The distinguished Greek pianist Vinia Tsopelas, has received international recognition for her artistry, passion, sensitivity, and dynamism as a pianist.
The San Francisco Chronicle has written: “Here is an artist, not just another technician. Besides a massive, rather symphonic command of the instrument, Tsopelas has intellect and a consummate feeling for the line and proportion of music. I cannot remember having enjoyed Beethoven’s Op. 57 Sonata so fully in my lifetime.”… “Her very large width of dynamics hinted at the late Arthur Rubinstein”. The Los Angeles Times has written: “Her intensity seems relentless, her strength considerable she belongs in a class with other relentless, strong pianists, like Lazar Berman”.
Born in Athens, Greece, Vinia Tsopelas studied at the Athens Conservatory and graduated with the highest distinction of First Prize. She later studied in Paris with Yvonne Lefèbure on a scholarship from the French Government, and with Nadia Boulanger at the International Summer Music Academy of Estoril in Portugal. She continued her studies at the Juilliard School in New York where she studied with Ilona Kabos, Adele Marcus, Guido Agosti and Nadia Reisenberg and graduated with honors. Vinia Tsopelas also studied for many years with Gina Bachauer who considered her to be her closest protégée.
In 1979 Vinia Tsopelas won the Gina Bachauer International Competition for Distinguished Young Pianists in Dallas, which marked the beginning of her international career. She has since performed with the Philadelphia, Saint Louis, Dallas, Sacramento, Phoenix, and Santa Barbara orchestras, and given recitals at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Ambassador Auditorium in Los Angeles, the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco and the National Gallery in Washington. She has also performed recitals, and chamber music concerts in England (Wigmore Hall), Denmark, Germany, Israel, and twice, at the Palace of the Royal Academy of Belgium in Brussels. In Greece she was the soloist at the inaugural concert at the Athens Megaron, and has since performed there repeatedly.
Vinia Tsopelas has been invited to perform and teach Master Classes in Universities such as: The University of Texas, Southern Methodist University, Duke University, Sacramento State University, Arizona State University, Randolph Macon College for Women in Virginia, William and Mary College, the Tel-Hai International Piano Master Classes Festival in Israel, and the Real Conservatorio de Madrid in Spain. In 2009, she was invited by the Institut Ludwig van Beethoven of the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, as Professor – artist in residence, where she enjoyed a much acclaimed academic and artistic collaboration with her colleagues in Vienna and young artists at the University.
In 2001, Miss Tsopelas was elected the first Professor of Piano Performance in Greece, and was appointed to the Department of Music Science and Art at the University of Macedonia, in Thessaloniki. She was the First Chair of the Department and has established several Erasmus exchange programs between her Department and prestigious Institutions in Europe. A dedicated teacher of international stature, Vinia Tsopelas has nurtured many young talents and prepared them for international competitions and the concert stage.
She is frequently invited as a member of distinguished juries in International Piano Competitions, such as: the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition in Salt Lake City, Utah; the Jaén International Piano Competition in Spain, the Concurso International de Piano Compositores de Espaňa, in Spain and other competitions in Greece. She is the recipient of awards and grants from the Fulbright Foundation, and the Rockefeller Fund for Music. In 1982, the Senate of the State of California conferred upon her a Resolution, in recognition of her exceptional contribution to the arts and to the cultural life of the State of California and its capital, Sacramento.
The former President of the Republic, Mr. Konstantinos Stephanopoulos, invited Vinia Tsopelas as the preeminent Greek artist to give recitals on his official state visits as the cultural ambassador for Greece. During those occasions she played in Latvia, Estonia, Bratislava and Belgium, before audiences that included the Royal Family of Belgium, Presidents, and a number of distinguished academicians and diplomats. The Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry, Ilya Prigogine, invited Miss Tsopelas to perform at the Royal Academy of Belgium in Brussels on the occasion of the celebration of his 85th birthday.
She has recently performed at prestigious venues in the US, such as: Bargemusic in New York, Gerald R. Daniel Recital Hall at State University of California-Long Beach, the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts in Fresno, California, Sala Sudasiri Sobha, the foremost Concert Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, and the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow.
Miss Tsopelas has been an ambassador of Greek music abroad, introducing to great critical acclaim, premieres of works by contemporary Greek composers, especially the piano works of Manos Hadjidakis.