born in Germany, won a junior state scholarship whilst still at school to study piano performance with Prof. Helmut Weinrebe at the Cologne College of Music. He went on to study with a number of internationally renowned professors, being a student of Karl-Heinz Kämmerling (Hanover, Salzburg) and attending master classes given by Vitaly Margulis (Leningrad, Freiburg im Breisgau, Los Angeles), Detlef Kraus (Essen, Hamburg) and Bernard Ringeissen (Paris).
Tobias Bigger was a prizewinner at the International Piano Competition in Senigallia, Italy, in 1982.
After practising as a lawyer, he decided to focus exclusively on his work as a pianist in 1998. He proceeded to make appearances as a soloist both in Germany and abroad and has for many years been active as a chamber musician and song accompanist, joining other musicians in various regular partnerships.
The pianist has a special penchant for rarely performed music, particularly virtuosic arrangements. In this field, Bigger has gained renown both in concerts and through his CD recordings, many of which feature works recorded for the first time ever.
So far, his discography includes five solo CDs, recorded for labels in Germany, Sweden and the USA, as well as (together with Bigger’s long-standing duo partner) a violin/piano CD released by a Spanish label.
Mr. Bigger’s performances have been enthusiastically acclaimed by critics.
This is true both for live performances
—— “Lively and elegant piano playing with absolutely flawless technique” (Elbmarsch-Post, Bleckede, Germany); “Bigger provided evidence of his stupendous virtuosity… With clear rhythmics and meticulous technique, his playing contains the nuances which are the key to a lively interpretation.” (Augsburger Allgemeine, Germany); “Impressive top-class… perfection at the highest level” (Westfälische Rundschau, Dortmund, Germany); “…could hear a virtuoso who seems sure to have a great career” (LaPresse, Montreux, Switzerland) ——
and for the CD recordings
—— “Marvellously played" (Crescendo magazine, Brussels, Belgium); "Bigger's own notes are exemplary in their clarity, and his playing, abetted by a fine recording, reveals similar qualities of care, discrimination, but also genuine warmth" (Musicweb International, Loughton, England); "There's much to admire in Bigger's playing of these Leschetizky pieces: pellucid tone, sure-fingered technique, and an obvious relish for music that not many others have found the taste or time for. Pianists, in particular, may take special interest in this release, but appreciating Leschetizky's music is not contingent on your ability to play the piano. Bigger will do that for you, and he does it really well." (Fanfare magazine, Tenafly, New Jersey, USA);"Sensitive and energetic interpretations… an excellent pianist” (Piano News, Düsseldorf, Germany); “Refreshing and spirited approach… A fine emotion decorates Kreisler/Rachmaninov’s “Love’s Sorrow”, and sparkling vitality shows in the Tchaikovsky/Grainger “Flower Waltz” “ (Stadt-Anzeiger Cologne, Germany); ”Tobias Bigger... has adapted to the Leschetizky school remarkably well in the performance of all these selections... The idea of this Leschetizky-pupil CD is a novel one and greatly enhances the repertoire of pianists inspired by Leschetizky... Highly recommended.” (The Classical Music Guide, Binghamton, New York, USA); “Excellence in interpretation and rich, beautifully articulated piano playing” (Musica Obscura Editions, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA); “Magnificent skill at the piano, brilliant and yet extremely cultivated approach to the music” (Westfalenpost, Hagen, Germany); ”Tobias Bigger plays these - technically often very demanding - pieces not only with absolute impeccability, but also possesses that certain charming and sonorous piano tone” (Piano News, Düsseldorf, Germany); “Mr. Bigger’s playing combines strictness in interpretation with touching emotion… The pianist has the comparatively exceptional gift of a tonal expansion which does not result from quantitative forcing of volume, but is “led”, adapting itself to the melodic and harmonic inflexions and affecting the attentive listener not only in the ear, but in his whole body. Rachmaninov himself recorded his arrangement of Kreisler’s “Love’s Sorrow” with flexible elegance and charm, but which pianist manages (as Mr. Bigger does) to come up to or surpass Rachmaninov’s pianistic standard on today’s pianos?” (Klassik Heute, Munich, Germany); ”...Tobias Bigger, one of the most enterprising of contemporary German pianists, has come up with the novel (and highly worthwhile) idea to represent four eminent pupils of Theodor Leschetizky... For this CD, he has selected, with fine discrimination, a programme of original works and transcriptions, almost none of which have been previously recorded. The result is sure to attract curious pianophiles as well as collectors of unusual repertoire... [In his Variations on a Theme by Paganini,] Mark Hambourg throws some major hurdles in the pianist’s path, all of which are easily surmounted by Bigger... Again, Bigger’s commanding pianism does them [i.e. the Zadora transcriptions] full justice... Tobias Bigger is to be commended for his initiative in assembling this unique group of pieces, and his playing presents everything in a highly favourable light... Highly recommended.” (International Record Review, London, England) ——.
In January 2005, an article titled “Harmonien de luxe” ("deluxe harmonies") in the arts section of Der SPIEGEL magazine focussed entirely on Tobias Bigger and his CD "Exquisite Rarities of Piano Music".
The pianist has furthermore demonstrated his compositional prowess in his transcriptions. Bigger has written numerous arrangements for piano solo and violin-piano duo and has published many of his piano arrangements through the American publisher Musica Obscura Editions, specialised in rare piano works.
Some of his piano transcriptions are recorded on the CD albums "Exquisite Rarities" and "In altem Stil".
Tobias Bigger Pianist
Tobias Bigger, Pianist
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