Kit Armstrong

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Kit Armstrong, 2014

Kit Armstrong (born March 5, 1992 in Los Angeles , California ) is an American pianist , organist and composer .


His mother is a Taiwanese investment banker. He never met his father, an Englishman. When he was nine months old he began to speak, a little later to count and calculate. Armstrong began playing and composing the piano at the age of five, made his concert debut at the age of eight, and performed his first composition on the Late Show with David Letterman at the age of ten . In addition to primary school, the gifted student attended high school at the same time. The youngest student ever to enter Chapman University of California, he studied composition and physics and moved to Utah State University when he was nine to study music, math, biology, and physics. From 2003 he studied piano with Claude Frank and Eleanor Sokoloff at the Curtis Institute of Music and at the same time mathematics and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania . He graduated with honors from the Royal Academy of Music in London and won the international Kissinger Piano Olympics competition in 2006 .

Armstrong was also taught by Alfred Brendel from the age of 13 . Brendel described the young musician in 2008 as a “child prodigy” and “greatest musical talent that I have encountered in my entire life”. The young musician, however, largely eluded the "marketing machinery" that followed and finished his studies in mathematics at Imperial College London . At the same time he gave concerts “solo and as a chamber musician; not in the really big halls, but in hand-picked, fine locations ”.

Armstrong acquired the Sainte-Thérèse-de-l'Enfant-Jésus church in Hirson , France, in February 2012 and in 2013 founded the non-profit foundation Les Amis de Kit Armstrong: Société Sainte-Thérèse , which organizes concerts in the church over the summer months.

In 2013 the music label Sony Classical released Armstrong's debut album Bach-Ligeti-Armstrong . On the CD he presents 12 chorale preludes for organ by Johann Sebastian Bach in his own transcription for piano, his self-composed homage Fantasy on BACH and a selection from Musica ricercata by György Ligeti . Armstrong's Fantasy on BACH is inspired by the chorale arrangements from Bach's little organ book. It was important to him to use certain properties of these pieces such as a precisely defined character, a uniformity in texture and timbre, as well as variations around a melody theme, which is retained even in its original form, for his homage to Bach.

The repertoire of the artist, who has performed in all major concert halls around the world since 2013 and performs with renowned orchestras, consists of works by Bach , Bartók , Beethoven , Brahms , Chopin , Debussy , Haydn , Liszt , Mozart , Mendelssohn , Ravel and Schumann . This includes the entire Well-Tempered Clavier Volume 1 by Johann Sebastian Bach, all of the sonatas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and some Beethoven sonatas.

Armstrong has composed works of various genres. These include piano sonatas, works for violin and other instruments, and a symphony entitled Celebration , which was premiered by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. He no longer wants to see this work performed because it does not exhaust the possibilities of an orchestra.

Armstrong performs regularly as a piano trio with the violinist Andrej Bielow and the cellist Adrian Brendel . In 2016 Armstrong was Artiste étoile at the Würzburg Mozart Festival . On the occasion of the Alfred Brendel homage in spring 2017, he made guest appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic under Herbert Blomstedt with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, op. 37 in Berlin, Munich and Vienna. In November 2017 Armstrong performed his 2015 composed Concerto for Fortepiano and Strings with the Baroque Ensemble Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in the Prinzregententheater .

Armstrong has also performed as an organist since 2016. In April 2018 he made his debut on the Karl Schuke organ in the Berlin Philharmonic .

Armstrong's compositions are published by the Leipzig music publisher Edition Peters .

Armstrong is fluent in four languages ​​and also enjoys origami in his spare time .

He lives in the French parish of Hirson in the Sainte-Thérèse-de-l'Enfant-Jésus church , which he bought in 2013.




Films (selection)

  • Set the Piano Stool on Fire. Documentary 2011, 76:00 min. Director: Mark Kidel, Production: Artificial Eye. World premiere on June 4th 2011 at the Curzon Soho Late Night Film Festival, UK. DVD release on July 11th, 2011. Synopsis at The Arts Desk.
  • Kit Armstrong live from the Concertgebouw Amsterdam performs Bach's Goldberg-Variationen and its predecessors. Concert film 2017, 126 min. Production: Naxos Germany. DVD release July 28, 2017. Byrd : Hugh Aston's Ground; Sweelinck : My young life has an end SwWV 324 and have mercy on me, O Lord God SwWV 303; Bull : Walsingham (Musica Britannica, Vol.19, No.85); Bach: Goldberg Variations. Recorded on March 13, 2016.

