Photo: Veronika Kotkova

Irina Botan

Pianist, Festival Founder & Co-director

The Romanian pianist Irina Botan commenced her studies aged seven at the Dinu Lipatti Music School in Bucharest. At the age of nine she gave her first recitals and won numerous national competitions, including the music Olympics and the first prize of the Cava di Tirenni International Competition in Italy. From the age of ten she played concertos with the Romanian National Radio Orchestra and the Bucharest Virtuosi in major halls in Bucharest such as the Romanian Athenaeum, the National Radio Hall and Enescu House. Many were broadcast on television and radio.


In 1996 Irina was awarded a full scholarship to the Yehudi Menuhin School in England to study with Irina Zaritzkaya and in 2000 she won a full scholarship at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Ronan O'Hora, where she received her Bachelor and Masters degrees. She also received regular lessons from Naum Grubert at Amsterdam Conservatoire and Ivry Gitlis in Paris, who is a great inspiration to her, as were masterclasses from distinguished musicians including Mstislav Rostropovich, Murray Perahia, Vladidmir Ashkenazy, Ida Haendel, Charles Rosen, Ralf Gothoni at Reina Sofia Music School in Madrid and Claude Frank at IMS Prussia Cove.


Irina now resides in London, and is performing regularly in the UK. She has given numerous solo and chamber music concerts at Wigmore Hall and has played at the Royal Festival Hall, Covent Garden, Purcell Room, Cadogan Hall, Sheldonian Theatre, Conway Hall, Fairfield Halls, St.John's Smith Square, LSO St.Luke's, St.Martin-in-the-Fields, St.James' Piccadilly,Snape Maltings, St.James' Palace and Windsor Castle. She has been broadcast on BBC Radio and TV. Irina was invited to launch a new line of Kemble-Yamaha pianos in London. She participated in the International Piano series at the South Bank Centre. Her debut solo CD on Toccata Classics label, performing music by Romanian composer Mihail Jora will be released in 2014.


Outside the UK Irina has performed in the Netherlands, Italy, France, Austria, Spain, Germany, Romania, China, Japan and the United States where she gave a televised performance at the World Bank in Washington D.C. on CBS. Performances in the  Netherlands include those at Stift Festival, the Holland Music Sessions and the Young Pianist Foundation, the Congreszal and the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague celebrating the state visit of the Romanian Prime Minister. In Paris she played for the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights at the UNESCO Headquarters. Future engagements in 2013 include concerts is Germany, USA and UK including a return to the Wigmore Hall, South Bank Centre and St. John's Smith Square.


Irina is a keen chamber musician and has performed with Ivry Gitlis, Alexander Baillie, Priya Mitchell, Daniel Rowland, Thomas Carroll, Bogdan Bozovic, Daniel Rohn, Tatiana Berman, Alexander Chaushian, Soojin Han and Timothy Walden.In 2013 she became a member of the Frankfurt based Trio Monte together with Francesco Sica and Claude Frochaux. Together they performed at the Sony Theatre in Madrid and concerts throughout Germany. She is also a co-founding member of the newly formed London International Players together with flautist Ana de la Vega. This year they will perform at prestigious concert halls in London including the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Purcell Room and St. John's Smith Square. Irina is co-Artistic Director and co-founder of the annual Highgate International Chamber Music Festival in London together with Natalie and Ashok Klouda, the first successful event having occurred in 2012.