Instrumentalist - Piano

Called "a pianist's pianist" by The New Yorker, Cecile Licad's artistry is a blend of daring musical instinct and superb training. Her natural talent was honed at the Curtis Institute of Music by three of the greatest performer/pedagogues of our time: Rudolf Serkin, Seymour Lipkin and Mieczyslaw Horszowski. Licad's large repertoire as an orchestral soloist spans the Classical works of Mozart and Beethoven, the Romantic literature of Brahms, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Rachmaninoff, and on to the 20th century compositions of Debussy, Ravel, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Bartók.

Ms. Licad’s 2019-20 engagements include Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with Fresno Philharmonic, a recital with Danbury Concert Association, a joint recital with cellist Alban Gerhardt with Shriver Hall Concert Series in Baltimore, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 with Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 with Maryland Lyric Opera Orchestra. She is also recording the complete Gershwin works for piano and orchestra under the baton of Gerard Salonga.

Ms. Licad can be heard in the recently released album titled American Landscapes (Danacord), which was named “Classical New Release Of The Month” for March 2019 by 90.5FM WKAR Classical of Michigan State University. The album is the third volume of her critically acclaimed Anthology of American Piano Music, which explores lesser played music of American composers. Of the Anthology, Pianist Magazine wrote, “To hear a master pianist like Cecile Licad tackle these works is a luxury not often granted when unknown piano music is concerned. It’s usually left to the second-division pianists to be dragged into the studio to record the ‘outsiders’. Not so here.”

Ms. Licad’s recent engagements include Nashville Symphony’s summer season playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at the opening concert; Liszt’s Piano Concerto No.1 and Totentanz in the Cultural Center of the Philippines with the ABS-CBN Symphony; a recital at the Husum Rare Music Festival in Germany, as well as at Festival Miami; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with San Antonio Symphony under Sebastian Lang-Lessing; Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Spokane Symphony; Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall; Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with Stamford Symphony; Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 with Vallejo Symphony; Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, under Lawrence Rachleff; returns to Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Adrian (MI) Symphony Orchestra; performing with Northwest Sinfonietta in Seattle and Tacoma, as well as North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra; and recitals in Boston’s Isabella Gardner Museum and at the Harvard Musical Association, also in San Jose, California and in Bogota, Colombia.

A memorable highlight was her collaboration with the Wynton Marsalis Septet performing the music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk to accompany the feature film Louis, a silent film homage to Louis Armstrong which premiered in Chicago’s Symphony Center and was also seen at the Apollo Theater in New York City as well as in Detroit, Bethesda and Philadelphia. The project was repeated in London with two performances in Barbican Hall followed by a recording of the live music at Abbey Road studios.

Ms. Licad has toured in Germany in past seasons with Wurtemburg Philharmonic and appeared with Freiburg Orchestra performing the Shostakovich Concerto for Piano and Trumpet. She has appeared in North America with orchestras such as Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and many others. In Europe she has played with London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bayerisches Rundfunk Orchester, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Moscow State Academy Symphony. In Asia, she has performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra, and her native Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. Among the conductors with whom she has collaborated are Andrew Davis, Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Gerard Schwarz, Michael Tilson-Thomas, David Zinman, Pinchas Zukerman, as well as the late Kurt Masur, Claudio Abbado, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Georg Solti, Eugene Ormandy, and Mstislav Rostropovich.

Cecile Licad has performed in recital with Murray Perahia, Peter Serkin and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, with whom she has appeared at Lincoln Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and the Kennedy Center, respectively. She also performs with cellist Alban Gerhardt in Germany and in the US. She appeared as soloist in the Steinway Piano Sesquicentennial Celebration at Carnegie Hall, performing six Rachmaninoff songs with tenor Ben Heppner, and has made television appearances with Mstislav Rostropovich. 

As a highly regarded chamber musician, she has performed regularly with ensembles such as the New York Chamber Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Guarneri Quartet, Takacs Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Music from Marlboro. She also appeared as guest soloist on tour with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Leipzig, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Köln, among other European cities.

Her summer festival appearances have included Caramoor, Tanglewood, the International Music Festival of Seattle, Mostly Mozart Festival (in both New York and Tokyo) as well as the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Chamber Music  and Eastern Music Festival.  She has also performed at the Great Mountains Music Festival in Korea.

On the Music Masters label, Licad released a recording of three works by Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin, Gaspard de la Nuit, and Sonatine. She has an all-Gottschalk recording on the Naxos label. And on Sony Classical, she has recorded Schumann’s Carnaval, Papillions and Toccata in C Major; and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado. Her CBS Masterworks release of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2, with André Previn conducting the London Philharmonic, was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin. Angel/EMI produced her solo all-Chopin recordings, which include Études, op. 10. Also for Angel/EMI, she recorded, with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, the Franck Sonata in A Major, the Brahms Sonata No. 2 in A Major, and Sonatensatz in C Major.

Cecile Licad began her piano studies at the age of three with her mother, Rosario Licad, in her native Philippines, and later studied with the highly regarded Rosario Picazo. At seven, she made her debut as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Philippines. As one of the youngest musicians to receive the prestigious Leventritt Gold Medal, Ms. Licad won immediate international recognition, and her career was launched. 


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