In the center of Vienna, next to the busy Naschmarkt, lies café Amacord. A refuge for artists, politicians, free spirits and merchants. A place to debate, to retreat, fall in love or just to be... In the beating heart of the city that acts as the bridge between East and West, the Old Europe and the New, the city of Beethoven and Schubert, Schiele and Klimt, Serbian pianist Ivana Alkovic and Dutch pianist Maarten den Hengst met each other. Their search for high art, conversation and friendship in a strange city brought them together in Amacord, where, apart from their love for music, the love for each other began to grow. This led to the birth of piano duo "Amacord". Four hands on one piano, a spectacle of intersecting lines and dynamics.
Serbian born pianist Ivana Alkovic has displayed her virtuosity and musical maturity at concerts and international festivals throughout Europe and the USA.
Ivana Alkovic has won prizes at many national and international competitions such as the Kawai competition in Tortona, the Young Pianists award in Belgrade, the Nikolai Rubinstein competition in Paris, the Ignaz Pleyel competition in Vienna, the Villa de Capdepera competition in Mallorca and the Petar Konjovic competition in Belgrade. At the prestigious Sergei Rachmaninov Piano Competition in Morcone, Italy, she received distinctive honours for her extensive Rachmaninov repertoire and her intense emotionally-charged interpretation in the final round, for which she was awarded a special prize for best virtuoso performance.
Her talent has been fostered by the support of numerous scholarships: State grants for musical talent in Serbia, and the Tokyo Foundation and Dr. Martha Sobotka-Charlotte Janaczek Foundation in Vienna. She also received a full scholarship as a pianist (after successfully competing and reaching the top 11 out of 150 finalists) at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, where she had the opportunity to work with professors of the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. During the eight-week music festival, she played many concerts and was rewarded with standing ovations. Another full scholarship enabled her to spend two weeks in New York and participate in the International Keyboard Institute and Festival.
During her university music studies, she has also worked with many internationally renowned professors such as: Paul Gulda, P. Nersesyan, Florent Boffard, Jerome Lowenthal, Joseph Kalichstein, Gilbert Kalish, Jerome Rose, Eduard Zilberkant and Alon Goldstein.
Besides her work as a soloist, miss Alkovic also enjoys playing chamber music. Together with her husband, Dutch pianist Maarten den Hengst, she forms piano duo Amacord. Ivana performs as well on a regular basis with Leyster Piano Trio.
As a student of Professor Jokut Mihailovic miss Alkovic received her Bachelor's degree with honours from the University of Music in Belgrade. After hearing Ivana's playing, famous pianist Paul Gulda invited her to continue her studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where she received her Bachelor's and Master's degree under the tutelage of Professor Roland Keller and followed a Postgraduate course in the class of Professor Noel Flores. Currently miss Alkovic lives and works in Amsterdam as a pianist and piano teacher.
Maarten den Hengst
Besides his love for the solo piano repertoire, pianist Maarten den Hengst is a sought-after chamber musician in all possible occupations and repertoire as well. He took part in many national and international festivals and performed for radio and television in Holland and abroad. He has given concerts in Germany, Belgium, Georgia, Austria, Costa Rica, Portugal, Serbia and Great Britain. He has won prizes at national and international competitions such as the Princes Christina Competition, the YPF Piano Competition, the Vriendenkrans Concertgebouw Competition, the Grachtenfestival Competition (alongside vioilinist Sanne Hunfeld) and the Tbilisi International Piano Competition in Georgia.
Over the years he has worked closely with contemporary composers like Willem Jeths, Hans Kox, Karl Fiorini, Genevieve Murphy, Willem Wander van Nieuwkerk and Marlijn Helder. As a soloist he worked together with conductors such as Jürgen Kussmaul, Jurjen Hempel, Ernst van Tiel, Fokko Oldenhuis, Coen Stuit and Loes Visser. In 2017 Maarten performed 2 concertos by L.V.Beethoven: 3rd Piano Concerto with Sinfonia Orchestra Hoorn and Triple Concerto with Floor Le Coultre (violin), Pamela Smits (cello) and Britten Jeugd Strijkorkest.
Between 2012 and 2017 he was the artistic director of the concert series Vriendenconcerten in de Zuiderkerk in Amsterdam, together with cellist Pamela Smits, organizing concerts, workshops and masterclasses. He is also a member of the renowned Pentachord Ensemble, and together with his wife Ivana Alkovic he forms piano duo Amacord. He performed in the very successful theater piece for children ''The Suleika's and the mystery of the sensitive string'' in co-operation with theater company Oorkaan and piano trio Suleika.
Maarten den Hengst studied at the Sweelinck Conservatory of Amsterdam with Mila Balawskaja and Jan Wijn, and at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna with Professor Noel Flores. He has also attended masterclasses with Irina Zaritskaja and Tatjana Zelikman, Vladimir Viardo, Philip Entremont, Jaques Rouvier, Boris Berman, Igor Roma, Menahem Pressler and many others.