Graduate of the Month: Daniel Ciobanu

Published: June 9, 2017


Daniel Ciobanu is preparing for take-off. Living the life of an international virtuoso, the Romanian pianist is well acquainted with airport departure lounges and it is here he is able to elaborate on his latest success in a career which continues to scale new heights.

A perfect moment then, to feature him as Graduate of the Month…

Second place in the prestigious Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition saw Daniel Ciobanu presented with the Sara and Moshe Mayer Prize Competition Silver Medal. He also won the Audience Prize following a series of thrilling recent performances in Tel Aviv’s Museum of the Arts. The 25-year-old was delighted his hard work paid off, describing it as the culmination of his entire musical life to date.

“I really can’t say that it’s the technical practice of the last month before going to Tel Aviv, or even my lessons over the past few years,” he commented.

“This competition was looking for the complete artist, not only a pianist. It’s about the lifelong pilgrimage of practice hours crushed under the ivories, combined with the crucial aspect of the life experiences accumulated and absorbed.”

The demanding contest saw Daniel performing in solo and chamber recital rounds. Repertoire included Mussorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition and Prokofiev’s Sonata No 7. Daniel also performed the Schumann Quartet op 47, Mozart’s Concerto in A major k488 and the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 3 in C major.

It may have been a gruelling experience but one which the Royal Conservatoire graduate will cherish. Daniel said: “I entered the competition with the hope that I could benefit from the incredible exposure the competition provides during the different rounds. The opportunity to share my music as widely as possible, reaching so many ears around the world, was wonderful.”

The Arthur Rubinstein Competition success was the latest musical triumph for Daniel, who started playing at the age of nine after his grandfather – an organist – transmitted the ‘keyboard virus’. Lessons with various teachers followed before Daniel won a scholarship to undertake a year of study at Stewart’s Melville College in Edinburgh, later being drawn to Scotland’s national conservatoire.

A Bachelor of Music degree was followed by a Master’s, during which time Daniel studied under Head of Keyboard and Collaborative Piano, Aaron Shorr, as well as staff across the department.

He reflected: “My time in Scotland has provided me with a strong musical base, ensuring I am capable to construct my career in many different ways. The main focus was on making music rather than solely focusing on technique – this liberty of musical expression was key. It’s really important because it’s not unusual to hear so-called impeccable performances that dissolve from our ears and emotions as quickly as they have been absorbed.

“The Royal Conservatoire allowed me to strengthen my inner musician by learning from lots of already-established musical figures in the building.”

Daniel’s desire to learn has seen him pursue yet more study in the form of a Master’s degree at Berlin University of the Arts. Other priorities over the coming months include preparing for the first Neamt Piano Festival, of which he is Artistic Director. Held in Daniel’s hometown, the festival is open to virtuosi, teachers and keen amateurs of all ages. Never one to follow convention, Daniel believes the event will offer more than a standard festival.

He added: “I’m trying to refresh the scene a bit rather than following the usual recipes for classical concerts. Hopefully, we can even attract a young, hipster crowd to some of the concerts without the fear of being invaded by bow ties and tuxedos – that’s the plan.”

More information about Daniel Ciobanu is available by logging on to his official website.