Educated in Hanover, Berlin and London, pianist Paul Cibis has performed on five continents and established an international presence. He has played solo and duo recitals at festivals in his native Germany, France, the UK, the US, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and appeared in the electronic media around the world, including the BBC, WDR, 3Sat, ORB, HR, RTHK and CCTV.
Following his interest in presenting classical music in unique and innovative ways, Paul has created the PIANO BATTLE. concert brand which he has co-developed with fellow pianist Andreas Kern. Their celebrated shows have been performed in Europe, Asia and the US. Its success has led to further invitations to major venues and festivals in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy, Germany and the US, including the Beethovenfest Bonn, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Klavierfestival Ruhr, Rheingau Musik Festival, the Prinzregententheater Munich, Berlin Philharmonie, Seoul Arts Center or National Concert Hall Taipei.
Paul has also been involved in various film projects. He penned the music scores for several short films, and was the initiator and music supervisor of the international award-winning documentary PIANOMANIA.
His CD recordings include an album of French mélodies and piano works by Berlioz, Fauré and Debussy, with German mezzo-soprano Barbara Senator. His latest album features a collection of solo pieces by Taiwanese composer Kai-nan Huang.
As an educator Paul Cibis has been teaching in master classes and workshops for pianists in Germany, UK, US, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. He is the co-director of the annual Oxford Piano School summer course, and a founding member and current chairman of the international Peter Feuchtwanger Society.
Paul Cibis studied piano with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling (HMTM Hanover), Peter Feuchtwanger (London) and Graham Johnson (GSMD London); and read musicology and philosophy at universities in Berlin and at Royal Holloway, University of London.
From 2005 to 2009, Paul was a vocal coach at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in London. He conducted piano and Lieder workshops at music academies in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. He was also an adjudicator at the Hong Kong Music & Speech Festival Competition in 2014 and 2019.
"As the competition got white-hot, the performers and the audience found themselves unable to sit back down… as the crowd looked on, nervous and excited, immersed in the beauty and tension of the music … And when the smoke clears, the only thing that’s been defeated is the barrier between classical music and the audience."
(map Magazine, China)
"The Piano Battle between the two men facing each other at the grand pianos is a publicly staged and artfully performed contemplation of the classical concert business as well as classical music itself. Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis purposefully present their expertly executed craft in the wrong – an athletic - context and let the unique qualities of their performance shine even brighter this way. Between the comedic remarks and over the course of a lovely Schubert Impromptu and a biting Ligeti piece, they compel the audience to engage in the focused mindfulness that is necessary to truly appreciate music."
(Berliner Morgenpost, Germany)
Originally created for the Hong Kong City Festival, PIANO BATTLE has been performed for sold-out audiences in Europe, the United States and Asia – including the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, Seoul Arts Center and an open air spectacle before 6,000 fans in Taiwan. The show has also been well-received in the pianists‘ home country where Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis have performed for enthusiastic audiences in concert halls and at festivals all over Germany – including the Beethovenfest Bonn, Rheingau Musik Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Prinzregententheater Munich and the Philharmonie Berlin.
Andreas Kern and Paul Cibis have expanded their concept – in 2016 with the premiere of their show sequel PIANO BATTLE – Ready for Fame, and in 2017 with their latest creation PIANO BATTLE meets ORCHESTRA.
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Education is one the most rewarding activities one can engage in as a musician. I was fortunate to start my path as an assistant of Prof Peter Feuchtwanger, who mentored many of the world's leading concert pianists.
One of my long-term passion has always been the research on healthy piano techniques that prevent and successfully treat any playing-related injuries such as tendonitis, exostosis and focal dystonia etc. In London, I assisted Prof Feuchtwanger at several master classes and workshops for the International Society for Study of Tension in Performance (ISSTIP) and the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) in London.
Today, I am one of the founding members and current chairman of the international PETER FEUCHTWANGER SOCIETY. The society supports musicological and pedagogical research projects through the annual Feuchtwanger Piano Symposium and the establishment of a Peter Feuchtwanger Archive.
Whenever my performing schedule allows, I am keen to meet the next generation of musicians. Over the years, I have been invited to conduct master classes and workshops for pianists in Germany, UK, US, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea (Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Shanghai Normal University, Xinghai Conservatory of Music Guangzhou, China, Yamaha Centre Taichung, Taiwan, and Keongnam Arts High School Jinju, South Korea).
In 2016, together with my colleague Pavel Timofeyevsky, I founded the Oxford Piano School, an annual piano course held in conjunction with the Oxford Cello School’s summer festival in Oxford, UK. From 2021 onward, this summer course extends and continues as the PHILOMEL MUSIC ACADEMY, now taking place at Harrow School, London.
