Isabel Ettenauer

Isabel Ettenauer is an Austrian pianist and toy piano virtuoso. Dedicated to the music of our time she is a champion of living composers.

Since the start of her career, Isabel has been a regular guest at international festivals and concert halls throughout Europe, the USA and Asia. Highlights of the last seasons have included performances at the Wigmore Hall, London (Festival Soundings 2004), the Avignon Festival, the Opéra de Lille (both France 2004), the Uovo Performing Arts Festival in Milan, the Ravello Festival (both Italy 2007 and 2006), the International Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam 2001), the Konzerthaus Vienna (IGNM Musikfest 2007), the Konzerthaus Vienna (IGNM Musikfest 2007), the Philharmonie Luxembourg (Toy Piano World Summit 2012), the Jeunesse Festival 2002 (Geheimnis Musik at Palais Schönburg, Vienna), the Leamington Festival, the Vale of Glamorgan Festival (both UK 2003), the Making New Waves Festival (Budapest 2001), the Inspiracje Festival Szczecin (Poland 2007), the SonoAus Festival (Madrid 2007), the Rialto Theatre Limassol, the Castelliotissa Nicosia (both Cyprus 2008), as well as concerts in New York and Washington (2006) and a tour to Taiwan (2010). Her London toy piano debut in the BMIC Cutting Edge Series 2002 was selected as pick of the week by several UK newspapers. Isabel was also performer in residence at the Voix Nouvelles composition course in Royaumont (France 2003).

Isabel Ettenauer’s unique performances have inspired many composers from all over the world to write new works especially for her. To date, more than 40 new pieces have been created for her project THE JOY OF TOY, including compositions by Karlheinz Essl (Austria), Bertl Mütter (Austria), Otto Lechner (Austria), Max Nagl (Austria), Manuela Kerer (Italy), Manuel de Roo (Austria/Germany), Henry Brant (USA), Vanessa Lann (the Netherlands/USA), Roderik de Man (the Netherlands), Stephen Montague (UK/USA), Joe Cutler (UK), Errollyn Wallen (UK), Geoff Hannan (UK), Tomi Räisänen (Finland), Rob Smith (USA), Matthew Hindson (Australia) and Tom Johnson (France/USA).

In June 2006 her debut album THE JOY OF TOY, with nine compositions especially written for Isabel, was awarded the Pasticciopreis by Austrian State Broadcaster “Österreich 1”. In October 2013 her second album WHATEVER SHALL BE with music for toy instruments and electronics by Karlheinz Essl was released.

Beside her numerous solo recitals Isabel’s biggest creation, together with French Circus artist Jérôme Thomas, has been her CIRCUS LEBASI – a music circus program performed in a wooden tent. Apart from Isabel as a soloist there is a nine-piece Circus band and two Circus artists in this program, as well as 100 metronomes doing Ligeti’s “Poème Symphonique”. This project was a commission by Linz09, the European Capital of Culture in 2009 and had 15 performances during that season.

Isabel has also collaborated with artists as diverse as juggler Jérôme Thomas (France), mime Markus Schmid (Switzerland), accordionist Otto Lechner, actress Anne Bennent (both Austria), harpsichordist Goska Isphording (the Netherlands), accordionist Guy Klucevsek (USA), stage director Richard Brunel (France) and actors of the Jeune Théâtre National (France). She was also doing the toy piano part in the radio play The Long Time Ago Story written by David Sawer and Rose English (broadcast on BBC Radio 3, 2003).

There has been an immense media interest in Isabel Ettenauer’s work and her live performances and CD recordings were broadcast by radio and TV stations all over the world.

Isabel is also known as a skilled educator and promoter of new music and has organised very successful concerts with and for children. She gives workshops for kids, composers and performers.