Web links

Commons : Kit Armstrong  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Claus Spahn: The boy who slept on ice cubes. Die Zeit , February 26, 2009, accessed March 31, 2012 .
  2. a b Tim Smith: Kit Armstrong is a notable pianist at age 13. The Baltimore Sun , June 10, 2005, accessed January 17, 2016 .
  3. Allan Kozinn : MUSIC FESTIVAL REVIEW; Masters of the Keyboard, Courtesy of a 12-year-old. The New York Times , July 16, 2004, accessed November 8, 2008 .
  4. Kit Armstrong . Stop laughing, we're rehearsing. In: Fono Forum . Issue October, October 2013 ( [accessed on January 17, 2016]).
  5. Ljubiša Tošić: Alfred Brendel: "I have never been an optimist". Der Standard , January 3, 2016, accessed January 17, 2016 .
  6. Tobias Haberl: This boy is the most unusual talent I have ever met. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin . Issue 45, 2008 ( [accessed on January 17, 2016]).
  7. Monika Willer: Pianist Kit Armstrong doesn't want to be a child prodigy. Westfalenpost , April 2, 2014, accessed on January 17, 2016 .
  8. ^ Christoph Forsthoff: Interview Kit Armstrong. "I am just a curious person". Concerti , accessed January 17, 2016 .
  9. Carolin Pirich: Pianist Kit Armstrong: Waiting is good. Die Zeit , October 2, 2013, accessed on January 17, 2016 .
  10. Dominique Langard: Le pianiste surdoué Kit Armstrong achète une église pour thunder son 1 concert. France Télévisions , March 5, 2014, accessed November 19, 2017 (French).
  11. George Predota: The Sorcerer's Apprentice He set the Piano Stool on Fire! Alfred Brendel and Kit Armstrong. Interlude, July 19, 2017, accessed November 19, 2017 .
  12. Bach, Ligeti, Armstrong. Badische Zeitung , November 14, 2013, accessed on November 20, 2017 .
  13. Kit Armstrong talks about his Fantasy on BACH - Interview with musical examples. In: YouTube . C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik , September 26, 2013, accessed on October 7, 2013 .
  14. ^ Frank Armbruster: Kit Armstrong, Andrej Bielow & Adrian Brendel. Concerti , accessed November 19, 2017 .
  15. ^ Felix Stephan : Summit meeting of the classic veterans in the concert hall. Vienna Philharmonic on anniversary tour in Berlin. Berliner Morgenpost , May 6, 2017, accessed on November 19, 2017 .
  16. Ursula Adamski-Störmer: Interview with the pianist Kit Armstrong: Mozart, origami and your own church. BR-Klassik , June 4, 2016, accessed November 19, 2017 .
  17. Michael Stallknecht: Laptop and Hammerklavier. Süddeutsche Zeitung , November 14, 2017, accessed on November 19, 2017 .
  18. Martin Möller: Debut concert: pianist Kit Armstrong plays the organ in Trier's Constantine Basilica. Trierischer Volksfreund , August 8, 2016, accessed on November 19, 2017 .
  19. Kit Armstrong - The Berlin Organ Debut. Berliner Philharmonie , accessed on November 19, 2017 .
  20. Hartmut Welscher: Kit Armstrong. A certain satellite feeling. (Interview). VAN - A web magazine for classical music, September 3, 2015, accessed on November 19, 2017 .
  21. ↑ Talented languages. Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Paul Meyer and Kit Armstrong. FAZ of November 10, 2010, p. 40.
  22. ^ The ASCAP Foundation Names Winners of the 2002 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers , February 2, 2002, accessed November 19, 2017 .
  23. ^ The ASCAP Foundation Names Winners of the 2003 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers , April 24, 2003, accessed November 19, 2017 .
  24. ^ The ASCAP Foundation Names Winners of the 2004 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers , April 12, 2004, accessed November 19, 2017 .
  25. ^ The ASCAP Foundation Names Winners of the 2005 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers , May 26, 2005, accessed November 19, 2017 .
  26. ^ The ASCAP Foundation Names Recipients of the 2007 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers , April 12, 2007, accessed November 19, 2017 .
  27. ^ The ASCAP Foundation Charlotte V. Bergen Scholarship. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers , accessed November 19, 2017 .
  28. ^ The ASCAP Foundation Names Recipients of the 2011 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers , April 4, 2011, accessed November 19, 2017 .
  29. Best list 4-2017. German Record Critics ' Award , November 15, 2017, accessed on October 29, 2017 .
  30. Konrad Bockemühl: Kit Armstrong. Big appearance in the neighboring country. Kieler Nachrichten , November 30, 2017, accessed on November 30, 2017 .
  31. The pianist Kit Armstrong receives the Beethoven Ring 2018. Citizens for Beethoven eV, accessed on November 15, 2018 .