Yllka Istrefi is a pianist from Kosovo currently living in London.
She first came to London to study with the late pianist Benjamin Kaplan, with whom she studied intensively for four years. She is a recipient of a scholarship by Albanian Foundation of Scholarships in Macedonia and of Kathleen & Margery Eliott award.
She has finished Masters Degree in Advanced Piano Performance at the Royal College of Music in London, where she studied with Vanessa Latarche. In addition she has studied at the Institute of Arts in Tirana, Albania; Faculty of Arts in Prishtina, Kosovo and was awarded Performer’s Diploma from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She has also studied with John O’Conor in Dublin and Katharina Wolpe in London.
Yllka Istrefi has appeared in hundreds of recitals, chamber music and concerto performances in Kosovo, Macedonia, England, Japan, USA, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Israel.
In London she was selected to perform at the ‘Pianists of the World Series’ at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, has given the opening recital of the Bosendorfer Piano Series and a highly acclaimed performance at Blackheath Halls.
Her USA debut was at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. and was broadcast live over the Internet.
She has performed Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra in Skopje and Struga with the conductor Ramiz Melik. Amongst other orchestras, she has performed with the Crowndale, Helios and just recently has performed Grieg’s piano concerto with the Tudor orchestra, conducted by Owen Leech in London.
Her growing reputation as an exciting pianist has led to her being invited at many major festivals, and has already performed at Chelsea Schubert Festival, Mozart Piano Sonata Festival, Transcendent Festival at the Royal College of Music in London, the Ohrid Summer Festival in Macedonia, has regularly performed at the Music Festival of Nations by the Cultural Association Tempietto, in Rome, Italy and Remusica festival in Kosovo.
She has repeatedly performed and given radio interviews for the BBC radio in Albanian language.
Her performances are broadcast on all the major TV stations in Kosovo and Macedonia.
This year she is due to perform in many festivals in Europe and recitals in the UK.