Tamara-Anna Cislowska is one of Australia’s most renowned, ARIA award-winning pianists, performing and recording in Australia and internationally to critical and public acclaim. Earning international prizes in London, Italy and Greece such as the Rovere d’Oro, and touring Japan and the USA as cultural ambassador for Australia, Tamara’s accolades include ABC Young Performer of the Year, the Freedman Fellowship, an Art Music Award for ‘Performance of the Year’ (ACT) and the 2015 ARIA award for ‘Best Classical Album’.
Giving her first public performance at age two playing Bartok, and commencing studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music four years later, Tamara gave her first orchestral performance at age eight. She is the most awarded prizewinner at the Sydney Performing Arts Challenge, winner of the prestigious David Paul Landa Memorial Scholarship for pianists, and toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. As recitalist she has performed at the Purcell Room in London, Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Frick Collection in New York, and the Sydney Opera House.
Frequent guest of orchestras and festivals worldwide, Tamara’s world premiere performance of Elena Kats-Chernin’s Piano Concerto no.3, Lebewohl, with Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alondra de la Parra lead to the work’s nomination in the 2019 APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards for ‘Orchestral Work of the Year’, and an invitation to perform with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in its Vision 20/20 series, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. She has performed as soloist with the London Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, and all major Australasian symphony orchestras with conductors such as Matthias Bamert, Edo de Waart, Asher Fisch, Johannes Fritzsch, Christopher Hogwood, James Judd, Karina Canellakis, Alondra de la Parra, and Markus Stenz. Most recent soloist engagements include with Sydney Symphony (Mozart) and Queensland Symphony Orchestras (Rachmaninov, Mozart and Kats-Chernin), Tasmanian Symphony (Gorecki), Canberra Symphony (Prokofiev), and concerti by Britten and Shostakovich with SYO and The Metropolitan Orchestra (Sydney). In New Zealand, Tamara performed with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (Rachmaninov), and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (Liszt, Gershwin).
Since 2020, engagements have included sold-out concerts for Sydney Festival (2020 – Salon Series, 2021 – ’12 hands 6 grands’), CIRCA’s En Masse for Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival (USA) and Brisbane Festival, and the world premiere of ‘Human Waves’, a specially commissioned work for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ Centenary Celebrations, with music by Elena Kats-Chernin and a stunning debut as librettist by Tamara, celebrating with empathy and humour, the waves of human migration that have shaped the multicultural society which we enjoy today.
Alongside concerts for City Recital Hall, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, and ABC Classic LIVE with Teddy Tahu Rhodes, 2021 also saw the release of two new recordings for ABC Classic: ‘One Summer’s Day’ featuring the music Joe Hisiashi (and Studio Ghibli); and ‘Duet’, presenting some of the highlights from Cislowska’s eponymous weekly program with leading guest artists, for ABC Classic.
2022 heralds a return of concerts with engagements including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Four Winds Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre, UKARIA Cultural Centre (Adelaide), the Art Gallery of NSW, and regional touring for Musica Viva Australia, with collaborators including Rainer Jozeps, Sally Walker, ABC Screen Sounds presenter Dr Dan Golding and Elena Kats-Chernin.
Other recent highlights include as Music Director and performer in the Joan’s 8 Grands concert spectacular, in recital with soprano Greta Bradman and at UKARIA Cultural Centre with world-renowned soprano, Dawn Upshaw; Australian Women in Music Awards, recording and touring with Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Mountain for Sydney Film Festival, and to the Barbican (UK); Australia World Orchestra Chamber Ensemble, and Music Director for composer Elena Kats-Chernin’s Birthday Bash concert (2017) presented by City Recital Hall (Sydney). Tamara also performed for Dark MOFO (Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time) at Port Arthur, Tasmania; Darwin Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and concerts with Elena Kats-Chernin, for their two albums, Butterflying, and Unsent Love Letters: meditations on Erik Satie (ABC Classics), the latter nominated for a 2017 ARIA award for ‘Best Classical Album’ and available worldwide on Deutsche Grammophon.
Highly sought-after for chamber collaborations, Tamara was a founding member of Berlin’s Mozart Piano Quartet, touring North and South America in this ensemble, and frequently performs with international artists such as soprano Dawn Upshaw, flautist Sharon Bezaly, tenor Kenneth Tarver, and the Danish String Quartet. Tamara was also co-founder of Australia Quartet, ensemble in residence at the University of Technology, Sydney. Previous chamber collaborations have included for Pierre Cardin’s Festival de Lacoste, the Kurt Weill Festival, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Canberra International Music Festival, MONA FOMA, Musica Viva’s Huntington Festival, Four Winds, and Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.
