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Born in Tallinn in 1981, Ave Kruup was encouraged to pursue a musical career after winning a Diploma at the 27th Virtuosi per Musica di Pianoforte International Piano Competition at the age of 13. Whilst at school she was twice the winner of the Estonian Music Gymnasiums piano competition, and at 17 she performed Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto with orchestra at the “Estonia” Concert Hall in Tallinn. After finishing school she joined the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre where she studied piano with Ivari Ilja and chamber music with Matti Reimann.


Student years

Through her affinity for the music of J.S. Bach, she won the 2nd Prize at the J.S. Bach Piano Competition in Tallinn at 19, and the following year she was a Finalist and was awarded a Diploma at the IVth International J.S. Bach Piano Competition in Saarbrücken, Germany. She continued her piano studies with Ragna Schirmer in Mannheim as a recipient of the Wilhelm−Müller Foundation Scholarship at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, where she graduated in 2006 with 1st class honours. At 21 she became a prizewinner at the XXIst Nueva Acrópolis International Piano Competition in Madrid.

In 2007 she received a scholarship by the German-Estonian Society to complete her postgraduate studies with Kalle Randalu at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe, where she was subsequently appointed as a fellow accompanist, receiving her Master's degree in 2009 with distinction. As a student, she was regularly selected to take part in masterclasses with musicians such as Jean-François Heisser, Marie-Josèphe Jude, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Ferenc Rados, Bernard Ringeissen, Gitti Pirner, Fanny Solter, Walter Blankenheim...


Professional life

Ave has given solo recitals in concert halls throughout Europe, as well as in international music festivals such as the Helsingborg Piano Festival, Tallinn International Pianist's Festival and Tallinn Autumn Festival. An exceptionally devoted chamber musician, in 2006 she won the 1st Prize as part of a flute and piano duo at the IXth Jean Françaix International Music Competition, and more recently was awarded the Prize for Best Accompanist at the 5th Heino Eller International Violin Competition. She has collaborated with many great musicians and singers, and has performed chamber music recitals in prestigious venues such as the “Rosengarten” in Mannheim, the “Estonia” Concert Hall in Tallinn and the Auditorium Lingotto in Turin.


Present day

Whilst she has always felt a special bond with the great German composers — Bach, Beethoven and Brahms — in recent years she has also developed a keen interest in Estonian classical and contemporary music, which have become a regular feature of both her solo and chamber music recital programmes. As part of the Ernits−Kruup oboe & piano duo, she will be premiering in 2014 a new work by Urmas Sisask comissioned for the ensemble.

Alongside performing, teaching has always been an important part of Ave's life. Sharing her thoughts and ideas with young talents, whether it be on a Bach Minuet or a Rachmaninoff piano concerto, and working with them to develop their own ideas and personality, gives her the opportunity to re-explore and re-think her own approach to the instrument.

Since 2013, Ave has been living in Nice, where the beautiful surroundings and the calming presence of the sea make her feel at home.