Born: August 21st, 1984
Country of origin: Latvia
The pianist Vestard Shimkus, born in Latvia on 21 August 1984, began to gain an international recognition after debut performances with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Borodin Quartet, violinist Isabelle van Keulen, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and the Tallin Chamber Orchestra, as well as after winning first prizes at various international piano competitions, including the 55th Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona (2009) and the 5th Bad Kissingen KlavierOlympiade (2007).
Vestard Shimkus began his piano studies at the age of five at the Emīls Dārziņš Music School in Riga and later studied piano with Dmitri Bashkirov and Claudio Martinez Mehner in Madrid, Daniel Pollack in Los Angeles, Vadim Suchanov in Munich as well as composition with Peteris Vasks. He attended piano master classes with Boris and Lazar Berman, Alexander Satz, Emanuel Krasowsky, Peter Frankl, Joan Havil, Alexander Sandler and Igor Zhukov.
Shimkus’s recitals, concerto and chamber music performances throughout Europe, the USA, the Middle East, Japan and China were often highly acclaimed by the audiences and critics alike. He has been invited to perform at the Bad Kissingen Summer Festival, Bergen Festival, Lockenhaus Festival, Kremerata Baltica Festival, Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival and Al Bustan Festival in Beirut, Lebanon.
Vestard Shimkus received a scholarship of the foundation "New Names of the Planet" and was awarded the “White Star” Order of Estonia (2005) as well as the Great Latvian Music Award (2002 and 2009 – for the first performance of Peteris Vasks’s complete piano cycle “Gadalaiki – The Seasons” and the piano piece “Vasaras vakara muzika – Music for a Summer Evening” by Peteris Vasks on 23 September 2009).Some of his compositions have been published by Schott Music.