Piano duo Kai Ratassepp – Mati MikalaiThe piano duo Kai Ratassepp – Mati Mikalai is a chamber ensemble that has gained recognition both in Estonia and abroad, performing works for two pianos as well as for four hands. The duo's repertoire varies from the 18th century to contemporary authors. A special place is given to new works by Estonian composers, including the works by Ülo Krigul and Jüri Reinvere.
Pianists Kai Ratassepp and Mati Mikalai have been playing together since 1998.
The duo has gained 2nd prize at International Piano Duo Competition in Kaunas and 2nd prize at Silvio Omizzolo Piano Duo Competition in Padua (both in 2000). The duo of Kai Ratassepp and Mati Mikalai was given the 1st prize in the 49th ARD Music Competition in Munich (2000), one of the most recognized of its kind.
The Kai Ratassepp – Mati Mikalai piano duo has participated in international festivals, including the 56th Hitzacker Festival, the ARD Laureate Chamber Festival in Schloss Elmau and the Musical Olympus festival in St. Petersburg. In addition to Estonian concert halls, they have performed at Herkules Hall in Munich, Berlin Konzerthaus, St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Milan Conservatory. Concert tours have taken the duo to Germany, France, Italy, Russia and elsewhere. They have collaborated with such orchestras as the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Berlin German Symphony Orchestra, Mannheim National Theater Orchestra, St. Petersburg Maria Theater Youth Orchestra and such conductors as Juha Kangas, Thomas Rösner and Ádám Fischer.
The piano duo has recorded music on the Estonian National Broadcasting and the German radio stations Bayerischen Rundfunk and Deutschland Radio Berlin.
The piano duo Kai Ratassepp – Mati Mikalai has been awarded the Annual prize of the Endowment for Music of the Culture Endowment of Estonia (2000) and the Interpretation prize of the Estonian Music Council (2022).
A redoubtable co-playing and superiority to technical problems of the duo Kai Ratassepp and Mati Mikalai was a discovery by itself. Leelo Kõlar: Mikalai is clearly in a leading position in the ensemble. He was heard to give more interesting coloring solutions and it was flowing of stronger inner ammunition from him – despite of external simplicity and freedom.
Ines Rannap. Age Juurikas Gathered Four Prizes at Con Brio. - Sirp, December 11, 1998
Fine taste and some kind of pleasant delicate attitude came forward in piano duo Kai Ratassepp & Mati Mikalai performance because the program included nifty stock in trades of virtuous ensemble playing: arrangement of Waltz by Ravel and Reminis-census de Don Juan by Mozart-Liszt.
Evi Arujärv. Con Brio – Without Silk Stockings and Amplification. - Postimees, December 9, 1998
The piano duo Kai Ratassepp & Mati Mikalai – both of them is excellent pianists. It is a duo that is also much more homogeneous. In our earlier duos (Anna Klas & Bruno Lukk; Nata-Ly Sakkos & Toivo Peäske) we have enjoyed the differences and the rich entirety that is formed together. Those kinds of ensembles usually always go right. But the duo Ratassepp & Mikalai is vaguely vigorous in the sense that they also can be synchronous in their very sudden thinking. In other words: splendid ensemble.
Tiina Õun. A Piece af the World to Our Home – Valdur Roots about the Festival Piano 2000. - Teater. Muusika. Kino, January 2001
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