Agnieszka Duczmal was born into a family with a tradition of music, and studied conducting with Prof. Witold Krzemiński at the State College of Music in Poznan , graduating with honors. After her studies, she worked as an assistant conductor in the State Philharmonic and later as a conductor in the Poznań Opera. While still a student in 1968, she formed a chamber orchestra which in 1977 was transformed into the Chamber Orchestra of the Polish Radio and Television, and since 1988 has performed as the ›Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of the Polish Radio‹. From the beginning, Agnieszka Duczmal has been the managing and artistic director of the orchestra.
In 1970, she won the first National Competition for Conductors in Katowice. In 1976, she and her orchestra won the Herbert von Karajan Silver Medal at the International Young Orchestra Meeting in Western Berlin. In 1982, Agnieszka Duczmal received the ›la donna del mondo‹ (Woman of the World) prize, granted under the auspices of UNESCO and the President of Italy, for outstanding achievements in the fields of culture, science and social activity. She was also the first woman conductor to perform in Milan’s La Scala.
Together with the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of the Polish Radio, Agnieszka Duczmal has given concerts in the world’s most famous concert halls in almost every country of Europe, both North and South America and Asia. She has performed with eminent soloists and has made numerous recordings in Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Canada and Brazil. She also collaborates with the media abroad, including – among others – the German broadcasters NDR, WDR and SFB, the BBC in London, the CBC in Montreal and Mexican and French television.
In May 2012 Agnieszka Duczmal joined the international jury panel as a Head of the Jury for the Semi-Final and as the Member of the Jury for the Final of the Eurovision Young Musicians 2012 in Vienna. (Status 2012, Source: Agnieszka Duczmal)
Born in 1945, Koichiro Harada studied violin, chamber music, and conducting at the Toho Gakuen School of Music and the Juilliard School of Music under Hideo Saito, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Dorothy DeLay, and Ivan Galamian.
In 1969, Mr. Harada founded the renowned Tokyo String Quartet in which he had played first violin for 12 years, and his chamber music engagements led him to prestigious venues such as Lincoln Center and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Highly acclaimed for his talent, technique, and musicality, he later began teaching overseas at major music learning centers including the Cleveland Conservatory and Aspen Music Festival.
Mr. Harada returned to Tokyo in 1983 and has since formed several other notable chamber music ensembles; among them NADA and Mito Quartet. He has performed at numerous music festivals including Aspen Music Festival, Nagano-Aspen Music Festival, the Ishikawa Music Academy, and Kurashiki Music Festival.
Also an acclaimed conductor, Koichiro Harada often appears with the New Japan Philharmonic, Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, Kyushu Symphony Orchestra, Kioi Sinfonietta, Tokyo, and many more.
In addition to his concert activities, Mr. Harada is a professor at the Toho Gakuen School of Music and has been invited as a jury member to many international competitions: Concours Music International Reine Elisabeth de Belgique, International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Concorso Internazionale Di Violino ›Premio N. Paganini‹, and Concours International de Violin ›Henryk Wieniawski‹. In 2005, he was president of the jury of the Concours International Long-Thibaud. (Status 2012, Source: Koichiro Harada)
Matthias Ilkenhans was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1968 and grew up in Bad Homburg. He initially studied Orchestral Music, majoring in Violin, in Stuttgart, Saarbrücken and Munich, afterwards taking a degree in Cultural Management at the University of Hagen. From 1994 to 2000 he was a member of the ensemble of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie (Young German Philharmonic Orchestra) in Frankfurt, first as a violinist and later as a project manager. After a year as Project Manager with the Munich Chamber Orchestra he returned to the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie as General Manager in 2001. Since the 2004/2005 concert season Matthias Ilkenhans has been Manager of the NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. (Status 2012, Source: NDR)
For the past three decades, Hyo Kang has led a flourishing and versatile career as violinist, teacher, and artistic director. His numerous international concert tours have taken him to the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada, and Central America. As a member of the highly acclaimed Theatre Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. for more than twenty years, he has given many works their American premieres.
