Julia Severus began playing the piano at the age of four. She graduated from the Berlin University of Arts and from Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where she studied with Mikhail Voskresensky and Lev Naumov. She received her Ph.D. from the Technische Universität Berlin for her dissertation on J.S. Bach’s Articulation Practice.
In 2002 she founded the piano ensembles Aurora Duo and Quartet, performing numerous premières and world premières, among them Rodion Shchedrin’s Hommage à Chopin. Their recordings for two pianos, eight hands, of Russian Romantic piano transcriptions (Naxos 8.557717) and of Norwegian contemporary composers have received excellent reviews. With her colleague Alina Luschtschizkaja, Julia Severus made the first recording of the complete Tchaikovsky ballet suites (Naxos 8.570418). Her solo recordings of Franck’s early piano works (Naxos 8.572901) and Bizet’s complete solo piano works (Naxos 8.570831-32) have been highly acclaimed. The latter was presented on Le Carrefour de Lodéon and Les Stars du Classique, France, and was awarded CD of the Week by RBB, Germany. The Guardian wrote: “She just lets the music speak for itself...”
Sergey Rachmaninov’s songs rival his piano works in terms of popularity, and are the culmination of a uniquely Russian lyrical tradition. Piano transcription became a fashionable art form in its own right after Liszt’s work in the genre, and Rachmaninov’s elaborate piano parts make his romances ideal for solo performance in works that express effortless sensuality as well as darkness and loss. Unearthed in 2002, Rachmaninov’s own transcription of his remarkable Suite in D minor explores both tragic depths and lighthearted bravura.