Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Young Tico pianist heads to Tchaikovsky Conservatory

February 3, 2011

Costa Rican-Canadian pianist Jonathan Duarte, 17, will depart tomorrow for Moscow, Russia, to initiate piano studies at the Central Music School of the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, considered by many to be one of the best music conservatories in the world.

Three years ago, Duarte was studying piano as part of his homeschool program with the Suzuki method led by Carol Wunderle, a dedicated teacher of young pianists in Costa Rica. It was then that former Culture Minister Guido Sáenz, a long-standing promoter and supporter of arts and culture in the country, heard his music and recommended that Duarte apply to Costa Rica’s Instituto Superior de Artes, a piano institute directed by Alexandr Sklioutovski. This school, headed by Sklioutovski with the support of his wife, Tamara Sklioutovskaia, Ludmila Melzer and Valentina Tumanova, has had extraordinary success in positioning young Tico pianists on the world scene of this very competitive field.

Duarte began a rapid career ascent, and after just three years of professional study has won five international piano competitions. He has performed in New York City at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and Merkin Concert Hall, in Paris and Vilnius, Lithuania, and in Costa Rica at the National Theater and the Russian Embassy. This year, he had the privilege of being invited to attend both The Juilliard School in New York City and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

With his music, Duarte has supported humanitarian fundraising projects such as providing relief to Nicaraguans affected by disasters, along with support from the Costa Rican Red Cross.

He has recently been invited to participate in the prestigious “Moscow Meets Friends” International Festival in Russia, sponsored by the Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation and supported by the Russian presidency and UNESCO. He has also been invited to compete in Georgia and Lithuania this year, and to perform with the National Symphony of Lithuania in 2012.

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