At just fifteen, this piano prodigy has already performed works by the greatest composers, played on international stages, and received glittering accolades..
Her goal is to perform Chopin under the arches of Carnegie Hall in New York. Young instrumentalist Stella Almondo has always seen the big picture, and at only fifteen years of age, is already dreaming of a career as an international concert artist. The Monegasque pianist, who has won the Prix Flam in Paris, Steinway & Sons in Cannes, Les Clés d’Or in Monaco and Jeune Chopin in Switzerland, is constantly attracting attention. Her story is compelling. As a young child, she started tinkling on the piano at the age of four: “I immediately fell in love with the piano.” At an age when most children want to be princesses or astronauts, she fantasised about recitals. “At first I played by ear, because I didn’t know the notes. When I was 10 years old I entered the Conservatoire de Nice, in the class of Amédée Briggen; and that’s when I started to work in earnest.”
A love of the stage
Everything took off from then on. The same year, as she polished her technique, the sensitive and charismatic pianist gave her first public concert. “I love being on stage. To begin with I was quite overwhelmed, but over time I’ve learnt to channel my energy and manage my stress. It’s not always easy. I’m getting better and better at communicating with the audience and sharing the full force of my emotions.” It’s hard not to mention her acclaimed performance on Prodiges on France 2. “I’ve been a fan of the programme since I was little. I dreamed of being able to play with this orchestra and meet other young music lovers like me. Last December I was finally selected. It was a fantastic, intense experience.” She was a season 7 finalist, and many thought she would win. “You’ll go far, well done Stella! said cellist Gautier Capuçon to her on air.
From the small screen to the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo
The musician’s other noteworthy concerts include her performance at the National Council of Monaco, and the concert in the presence of HSH Prince Albert in May, for the Maria Callas Monaco Gala & Awards at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo. That night she received the Best Music Talent of the Year award. On 28 May, Stella also played with pianist Stefan Cassar under the Eiffel glass roof of the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo. She has a lot in the pipeline. This summer, she is taking part in the “Soirée prodigieuse” on 11 July at the Hippodrome de la Côte d’Azur, followed by the 1st Festival Jeune Chopin in Cannes on 16 July at the Musée de la Castre. Finally, she will give a concert at Nice Classic Live on 21 July.
Stella practises on her instrument from three to five hours daily. “I divide my time between high school in Cannes and the Conservatoire de Nice, and once a week I travel to Paris to take lessons with Igor Lazko. It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to learn from him. He is kind but very demanding.” By training with this Russian grand master of the piano – who notably taught Alexandre Kantorow – the instrumentalist is giving herself the means to fulfil her ambition: “To keep on playing better and better so I can share my music with the whole world.” A fine project!
By Caroline Stefani