Atlantis Piano Duo - Eduardo Ponce and Sophia Hase, Pianists, University of Salamanca, Spain
Eduardo Ponce was born in in 1962 in Madrid, city where he where he received his performance degree in Piano at the Real Conservatorio de Música, having studyied with María Teresa Fúster, Pedro Lerma, and Manuel Carra. He later received grants from the Ministry of Culture and the Casa Hazen in memory of Rosa Sabater, with whom he had the opportunity to work in the “Manuel de Falla” International Courses in Granada and in the “Música en Compostela” courses in Santiago. Further grants allowed Ponce to continue his training outside Spain.
The advice of Russian pianist Ekaterina Novitskaya led him to Belgium, where his meeting Eduardo de Pueyo in 1983 marked a turning point in his career. The grand master was highly influential in Ponce´s search for excellence as a pianist and throughout his musical training. Continued studies at the Conservatoire Royal de Liège led him to work with the American pianist Jo Alfidi, and after the master’s death, with his student Patricia Montero in the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles.
In 1989 Ponce moved to Germany to undertake postgraduate studies for five years with the Estonian pianist Kalle Randalu, with whom he developed a high level of repertoire at the Hochschule für Musik of Karlsruhe. He also received valuable instruction by some of the world’s most prestigious teachers, such as Lev Vlassenko and Nina Svetlanova.
One of the first milestones in Ponce´s development as a concert performer, which gradually enabled him to perform at numerous international venues, was his first prize award at the Spanish “Ciudad de Melilla” competition. Ponce has subsequently performed at the Teatro Colón in A Coruña, the Coliseo Carlos III in El Escorial, the Opera Theatre in Königsberg, the Teatro Rivoli in Oporto, the Salons de la Littéraire Liège, the Minsk Philharmonica, Steinway Hall in New York, the Sinagoga del Tránsito in Toledo, the Stadtschloss in Weimar (with the Chamber Orchestra directed by Max Pommer), the Ettlinger Schloss, the Weinbrenner Saal in Baden-Baden (with the Symphony Orchestra directed by Werner Stiefel performing the 2nd Prokofiev concert), the Hambacher Schloss, the Saalbau in Neustadt, the Stadttheater also in Neustadt, the Hambacher Musikfest, as well as in many other European and American cities, such as Brussels, Utrecht, Santa Barbara (California), Seville...
As a winner of the Luis Coleman Spanish music prize, Ponce has dedicated special attention to the Spanish repertoire, particularly to works that have been generally neglected in concert hall programmes. Ponce has thus rediscovered forgotten works such as the Fantasía Castellana by Conrado del Campo which he performed as a soloist in the Auditorio Nacional with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra, directed by José-Ramón Encinar. Ponce is also one of the few pianists to include the complete Iberia Suite by Isaac Albéniz in his concert performances.
For over two decades, Ponce has been performing regularly in Europe and America alongside German pianist Sophia Hase, together forming the Atlantis Piano Duo. The two artists have developed an enormous repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary music; some of these works having been composed specifically for them.
As a recording artist, Ponce has worked with various record labels such as "Radio Nacional de España" in a recital-portrait and in the "Bella Música" program highlighting Dimitrij Shostakowitsch´s 1st Piano Concerto; as well as in productions for Televisión Española, and Südwestfunk and Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen of Germany.
In recent years he has devoted a large part of his work to the rediscovery of Federico Olmeda, a Spanish 19th-century composer, whose most representative work--the Rimas for piano, inspired by the poet Bécquer--has been recorded for the Verso record label.
From very early in his career, Eduardo Ponce has combined his artistic activity with a special dedication to teaching, having developed this vocation since 1996 as chair in Piano at the Conservatorio Superior de Música in Salamanca; as well as sharing his expertise in other European institutions through the Erasmus program.
He completes his professional activities by teaching master-classes and leading performance workshops; as well as forming part of judging panels for Spanish and international competitions.
Born in Stuttgart in 1965 into a highly musical family, Sophia Hase began her intense artistic activities at a very early age. Her first studies were under the supervision of Paul Buck in her native city. She continued her early musical training with the Spanish pianist Rosa Sabater at the Hochshule für Musik in Freiburg, and upon her death, with the Polish pianist Elza Kolodin.
She later continued to study piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe with Fany Solter and Dinorah Varsi, and then furthered her skills by attending master classes with Bruno Leonardo Gelber, Hartmut Höll, William Pleeth, Helena Costa, and Eduardo del Pueyo, among others.
For several years Hase has devoted a large part of her time to chamber music, which has aided her in the development of a personal musical awareness as well as a highly personal style. Her artistry has been internationally recognised in a number of European competitions, including the Duisberg Contemporary Music Prize (1984), the Deutschlandfunk Recording Prize (1985), the López Comunión Prize for Spanish music in Santiago de Compostela (1988), the Deutscher Musikrat Prize (1991), the Viotti–Vercelli (Italy) International Prize (1991), and the Trapani (Sicily) International Prize (1992).
During the 1993/94 and 1995/96 seasons Hase was invited to participate in two “Konzerte Junger Künstler” chamber music concert tours that took her to major concert halls throughout Germany. Since then she has formed ensembles with musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, Bayern Münich Radio Television, and the Metropolitan Opera House; and has weighed her talent alongside acclaimed artists such as Ara Malikian, Gérard Caussé, the Mandelring Quartet, and Tritonius Wimares. For the last two decades, Hase has performed in a full schedule of concerts as part of the Atlantis Piano Duo with Spanish pianist Eduardo Ponce.
As a soloist, Hase has played in numerous festivals such as the Prague Spring Festivals, the Osterfestspiele of Salzburg (presented by Herbert von Karajan), the Schlosskonzerte at Ludwigsburg, the Festival de Cascavel (Brazil), the Schlosskonzerte of Insel Mainau, the Hambacher Musikfest, the Castillo de Peralada, and the Sinagoga de Tránsito–Festival of Toledo; as well as in a variety of international venues, such as the Teatro Nacional de Brasilia, the Essen Opera, the Liederhalle of Stuttgart, the Villa Música, the Audimax of Tubingen University, the Steinway Hall in New York, the Barcelona University Auditorium, as well as cities such as Brussels and in Rio de Janeiro.
Hase´s recordings include performances with several record labels such as Dabringhaus & Grimm and Record GMM Produktion. She has also performed as a soloist with the Luxemburg Radio Television Orchestra, and has done chamber performances or piano recitals for Televisión Española, Radio Nacional de España, Erstes and Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, Südwestfunk Baden-Baden, Deutschlandfunk, and Norddeutscher Rundfunk.
Hase has always combined her concert performances with teaching. For five years she taught chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik Trossingen in Germany; and since 1998 she has held a chair in Piano at the Conservatorio Superior de Música in Salamanca.
She completes her professional activities by giving numerous master-classes, recently with the Spanish National Young Orchestra, as well as by giving lectures at a number of Spanish universities and Jeunesses Musicales.
In recent years she has dedicated a large part of her work to researching, performing, and extending her knowledge of the magnificent repertoire of music that was banned or censored during the III Reich.