“Christina Petrowska Quilico is one of the absolutely best young pianists. She has both greatest imagination and pianistic technique and a most exceptional artistic sensibility.” – Gyorgy Ligeti, composer
“I didn’t think anyone would play this piece, but when Christina performed it, I loved the sound and what was happening as the hands interacted. And I loved the little tunes and motifs that could be heard in the interaction between the hands. It takes a whiz-bang pianist to make those heard. I don’t know how she does it!” – Ann Southam, composer, referring to Rivers
Hailed by the New York Times for her “promethean talent” at age 14, Christina Petrowska Quilico has appeared on the recital stage at such prestigious halls as Carnegie, Alice Tully and Merkin. Concert tours have taken her, as a soloist and with baritone Louis Quilico, across four continents – to Taiwan, the Middle East, France, Germany, Greece and Ukraine, and throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Her orchestral collaborations have ranged from most of Canada’s leading ensembles to the symphony orchestras of Greek Radio and Taipei. Trained at the Juilliard School in the grand Russian and European traditions, followed by studies in Europe with leading composers, she has long been one of Canada’s leading interpreters of new music – premiering over 100 new works by Canadian and international composers, in addition to her performances and recordings of standard repertoire. Of the more than 35 concertos she has performed with orchestra, 18 were contemporary, and of these 10 were premieres. She has recorded some 30 titles in all. Four of her CDs of Canadian music have earned JUNO Awards nominations.
Petrowska Quilico received the 2007 Friends of Canadian Music Award from the Canadian Music Centre and Canadian League of Composers, and together with composer Constantine Caravassilis was named winner of the 2010 Harry Freedman Recording Award, from the CMC’s Harry Freedman Fund.
Closely associated with the piano music of fellow Heliconian Ann Southam (1937-2010), Petrowska Quilico contributed to the enthusiastic reception for Rivers, a new dance work by Christopher House. She performed excerpts from the Southam cycle live in Toronto Dance Theatre’s spring 2012 Toronto run, and again in the fall in Oakville, Ontario, and at the opening of the Festival of New Dance in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The work received a Dora Award nomination for sound.
Over her career, Petrowska Quilico has been awarded a total of nine Canada Council Grants, including a Doctoral Fellowship, and received a Laidlaw Foundation grant. As a prize winner at the Kennedy Center/Rockefeller Foundation International Competition, she performed at the Kennedy Center. But she has other talents beyond performing and teaching.
Making a career in music had been a somewhat tough choice for this gifted polymath. Just as she was entering university, Petrowska Quilico had a poem printed in the New York Times, published an entire book of poetry, and seriously considered writing as a career. As she asserts, “I didn’t want to be just a pianist, or to give up the writing.”
She has continued writing over the years, as well as painting. She is both author and artist of Opera Illustrated: An Artistic Odyssey – featuring her drawings of operatic personalities and scenes – and Mr. Rigoletto: In Conversation with Louis Quilico (both published by Captus Press). Both were critically well-received.
Petrowska Quilico in recent years added to her incredibly productive career the founding of The Christina and Louis Quilico Award, to discover and encourage young operatic talent. It is administered by the Ontario Arts Council Foundation, and was most recently held under the auspices of the Canadian Opera Company.
Christina Petrowska Quilico is represented by Ann Summers International.
More information on Christina Petrowska Quilico is available at the following websites:
Below is a video of a 2011 performance by Christina at the Glenn Gould studio, featuring Glass Houses written by the late Ann Southam, who was also a fellow Heliconian.