Peter Ritzen was born in the historic Flemish city of Ghent, where he studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music, achieving First Prize with Highest Honours in piano and chamber music. His principal teachers were Louis Pas in piano and François Glorieux in chamber music. He continued his studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Tatyana Nikolayeva (Moscow) and later graduated from the Alfred Cortot Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris with the Diplôme Supérieure d’Exécutionin piano. His teacher at this time was Marian Ribicky, a famous and respected pedagogue.
Peter Ritzen continues the long tradition of the composer-pianist. As a composer his contact with Chinese culture has had a great impact on his creativity, and he has conceived a whole repertoire based upon this Sino-European relationship. Through his association with Naxos he has released several recordings of his own compositions, namely his Piano Concerto ‘The Last Empress’, Chinese Violin Rhapsody, and Chinese Requiem with the Shanghai Philharmonic. In 2005, and in a more ecumenical tone, his Grand Symphony ‘Heavenly Peace’ was presented in an acclaimed world première concert in the Taipei National Concert Hall.
As a concert performer Peter Ritzen has appeared in the world’s best known concert halls including the Vienna Musikverein, Paris Salle Gaveau, New York Carnegie Hall, and the National Concert Halls of Taipei and Beijing. He is known for his virtuosic performances of the great masterworks for piano, most especially those of Franz Liszt and the great Romantics. In his efforts to promote the lesser known works of other artists, he was the first recording artist to feature solo piano works by the renowned pianist/pedagogue Theodor Leschetizky (1830–1915), and also Leschetizky’s unpublished Piano Concerto. These were all issued on the Marco Polo series of Naxos. His admiration for Theodor Leschetizky led him in 1991 to found the International Leschetizky Academy (I.L.A.) at the University of Music in Vienna. In 2000 he became Artistic Director of the first International Piano Competition Theodor Leschetizky (IPCTL) Taipei.
After his successful concert tour in China in May–June 2009, Peter Ritzen was invited by the Ministry of Culture of China to return to perform concerts in 2010. Also, his latest work, Finis est infinitus, a symphonic poem of sacred character for soprano, large ensemble and choir, was released on CD in the Spring of 2010.