Sofya Gulyak

pianist, Russia


Sofya Gulyak was awarded the First prize and the Princess Mary Gold Medal at the Sixteenth Leeds International Piano Competition in September 2009 – the first woman to achieve this distinction in the history of the competition. Since then she has appeared to great acclaim all over the world. Her recital programs are frequently reviewed in superlatives, and her concerto appearances with major orchestras are written up in glowing terms by the world's music press. Sofya has been praised for her ”tremendous precision and coloration...exquisite soft playing...delicacy.” (The Washington Post).

Sofya Gulyak’s resume includes prizes at many prestigious piano competitions: she is a First Prize winner of the William Kapell International Piano Competition (USA), the Maj Lind Helsinki International Piano Competition, the Tivoli Piano Competition (Copenhagen), the Gyeongnam International Piano Competition (South Korea), the San Marino Piano Competition, the Second Prize winner (first not awarded) of the Busoni Competition (Italy) and the Third Prize winner of the Marguerite Long Piano Competition (Paris).

Sofya Gulyak is a native of Kazan (Russia) where she studied at a special music college for gifted children, and afterwards at the Kazan State Conservatoire under Professor Elfiya Burnasheva. Ms. Gulyak also graduated from Ecole Normale de Music de Paris Alfred Cortot, with the highest distinction, before continuing her studies at Piano Academy Incontri col Maestri (Imola, Italy) with Boris Petrushansky and at the Royal College of Music with Vanessa Latarche.

Recitals and concert appearances have been numerous, with Ms. Gulyak having performed all over the world in venues such as Sala Verdi (Milan), Hercules-Saal (Munich), Salle Cortot, Salle Gaveau and Salle Pleyel (Paris), the Large Concert Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, Konzerthaus (Berlin), Gewandhaus (Leipzig), Kennedy Center (Washington), Palais se Musique (Strasbourg), Sala Bossi (Bologna), Finlandia Concert Hall (Helsinki), Leeds Town Hall, Salle Moliere (Lyon), Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles), King Theatre (Rabat), Kursaal (Bern), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Teatro Municipal (Rio de Janeiro), Aberdeen Music Hall, Hong Kong City Hall, and Tivoli Concert Hall (Copenhagen).

As a soloist, Sofya Gulyak has appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic, Rio de Janeiro Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Halle Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish, Orchestra of Fondazione Arena di Verona, Orchestra Filarmonica di Bologna, Bucharest Philharmonic, Stavanger Symphony, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonic Rheinland-Pfalz orchestra, Ulster Sumphony, the Oulu Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Morocco Orchestra, the Copenhagen Symphony, the Orchestre National de France, the Haydn Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Kazan Symphony, the Samara Symphony, and the Kazan Chamber Orchestra.

She has played under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sakari Oramo, Marc Elder, David Hill, Donald Runnicles, Vasily Petrenko, Alan Buribayev, Eiving Gullberg Jensen, Theodor Guschlbauer, Rory McDonald, Danail Rachev, Fabio Mastrangelo, Michele Mariotti, Fuat Mansurov.

She has participated in many festivals, including Klavier Ruhr Festival, the Chopin Festival in Duzniki-Zdroj, Festival du Sceaux, Festival d’Annecy, the International Keyboard Festival (New York), the International Strasbourg Festival, the Busoni Festival, the Harrogate Festival, the Cracow Piano Festival, the Liszt Festival in Villa d’Este, Nordlys Festival (Norway), Ravello Festival, and the Sorrento Music Festival. Ms. Gulyak also served as a jury member at international piano competitions in Italy, Serbia, France, Greece and USA. Her playing has been broadcasted on radio and TV in Russia, Poland, France, Italy, Germany, USA, Finland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom (BBC 3 and BBC 4).