Camilla Köhnken was born in in Bonn, Germany and started playing the piano at the age of four. At 15, she was admitted to Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s piano class at the Musikhochschule Köln where she earned her B.A. in 2003. After an Erasmus exchange semester in Vienna, she continued her studies with Lev Natochenny at the Musikhochschule Frankfurt where she completed her M.A. in 2008 with excellence.
From 2008 to 2010 she went to New York to study with Jerome Rose at the Mannes College of Music supported by postgraduate scholarships from the Bernhard-Scheuble-Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). From 2010, she continued her studies with Claudio Martínez Mehner at the Musikakademie Basel, Switzerland where she finished in 2014.
She attended numerous masterclasses like the Verbier Academy in Switzerland with Dmitri Bashkirov, Claude Frank and Menahem Pressler or the International Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria where she met Robert Levin. She also worked with Richard Goode and Ferenc Rados by whom she has been taught in masterclasses and private lessons since 2011.
She enjoys a busy career playing solo in halls like Weill Hall/Carnegie Hall, New York or Teatro La Fenice, Venice.
Active both in contemporary and early music, she is a regular performer at the Beethovenhaus in Bonn playing on period instruments like their Conrad Graf fortepiano (1824) as well as frequently performing contemporary music for which she was awarded a prize at the ‘Lenzewski Competition’ (Frankfurt) in 2006 and the ‘Fidelman Award’ (New York) in 2010.
Chamber Music is also a very important part of her musical life: she has a duo with the classical saxophonist Pedro Cámara Toldos since 2012 (“Ivory & Reed”), and a trio with David da Silva/clarinet and Adam Newman/viola (“Philon Trio”) since 2013. Additionally, she has been playing regularly with the cellist Chiara Enderle since 2016.
In 2010, she was invited to participate at the ’Encuentro de Música y Academia de Santander‘ in Spain where she played with Wolfram Christ (viola) and Felix Renggli (flute) among others.
In June 2012 she performed Franz Liszt’s rarely played piano concerto ‘Malédiction’ with the Kammerorchester Basel under Thomas Herzog.
In April 2013, she participated at the ‘IMS Prussia Cove’ in Cornwall, England, with Rita Wagner and Ferenc Rados and was invited to the ‘Open Chamber Music’ at the same place in September of the same year.
In 2013, her duo ‘Ivory & Reed’ won the third prize at the Orpheus Swiss Chamber Music Competition which lead to successful recitals at the ‘Adelboden Music Festival’(CH) in September 2014, and at the ‘Chamber Music Circle’ in Andermatt; additionally they won the first prize of the “Kiefer Hablitzel Stiftung” in Bern and were laureates of the “Fondation Nicati” in Lausanne (both 2014).
Their first album came out in September 2015 with the Spanish label IBS featuring works by Schumann, Desenclos, Hindemith, and Franck.
In June 2017, they recorded a second album with transcriptions of works by CPE Bach and Schubert in Burgos (Spain) which was nominated for the Spanish MIN Award (category “Best Classical Music Album”) 2018.
With the Philon Trio, she recorded the 8 pieces by Max Bruch at the Banff Centre for Creativity and Arts, Canada, in October 2017.
In September 2018, she successfully defended her doctorate on Music Interpretation of the 19th century (“Liszt, Chopin and Beethoven in ‘The spirit of Liszt’: Musical interpretation of the “Liszt Tradition” according to contemporary texts, instructive music editions, and early sound documents”) at the Graduate School of the Arts at the Bern University, and is now preparing the publication of her thesis.