Mr. Kang has been a violin professor at the Juilliard School since 1978 and Yale School of Music since 2006. His students have distinguished themselves with top prizes at the world’s most prestigious competitions and are performing with major orchestras worldwide. Mr. Kang’s former students include Gil Shaham, Sarah Chang, and Chee-Yun, among many others.
Hyo Kang was born in Seoul, Korea and graduated from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Sejong Soloists and also founded the Great Mountains International Music Festival in Pyeong Chang, South Korea, where he served as Artistic Director from 2004 to 2010. In 2003, the government of Korea awarded him the National Arts Medal for his contribution to the arts, and in 2010 he was honored with the Daewon Music Awards Grand Prize, the most prestigious music award in Korea. (Status 2012, Source: Hyo Kang)
Boris Kuschnir was born in Kiev in 1948 and s tudied the violin at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire with Boris Belenky and chamber music with Valentin Berlinsky of the Borodin Quartet. His many encounters with Dmitri Shostakovich and David Oistrakh, had a lasting influence on his artistic development.
He was a founding member of the Moscow String Quartet, with which he played for nine years. He has also founded the Vienna Schubert Trio and the Vienna Brahms Trio, and has made numerous recordings for labels including EMI, Naxos and Nimbus Records and has won numerous prizes at international violin and chamber music competitions (Paris, Belgrade, Sion, Trapani, Bratislava, Florence, Trieste, Hamburg). Since 2003 he is also member of the Kopelman Quartet.
Mr. Kuschnir is a Professor at the Konservatorium Wien University and at the University of Music in Graz. His reputation as a teacher won international recognition with the recent outstanding success of his students, Julian Rachlin, Nikolaj Znaider, Lorenzo Gatto, Lidia Baich, Dalibor Karvay and Alexandra Soumm. At the same time he regularly teaches masterclasses and is a jury member of various international music competitions (such as Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Nicolo Paganini Competition in Genua, Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris and others). In 2008 the President of the Republic of Austria awarded Boris Kuschnir with the ›Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria‹.
He was awarded the use of the Stradivarius violin (La Rouse-Boughton, Cremona, 1698) by the Austrian National Bank in recognition of his services to music. (Status 2012, Source: Boris Kuschnir)
Francesco Manara studied at the Conservatorio ›G. Verdi‹ of Turin, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1990. He was awarded a scholarship by De Sono Associazione per la Musica which enabled him to continue his post-graduate studies with Giuseppe Prencipe, Franco Gulli, Ruggiero Ricci, Stefan Gheorghiu, and Hermann Krebbers in Amsterdam.
He also studied chamber music at the Scuola Superiore Internazionale del Trio di Trieste where he once again graduated with honors.
His achievements in many major international competitions marked the beginning of a brilliant solo career. Manara has performed as a soloist with nearly a hundred orchestras. By now Manara himself is often a jury member at prestigious international competitions such as the ›Romanini‹ competition in Brescia and the ›Paganini‹ Prize in Genoa.
In 1992 he was chosen by Riccardo Muti as concertmaster of the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, where he regularly works with major conductors. He has also played as concertmaster of various internationally renowned orchestras. He also performs regularly with the ›Quartetto d’archi della Scala‹ string quartet, where he has been first violinist since 2001, touring worldwide. The quartet made recordings for Foné, for the ›Amadeus‹ magazine, and for the labels Concerto and Decca.
Francesco Manara made numerous records working with Danilo Rossi, with La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti, with Cameristi della Scala and many others.
Francesco Manara teaches at the Teatro alla Scala ›Accademia di Perfezionamento‹ and the Scuola Musicale di Milano. He has taught master classes all over the world and has held orchestra workshops at Italy’s finest music institutes.
He plays a 1773 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin. (Status 2012, Source: Francesco Manara)
Romanian-born Mihaela Martin has achieved the reputation of being one of the most outstanding violin virtuosos of her generation. She began to study violin with her father at the age of five, and later went on to study with Prof. Stefan Gheorghiu, a student of George Enescu and David Oistrach.
