Kit Armstrong is a British-Taiwanese classical pianist and composer. At 10 he had composed more than 15 works, graduated from Los Alamitos High School. He has studied mathematics and science at university level (at the University of Utah) since the age of 7 and has participated in MIT’s well known Research Science Institute. At 12 he studied at the Curtis Institute of Music (with Claude Frank). Then he moved to London for piano studies with Benjamin Kaplan, studies at the the Imperial College in London, and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2008. He also attended the Chapman University in California, USA. In 2008 he was a co-winner of The ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.
From 2005 on Kit Armstrong composed chamber music works for the annual International Chamber Music Festival The Hague and performed their world premières. In recent years, he has taken inspiration from his mentor Alfred Brendel (in London), who ascribes to him “an understanding of the great piano works that combines freshness and subtlety, emotion and intellect.” Ssimultaneously he is pursuing his scientific studies in the field of pure mathematics at Pierre and Marie Curie University.
Only 19 years old, Armstrong’s concert diary contains solo appearances with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Bamberger Symphoniker, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, and Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He has collaborated with conductors including Ivor Bolton, Riccardo Chailly, Thomas Dausgaard, Christoph von Dohnányi, Manfred Honeck, Sir Charles Mackerras, Bobby McFerrin, and Jonathan Nott.
Solo piano recitals have taken Kit Armstrong to London, Paris, Vienna, Florence, Venice, Baden-Baden, Berlin, Dortmund, Leipzig, Munich, Zürich, and Geneva and to music festivals in Bolzano, Verbier and La Roque d’Anthéron. Among his recital projects last year was a programme including etudes by Chopin and Ligeti, and J.S. Bach’s Inventions and Sinfoniae. This season, in honour of Franz Liszt’s 200th anniversary, Armstrong plays a series of recitals featuring works by J.S. Bach and F. Liszt, including a concert with one of F. Liszt’s pianos in Nike Wagner’s festival Pelerinages.
Chamber music is one of Armstrong’s central interests, both as a pianist and a composer. He performs regularly with the Szymanowski String Quartet and Adrian Brendel and looks forward to an upcoming lieder recital with Andreas Wolf.
Kit Armstrong is also an accomplished composer who has written for a wide variety of ensembles. He has composed a quintet for piano and winds (premiered by members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam at the International Music Festival The Hague), a quintet for piano and strings, and five pieces for solo marimba. Among his recent commissions are a clarinet concerto for the Frankfurter Bachkonzerte, premiered at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt with Paul Meyer as soloist; a string quartet commissioned by the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in honour of Alfred Brendel’s 80th birthday, premiered by the Szymanowski String Quartet; Half of One, Six Dozen of the Other, a solo piano composition for Till Fellner; and Time flies like an arrow, a piano trio for the Klavierfestival Ruhr, premiered with Andrej Bielow and Adrian Brendel. Upcoming commissions include a solo piano fantasy on B-A-C-H for the Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker, and an orchestral work for Musikkollegium Winterthur. “Composing is the basis upon which I think about music,” says Armstrong. “When one’s creativity is captivated by something, it tries to imitate it. So I saw music and wanted to make my own.” (Interview in Concerti)
Armstrong has received 5 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards from the ASCAP Foundation in New York, including the prestigious Charlotte V. Bergen award for Struwwelpeter: Character Pieces for Viola and Piano. The Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival awarded Armstrong the 2010 Leonard Bernstein Award.