Born in the
Greek island of Syros, Elisabeth Kounalaki began her piano lessons at the age
of five. She made her first public appearance at the age
of eleven by obtaining the first prize at the national “Keti Papaioannou”
competition. For her musical studies at the Athens Conservatory she received
her diploma with “first prize” distinction by unanimous vote. Since then she
has improved her artistic performance by working with famous personalities such
as Yvonne Lefébure in Paris, Yevgeni Malinine and Tatiana Nikolayeva (Academy
of Tours-France master classes), France Clidat, Leon Fleicher and Valery
Sagaidatchny. The main formative influence on her musical development came from
Thérèse Dussaut on three years proficiency courses at the National Conservatory
“Great European Prize” winner (1980): she has also received the medal of honor as the best Chopin’s works performer at the “Musical July” festival (Paris, 1981). “I have been very touched by your audition and I feel happy to confirm you how much pleasure you gave me; your qualities may place you brilliantly among the greatest artists…” (George Cziffra). During the Maria Callas’ International Piano Competition (Athens, 1983) she has been remarked by the Japanese producer Shinkishi Nakajima, who has invited her for a tour throughout Japan. “A promising young artist… sincere, enchanting interpretation…” (Mainichi News, Tokyo).
This experience has been the starting point of an international career, which has already brought her to Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria, France, Germany and Greece for concerts with orchestra, chamber music and solo piano recitals, always being accepted enthusiastically by the musical critics. “Her expression is full of health, freshness and spirit. Therefore her interpretations are very personal and the audience is profoundly marked.” (Kathimerini, Athens).
On the other hand she has already made many radio and television recordings in Greece, France and Japan. During the 1996-97 concert season she performed concerts with Tchaikovsky State Orchestra of Moscow conducted by Vladimir Fedosseyev. Her repertoire expands from Scarlatti and Soler up to contemporary music. Her interpretations of the complete piano works of the Greek composer Yorgo Sicilianos are available on CD as well as works of Yorgo Koumendakis. For the 2004-05 academic year she was visiting tutor in piano accompaniment at the Musical Studies University of Salonica.