Edna Stern began her studies in Israel with Viktor Derevianko, a student of Heinrich Neuhaus. She continued studying with Krystian Zimerman at the Basel Hochschule and with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Institute and at the Lake Como International Piano Foundation. Her repertoire ranges from Bach to Berio. Her recordings are highly praised by critics, receiving such awards as Diapason d’Or, Diapason Découverte, Arte Best CD, Gramophone upcoming artist, and Sélection Le Monde. Her last recording, dedicated to Hélène de Montgeroult received a Critic’s Choice of the Year 2017 of the Gramophone Magazine and Choice of France Musique, the French radio.
Edna Stern has performed at prestigious halls and festivals such as the Philharmonie of Paris, Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, Munich’s Hekulessaal, Paris’ Châtelet Theater, Moscow’s Music-House, Petronas in Kuala Lumpur and Musashino hall in Tokyo; performing in solo recitals and with orchestras, with conductors such as Claus Peter Flor and Andris Nelsons. Stern gives masterclasses all over the world, in such places as the CNSM of Paris, Rutgers University, and Tel-Aviv Zubin Mehta School of Music.
She has been a professor at the Royal College of London since 2009 and her musical activities include working with great artists in other art fields, like film director Amos Gitaï, as well as Etoile/Leading principal dancer from the Paris Opera, Agnès Letestu.
Stern built a reputation as an interpreter who does not shrink from taking strong and unconventional stands and at the same time respectful of the historical tradition of interpretation and the heritage of her own teachers. She is especially known for her Bach interpretation which received awards and critical praise throughout Europe (Gold Diapason, Arte best cd, 10/10 ClassicToday, 4 stars Classica Magazine).
“With Edna Stern we avoid the clichés. Her playing is neither romantic nor baroque. It takes on perfectly the serious tone of the composer without falling into coldness or rigidity. It is at the same time an instrumental revelation and a clear sign that music is indeed alive.” - Mathias Heizmann, Arte/2009
While studying with Krystian Zimerman at the Basel Hochschule in Switzerland, she also took advantage of the famous Schola Cantorum Basilensis and its collection of authentic instruments, developing thus another facet to her musical approach. For the 2010 celebration of the birth of Chopin, Paris’ museum of instruments of the Paris Philharmonie, she was chosen as the pianist to record for their series on the museum’s original instrument, a Pleyel from 1842. This recording was released with Naïve and got enthusiastic reviews:
“The subtle chemistry of a successful Chopin. This CD has eclipsed all that we’ve heard so far in the commemoration of the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth.” - Katchi Sinna, Muzikzen 2010',
Her interest in different instruments and sounds set her apart as a Mozart player and her recording of Mozart’s Concerti was chosen in France by the newspaper Le Monde as one of the 10 top CD’s of 2010, and was as well praised in the German and English critique:
“It is fascinating to hear Edna Stern’s perfect, mature and effortless technique, which she does not however use for the purpose of bragging, but puts discreetly at the service of music. She succeeds to the extent of completely disappearing behind the music… developing a whole unexpected wealth of nuances and a variety of tone colors. …a spontaneous joyful playing with beauty and respect: my Mozart- Ideal through this CD has become much closer.” - Bayrische Rundfunk, 2010
“This is an artist with a delicate touch who likes to shape every detail of phrasing and articulation as if polishing a tiny gem.” - Gramophone Magazine, 2011
Edna Stern has a special interest in interpreting and rediscovering forgotten composers. Her recording “Piano of Enlightenment” presented the music of nowadays under-estimated composers such as Galuppi and C.P. E. Bach alongside pieces by J.S. Bach, Haydn and Mozart. Her latest Montgeroult recording published by Orchid Classics was awarded a Critic’s Choice of the Year 2017 by Gramophone Magazine and Choice France Musique. BBC Magazine writes: “Stern, playing and 1860 Pleyel trumps Bruno Robillard and Nicolas Stavy’s recordings in colour, style and panache. Textures shimmer in the Etude No. 37, the melody speaks eloquently in No. 26 and in the D minor Op. 107, the shades of Chopin Revolutionary Etude are made obvious.” And Gramophone: “Edna Stern deserves the highest praise for resurrecting it, and has the fleet fingers and sensitive musicianship necessary to make the very best case for it.”
A very meaningful and important program she has been playing these last few years features Sonatas written by Jewish Composers from Theresinstadt. She has been the first to perform and record Karel Reiner’s 2nd Piano Sonata “Victory”. Her performance in New York earned her an immediate invitation to perform in Los Angeles at the Colburn School of Music as part of the “Recovered Voices” project of James Conlon.
Edna Stern recorded fifteen albums spanning the Baroque (3x J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach), Classical (Mozart Concerti, Piano of Enlightenment, 3x Beethoven Sonatas, Montgeroult, Johann Simon Mayr Concerti) Romantic (Schumann, 2xChopin) and 20th century (Fire of Black and White album) periods.