The international award-winning documentary PIANOMANIA (2009), is the culmination of another musical project that I am proud to have initiated. Based on the eclectic character of Steinway technician Stefan Knüpfer who was an old acquaintance of mine, my brother film-maker Robert Cibis produced a film about Knüpfer's life and work with various pianist personalities. I was also the music supervisor during its filming and post production period.
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Oxford Piano School
Much more than just an ordinary week of piano masterclasses; the Oxford Piano School (OPS) gives its participants a unique opportunity to immerse themselves, head to toe, into a week of wide ranging musical activities and experiences.
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The society aims at disseminating the instrumental pedagogical concept of pianist and pedagogue Peter Feuchtwanger, and promoting its further development.
1994 - 1998: Studies piano with Prof. Karl-Heinz Kämmerling at Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien (HMTM) in Hanover, Germany (Diploma in 1998)1998 - 2001: Reads musicology and philosophy at Humboldt University, University of Art in Berlin, and Royal Holloway, University of London2001 - 2003: Postgraduate student at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, studying with Graham Johnson, Robin Bowman and Eugene Asti (MMus in 2002)1998 - 2004: Private student of Prof Peter Feuchtwanger, London1996 - 2004: Master classes and private lessons with Sergio Fiorentino, Hartmut Höll, Irwin Gage, Christa Ludwig, Sarah Walker, Thomas Hampson and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
1992: Ibach-Prize for Outstanding Pianists1994: Bayreuth scholarship of the Richard Wagner Foundation2000 - 2001: Scholarship of the Erasmus/Socrates programme of the European Union2013-2014: Scholarship for the Concerto21 Summer Academy & Mentorship Programme of the Alfred Toepfer Foundation F.V.S. in Hamburg, Germany
2002 - 2012: Assistant of Prof. Peter Feuchtwanger in London and at master classes and workshops of the International Society for Study of Tension in Performance (ISSTIP) and the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) in London - Intensive experience in dealing with physiological aspects of piano playing and successful treatment of playing-related problems and injuries such as tendonitis, exostosis, focal dystonia etc2003 - 2005: Professional accompanist at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, LondonSince 2004: Master Classes and workshops for pianists in Germany, UK, USA, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea2005 - 2009: Vocal coach at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, London2007 - 2009: Lieder master classes and concerts at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, China2009: Lieder workshop in Durban, South Africa (Amazwi Omzansi Africa Foundation)2009, 2010 & 2014: Adjudicator for pianists at the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival Competition, and at Great Melody School, Hong KongSince 2016: Co-Founder or the annual Oxford Piano School summer courseSince 2018: Founding member and current chairman of the international Peter Feuchtwanger Society2021: Lieder workshop at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Singapore
2004: Solo and duo recordings on two albums of the Waiteata Collection Of New Zealand Music (Volumes VIII & IX)2009: "La Bonne Chanson", an album of French songs and piano solo music, recorded together with mezzo-soprano Barbara Senator, published by Music Chamber, London2011: "The Story In Mind", a solo album of piano pieces by composer Kai-nan Huang, released by ArchiMusic, Taipei
Compositions & Miscellanious
1991: Film score for the short movie Der deutsche Mittagstisch, published by CIRO Film, Germany1999 - 2003: Pianist of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie orchestra (e.g. soloist in "Petroushka" by Stravinsky), also member of the programme committee; concerts with the orchestra in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain2007: World premiere performance of the song cycle 7 Art Songs by Tony Hymas, together with mezzo-soprano Monica Brett- Crowther in London (with BBC recording)2008 - 2009: Initiator and music supervisor of the international award-winning documentary "Pianomania", produced by OVALmedia Berlin, Germany
Performances & Piano Battle
Since 1998: Solo and duo recitals at festivals in his native Germany, France, the UK, the US, South Africa, Australia and New ZealandSince 2000: Radio & TV performances for various media stations around the world, including the BBC, WDR, 3Sat, ORB, HR, RTHK and CCTVSince 2012: Co-Creator of the PIANO BATTLE concert brand. Performances at venues & festivals in Europe, Asia and the US including the Beethovenfest Bonn, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Klavierfestival Ruhr, Rheingau Musik Festival, the Prinzregententheater Munich, Berlin Philharmonie, Seoul Arts Center or National Concert Hall Taipei.
Online since November 2020.
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Photos © Mathias Bothor, Irwin Dermer, Gao Wei, Joseph Chen and Piano Battle.
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