With seven ARIA no.1 albums, most recently ‘Into Silence’ recorded with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and ‘Unsent Love Letters: meditations on Erik Satie’, available on Deutsche Grammophon outside Australia, Tamara has recorded for Chandos, Naxos, ABC Classics, Tall Poppies, Artworks and MDG (Dabringhaus und Grimm), receiving 3 ARIA nominations and critical acclaim, with 7 solo albums reaching top 10 in the classical charts. Her 2014 release, Peter Sculthorpe: Complete Works for Solo Piano (ABC Classics) enjoyed months at no.1 in the ARIA Classical and Limelight charts and was ‘Editor’s Choice – Instrumental’ in BBC Music Magazine, January 2015. Earning 5 star reviews, the landmark recording was praised as “Australian piano gold” (BBC Music Magazine), “a profoundly affecting release” (Gramophone), and “an Australian treasure” (news.com.au). Cislowska’s 2013 CD, Close your eyes and I’ll close mine (Tall Poppies) with violinist Anna McMichael was selected as ‘CD of the Week’ on both ABC Classic FM and Fine Music FM, and nominated for an AIR Independent Music Award in 2014.
Tamara features regularly on ABC Classic FM with weekly show ‘DUET’, with guests such as Lang Lang, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Steven Isserlis and Lisa Batiashvili; she also edits for Boosey & Hawkes (Berlin).
Photography: Steven Godbee
November 2021, Tamara releases DUET (ABC Classics) with 22 acclaimed and ARIA-winning guest artists who perform a duet performance, broadcast live on air, with Tamara. The album reached top ten in both ARIA’s Classical and Classical/Crossover charts. Read more here
Tamara’s 2014 CD, Peter Sculthorpe: Complete Works for Solo Piano (ABC Classics), enjoys weeks at no.1 on the ARIA Classical Charts, and 5 star reviews in BBC Music Magazine where it is ‘Recording of the Month – Instrumental’, in Limelight magazine where it is ‘Editor’s Choice’ and in Fine Music Magazine.
- “the audience welcomed one of the busiest concert pianists around, Tamara-Anna Cislowska. What a treat to be able to hear such a fantastic, sensitive and agile pianist navigate Prokofiev’s intense and lengthy cadenzas… Cislowska’s playing was impeccable. She was in turns immensely powerful and charmingly vulnerable, channelling the young Prokofiev as the pianist battles with pressures and forces internal and external… thunderous applause”The Age, Feb 2018live review, Prokofiev Piano Concerto no.2 with Canberra Symphony Orchestra,
- “a thrill to hear [Cislowska] performing the technically demanding Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor… wonderful control and contrast in her playing style – one moment delicate and sublime then suddenly heavy, solid and demanding and in powerful control of her keyboard.”Canberra CityNews, Feb 2018live review, Prokofiev Piano Concerto no.2 with Canberra Symphony Orchestra
- “Tamara-Anna Cislowska’s solos are impeccable – ravishing in the Chopin and Beethoven and crystalline in Pärt’s bell-like Für Alina”Limelight Magazine, 2017Australian Chamber Orchestra: Mountain
- “magisterial and uplifting”Limelight Magazine, 2017live review: Monet’s Flowers of War, National Gallery of Australia
- "strong and expansive. She played with a fleet-fingered fluency"The Press News, 2015live review, Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra
- "Australian piano gold"BBC Music Magazine, Jan 2015
- "Cislowska's great gift is to pick up on the saudade inherent in this distinctive, finely-crafted, lyrical music, and project it outwards in an utterly natural, unforced manner. A profoundly affecting release"Gramophone, Jan 2015album review, Peter Sculthorpe: Complete works for solo piano
- "With solid technique, innate sensitivity and interpretative powers, Cislowska commands the music’s changing moods in the 58-track collection... Cislowska’s intelligent, unerring musicianship and strong hand... make this project an Australian treasure."news.com.au, 2014album review, Peter Sculthorpe: Complete works for solo piano
- "unruffled and almost defiant virtuosity"New Zealand Herald, 2013
- "real mastery... extraordinary stamina and skill"Canberra CityNews, 2013