status was confirmed in 2017 when he not only won both Germany’s prestigious Leonard Bernstein Award (February) and the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award (December), but also signed an exclusive contract to record for Deutsche Grammophon (July).

His debut DG album, Home, comprising works for cello and piano by Schubert, Schumann and Reza Vali, was released to widespread critical acclaim in February 2018. Since then, Soltani has made three chamber albums with Daniel and Michael Barenboim: the Mozart Piano Quartets, recorded live at the Boulez Saal with Yulia Deyneka (released in August 2018); the complete Mozart Piano Trios (2019); and the complete Beethoven Piano Trios (2020).

Also released in 2020 was an album devoted to Dvořák. As well as the Cello Concerto, in which Soltani is accompanied by the Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim, it features five other pieces by the composer in arrangements for solo cello and cello ensemble. Recorded with the cellists of the Staatskapelle Berlin, three of these arrangements are by Soltani himself – Allegro moderato from Romantic Pieces op.75, “Lasst mich allein” from the 4 Lieder op.82 and “Songs my Mother Taught Me” from Gypsy Melodies op.55.

Soltani’s latest album, Cello Unlimited, is a celebration of both his instrument and his love of cinema. Featuring the cellist’s own arrangements of film scores by Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore and others, on which he plays every part himself, the album is set for release in October 2021.

Kian Soltani was born in Bregenz in 1992 to a family of Persian musicians. He began playing the cello at the age of four and was only twelve when he joined Ivan Monighetti’s class at the Basel Music Academy. He remained with Monighetti for eleven years, absorbing enduring lessons from the last person to study with Mstislav Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory. He made his international breakthrough in 2011 at the age of nineteen with acclaimed debuts in the Vienna Musikverein’s Goldener Saal and at the Hohenems Schubertiade. He attracted further worldwide attention in April 2013 as winner of the International Paulo Cello Competition in Helsinki. Chosen as a Mutter Foundation scholarship holder in 2014, he completed further studies at Germany’s Kronberg Academy as a member of its Young Soloist Programme, as well as at the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein.

In addition to his work as concerto soloist and chamber musician, Soltani flourished as principal cello of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO), and in 2015 joined Daniel Barenboim as one of the soloists in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, performing the work with the WEDO in Berlin, at the Salzburg and Lucerne festivals, at the BBC Proms in London, and at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Other early career highlights include tours with Anne-Sophie Mutter and her Mutter’s Virtuosi; his participation in the opening week of Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal in March 2017; an appearance in the Bernstein centennial gala concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in August 2018; and debuts at the Berlin Staatsoper, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Royal Festival Hall and Cadogan Hall, among others.

Highlights of the 2020–21 season included his debuts with the Münchner Philharmoniker and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Haydn’s Cello Concerto No.1 with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Myung-Whun Chung; and a series of chamber performances at the Schleswig-Holstein and Verbier Festivals.  

His plans for the start of the 2021–22 season include quartet recitals with Hyeyoon Park, Timothy Ridout and Benjamin Grosvenor in Spain, Austria, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK; and the Schumann Cello Concerto with the Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim in Berlin, and with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Maxim Emelyanychev in Rome.

Soltani plays the “London ex Boccherini 1694” Stradivarius, thanks to a generous loan.


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