Possessing passion and sensitivity, phenomenal technique and “dazzling virtuosity” (New York Times), pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico is a compelling force, whether she is playing a Liszt piano solo, a Mozart chamber work, the Grieg concerto, or the premiere of a new work by a living composer. CBC Music named her one of 20 Can’t-Miss Classical Pianists of 2014, and one of Canada’s 25 best classical pianists in 2015.
Born in Ottawa, Canada, Petrowska Quilico, studied at Juilliard, and went on to studies in Paris and Germany with Ligeti and Stockhausen. Her professional career has taken her across the U.S. and Canada, as well as to Taiwan, the Middle East, France, Germany, Greece and Ukraine. She has appeared in recital in Carnegie, Alice Tully and Merkin Halls, and with most of Canada’s leading orchestras and the symphony orchestras of Greek Radio and Taipei.
She has premiered well over 200 works. Of the more than 43 concertos she has performed with orchestra, 22 have been contemporary, many of these premieres. During her career, she also received coaching from composers Pierre Boulez and John Cage prior to performing their works. She has recorded four CDs with her late husband, Louis Quilico and three CDs of the music of her first husband, Michel-Georges Brégent.
In recorded output, few artists can match Petrowska Quilico, particularly in contemporary music. Among her 50 plus CDs are five albums comprising eight Canadian piano concertos; and solo and chamber works by contemporary Canadian and international composers. Four of her CDs of Canadian music have earned JUNO Awards nominations, three of them for concerto CDs, and one for Glass Houses Revisited. This last is one of five CD titles (seven actual CDs) she has devoted exclusively to the music of Ann Southam (1937-2010), the Canadian composer with whom her name is almost synonymous. The CD has become one of Centrediscs’ all-time best sellers. In 2014, CBC Music named it one of “30 best Canadian classical recordings ever”.
Her recorded performances are sometimes literally out of this world. Her CD of David Mott’s world music inspired concerto Eclipse (written for her), debuted in outer space when astronaut Steve MacLean brought it on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis. MacLean also took her recording of Alexina Louie’s Star-Filled Night on his first mission on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1992.
She continues to be sought after as an adjudicator for a performer of contemporary music – as well as traditional classical music. In 2019, she served in both capacities at the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition. Recent years have seen her appear in the Montreal contemporary music series Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, and Innovations en concert.
Petrowska Quilico received the 2007 Friends of Canadian Music Award from the Canadian Music Centre and Canadian League of Composers, and was named co-winner of the 2010 Harry Freedman Recording Award, from the CMC’s Harry Freedman Fund.
In addition to her concert career, Christina Petrowska Quilico is a Full Professor of Piano and Musicology at York University, Toronto.