Hailed by The Times as a “remarkable cellist” and described by Gramophone as “sheer perfection”, Kian Soltani’s playing is characterised by a depth of expression, sense of individuality and technical mastery, alongside a charismatic stage presence and ability to create an immediate emotional connection with his audience. He is now invited by the world’s leading orchestras, conductors and recital promoters, propelling him from rising star to one of the most talked about cellists performing today.
In 23/24 season he is the Focus Artist of Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and will share stages with Wiener Symphoniker, WDR Sinfonieorchester, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, and NHK Symphony Orchestra. Aside from orchestral and recital concerts, he will maintain busy schedule comprising of tours with Camerata Salzburg and Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
His recent orchestral highlights include Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. As a recitalist he continues to appear in prestigious halls and series including Pierre Boulez Saal, Berlin; Wigmore Hall, London; Schubertiade; Musikverein, Vienna; Beethovenhaus, Bonn; and Konzerthaus Dortmund.
In 2017, Soltani signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon and his first disc “Home”, comprising works for cello and piano by Schubert, Schumann and Reza Vali, was released to international acclaim in 2018, with Gramophone describing the recording as “sublime”. Soltani has since recorded discs including the Dvorak and Tchaikovsky Piano Trios with Lahav Shani and Renaud Capucon, recorded live at Aix Easter Festival in 2018 released by Warner Classics and Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim in August 2020.
He recently won Innovative Listening Experience Award at the coveted Opus Klassik Awards 2022, Germany’s most prestigious classical music prize which honours outstanding artists and recordings, for his “Cello Unlimited” album released back in October 2021. He has worked on this latest disc with Deutsche Grammophon during the entirety of 2020, and it is a celebration of the cello and film music. Of the disc, Soltani wrote “Everything you will hear on this album is made only and exclusively with my cello and played only by me. The possibilities of this instrument are unlimited and infinite, and this album is a celebration of the instrument and of epic film music as well”.
Soltani attracted worldwide attention in April 2013 as winner of the International Paulo Cello Competition in Helsinki. In February 2017 Soltani won Germany’s celebrated Leonard Bernstein Award and in December 2017, he was awarded the prestigious Credit Suisse Young Artist Award.
Born in Bregenz, Austria, in 1992 to a family of Persian musicians, Soltani began playing the cello at age four and was only twelve when he joined Ivan Monighetti’s class at the Basel Music Academy. He was chosen as an Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation scholarship holder in 2014 and completed his further studies as a member of the Young Soloist Programme at Germany’s Kronberg Academy. He received additional important musical training at the International Music Academy in Liechtenstein. As of October 2023, he holds position as a professor of cello at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria.
Kian Soltani plays “The London, ex Boccherini" Antonio Stradivari cello, kindly loaned to him by a generous sponsor through the Beares International Violin Society.
Mana Oguchi, who was born in Japan, began playing the piano at the age of three. After attending the Music High School attached to the Faculty of Music of Tokyo University of the Arts, she graduated from the Department of Instrumental Music belonging to the Faculty of Music of Tokyo University of the Arts. After her studies at the Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai) she came to Germany to study at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover where she graduated Master’s degree. During her studies she has learned with Kei Ito, Karl Heinz-Kämmerling, and Markus Becker.
Mana Oguchi also took part in several competitions. She was prize winner of the 3rd Tokyo Music Competition. Aditionally, she won second prize in the piano category at the 10th Concert Marronnier 21.
She has performed with the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, the Wernigerode Chamber Orchestra, the Festival Orchestra of the Lake Constance International Music Festival, the Yokohama City Philharmonic Orchestra and others. She was a Yamaha Music Foundation Scholarship recipient, a DAAD Scholarship recipient and a trainee under the Agency for Cultural Affairs' Overseas Study Program for Emerging Artists. She has been invited to numerous music festivals including Budapest Spring Music Festival, Holland International Music Festival, Kusatsu International Music Festival, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Music Festival, Cello Academy Rutesheim, Chigiana Internatinal Festival and others.
As a chamber musician, she has been active in Germany, Holland, England, Austria, Belgium, and other countries, performing with Claudio Bohorquez, Arto Noras, Ekkehard Berringer, Thomas Indermühle, Sào Soulez Larivière and others. Mana Oguchi is an official pianist of the ARD International Music Competition.
After working at the Musikhochschule Hannover for couple of years, she is currently teaching at the Hanns Eisler University of Music since 2017 and she has been a regular piano accompanist at Kronberg Academy since 2023.