St. Gellert Festival
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Michal Stahel

Michal Stahel was born 1979 in Bratislava (Slovakia) into a musical family and began to play the cello in the age of six yers. His success was not long in coming and he began to achieve excellent results already in young age - not only as a soloist, but also as a chamber music player. He has made a number of recordings, given interviews and as a guest taken part in various Slovak televison and radio programmes. Numerous publications in the Slovak and foreign press have helped him to attain the prestige beyound the borders of his homeland.

His musical education began in comparatively young age, as an eleven-year old he was an exceptional student at the Bratislava conservatory. He completed in 1999 his musical studies here with the title Best student of the year in the cello class of the renowned Slovak tutor Karol Filipovic. In summer 2000 he completed a successful year of study at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London in the cello class of the American cellist and teacher Stevene Doane, who is currently also teaching at the Eastman School of Music in New York. In autumn of the same year he began to study at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna.

His musical undertakings have included performances with many leading orchestras, as for example the Prague Chamber Philharmonic, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna or the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra. Also with various Slovak Orchestras like the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, with the State Philharmony Kosice and Chamber Orchestra of Zilina.

He enjoys collaborations with significant figures within Slovak musical and performing art and with distinguished conductors such as Jiri Belohlavek, Dennis Russell Davies or Ronald Zollman. Regular performances in the concert halls in Slovakia and abroad - in Rudolfinum in Prague, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Theatre of St.Carlos in Lisbon, Konzerthaus and Musikverein in Vienna have brought him to the attention of a comperatively broad public. His performances at various music festivals in Slovakia and abroad, for example at the Kultur-Festival im Weinviertel in Retz (Austria), Hietzinger Herbst in Vienna and the Klosterneuburg Festival (Austria) are also part of his varied artistic undertakings.

Thanks to his relationship to modern art and new directions of thinking, is also contemporary music close to his heart. As a consequence he has premiered on several accasions and music festivals new compositions by contemporary Slovak composers.
Hossam Mahmoud

Since 1998 Michal Stahel has been a member of the international chamber formation Beethoven Ensemble Wien, with whom he has primarily performed up to now for the Austrian audience at a number of music festivals. The founder of this dynamic ensemble known by the slogan “Three musicians, three nationalities, three temperaments, one collective passion” is Stahel's pianist of French origin Sylvaine Ilario. Thanks to co-operation in this ensemble their collaboration developed into wider dimensions and the professional duo Ilario & Stahel began to appear frequently at the concert stages across Western and Middle Europe.

Stahel's great interest in a diverse education within cello performance has led him to take part in a number of international masterclasses and music seminars. In addition to world renowned names of the music world, he collaborated most significantly of all with the English cellist Steven Isserlis in Cornwall (England) in April 1999.

Michal Stahel is also known for striving not to remove music performance from the context of other arts. This is a consequence of his close relationship to art in its entirety and is witnessed by his universal artistic outlook. This led him whilst studying the cello - which is his primary interest - to develop his talent for the appreciation of and the drawing of inspiration from piano playing, composition, fine arts, poetry and prose, artistic artefacts, photography... It is possible, thus, to say of him that his artistic foundations have a comprehensive basis.