In September 2009 Sofya Gulyak was awarded the 1st prize and the Princess Mary Gold Medal at the Sixteenth Leeds International Piano Competition – the first and up to the day of writing the only woman to achieve this distinction. Since then she has appeared all over the world to great acclaim.
Her recital programs are frequently reviewed in superlatives, and her concerto appearances with major orchestras are written up in glowing terms by the world’s music press. Sofya has been praised for her "tremendous precision and coloration...exquisite soft playing ...delicacy yet" and described as a" Rach star"("Washington Post").
Sofya Gulyak’s resume includes prizes at many prestigious piano competitions: she is a 1st prize winner of William Kapell International piano competition in USA, Maj Lind Helsinki International piano competition, Tivoli piano competition in Copenhagen, Gyeongnam International piano competition in South Corea, San Marino piano competition, 2nd prize winner( first not awarded) of Busoni competition in Italy and 3rd prize winner of Marguerite Long piano competition in Paris.
Sofya Gulyak is a native of Kazan (Russia) where she studied in a Special Music College, and then in Kazan State Conservatoire under professor Elfiya Burnasheva. Ms.Gulyak graduated also from "Ecole Normale de music de Paris Alfred Cortot" with the highest distinction. After she continued her studying in Piano Academy "Incontri coi Maestri" (Imola, Italy) with Boris Petrushansky and in Royal College of Music with Vanessa Latarche.
Recitals and concert appearances have been numerous, with Ms.Gulyak having performed all over the globe in such venues as La Scala Theatre and Sala Verdi in Milan, Hercules-Saal in Munich, Salle Cortot, Salle Gaveau and Salle Pleyel in Paris, Big concert Hall of Moscow Conservatoire, Konzerthaus in Berlin, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Kennedy-center in Washington, Palais de Musique in Strasbourg, Hong Kong City Hall, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Aberdeen Music Hall, Salle Moliere in Lyon, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, King Theatre in Rabat, Kursaal in Bern, Tivoli concert Hall in Copenhagen.
Ms. Gulyak appeared as a soloist with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony, Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic, Rio-de-Janeiro Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, BBC Scottish, Orchestra of Fondazione Arena di Verona, Orchestra Filarmonica di Bologna, Bucharest Philharmonic, Stavanger Symphony, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz orchestra, Ulster Symphony, Oulu Philharmonic, Leipzig Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Morocco Philharmonic, Copenhagen Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Philippines Philharmonic, Shanghai Philharmonic.
She collaborated with such conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sakari Oramo, Mark Elder, David Hill, Donald Runnicle, Vasily Petrenko, Alan Buribayev, Eiving Gullberg Jensen, Theodor Guschlbauer, Rory McDonald, Danail Rachev, Fabio Mastrangelo, Michele Mariotti, Fuat Mansurov.
The festivals Sofya participated include Klavier Ruhr Festival, Chopin festival in Duzniki-Zdroj, Festival du Sceaux, International Keyboard Festival in New York, International Strasbourg festival, Busoni festival, Harrogate festival, Cracow piano festival, New Zealand Piano festival, Liszt Festival at villa d’Este, Nordlys festival in Norway, Ravello Festival, Festival Chopin in Paris, Shanghay International Piano Festival and Sala Beethoven Piano Festival at Monterey.
Ms. Gulyak also attended as a jury member at the international piano competitions in Italy, Serbia, France, Greece, USA, and also was invited to teach at the master classes in China, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Hong Kong. She is also a professor of the piano faculty at the Royal College of Music in London.
Her playing was broadcasted on the radio and TV in Russia, Poland, France, Italy, Germany, USA, Finland, Denmark, Serbia, New Zealand, United Kingdom (BBC 3 and BBC 4) etc.