Ms. Martin has won numerous international competitions, beginning with the Second Prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow when she was 19 and followed by top prizes in Montreal, Sion and Brussels. Her First Prize winning the First International Violin Competition in Indianapolis led to a steady international career. Her debut at the Carnegie Hall, New York, was described by New York Times as »one of the most exciting debut concerts of the year«.
Ms. Martin is a sought after soloist with a very large repertoire. Among the orchestras she has performed with are: BBC Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony, Mozarteum Salzburg, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Hollywood Bowl, with conductors such as Kurt Masur, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Charles Dutoit and Neeme Järvi. Known for her intellectual and musical qualities, she is constantly invited to chamber music festivals all over the world, where she plays with musicians like Marta Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Nobuko Imai, Leon Fleischer, Menahem Pressler, to name just a few. She has performed for Radio and TV and recorded on CDs.
Ms. Martin is since 2003 also founder member of the Michelangelo String Quartet together with Stephan Picard, Nobuko Imai and Frans Helmerson. Mihaela Martin holds professorships at the Musik- hochschule Köln, Germany, and at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva and teaches masterclasses all over the world. She is regularly invited as member of the Jury of international competitions such as Queen Elisabeth in Brussels, Indianapolis (USA), Enescu (Romania) and Tschaikowsky (Russia).
Mihaela Martin plays a violin from Giovanni Battista Guadagnini from 1748. (Status 2012, Source: Mihaela Martin)
György Pauk was born in Budapest, Hungary, and received his musical education at the Franz Liszt Academy. He won – amongst other awards – the First Prize of the Paganini Competition in Genoa, the Premier Grand Prix of the Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris and First Prize at the Munich Sonata Competition (with Peter Frankl).
He has regularly performed with renowned orchestras in collaboration with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Leonard Slatkin, Klaus Tennstedt, Lorin Maazel, and Sir Simon Rattle. György Pauk has given world premieres and national first performances of works by contemporary composers and is a sought-after soloist at the BBC Promenade Concerts and at festivals worldwide. He also performs together with Peter Frankl and Ralph Kirschbaum as a trio. For his numerous recordings, György Pauk received the ‘Gramophone Release of the Year Award’ and a Grammy nomination.
György Pauk plays the Massart Stradivarius of 1714. He is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and gives master classes throughout the world. He is often invited to join the juries of leading international music competitions. Since 2007 he has devoted himself to promoting talented young violinists. (Status 2012, Source: Györgi Pauk)
Cornelia Schmid studied English and German at the Universities of Bonn and Harvard, graduating with an M. A. In 1986, at the age of 28, she joined the concert agency Konzertdirektion Schmid, which had been founded by her father Hans Ulrich Schmid.
She gained her first experience of concert management with Harold Holt in London and Interartists in Amsterdam, spent two summers working at the Tanglewood Music Festival and held an internship with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Among the artists she has managed are Jorge Bolet, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Lynn Harrell, Håkan Hardenberger, Marek Janowski, Leonard Slatkin and David Zinman, to name but a few.
In 1989 Cornelia Schmid joined the General Management of Konzertdirektion Schmid, and since her father’s retirement in 1994 she has headed the business as its President. She is also co-proprietor of the Frankfurter Konzertdirektion, Pro Musica in Hannover and First Classics in Munich.
With nearly 30 members of staff, some 40 orchestral tours per season, approximately 70 artists on its list, its own PR Department in Berlin and an office in London, Konzertdirektion Schmid has grown from an old-established, very personally managed family business into a medium-sized concern with a worldwide network of contacts.
Cornelia Schmid serves in an honorary capacity on the Committee of the Gartow Foundation, which is devoted to supporting the St. Petersburg Conservatory and the Special Music School, and is also Chair of the Hannover chamber music society (Kammermusikgemeinde Hannover). (Status 2012, Source: Konzertdirektion Schmid)
Ulf Schneider, born in 1968, studied with Jens Ellermann in Hannover, with Felix Gamilir and Masao Kawasaki at the Juilliard School in New York and with Thomas Zehetmair in Berlin. His artistic development was strongly influenced by the profound co-operation with Hatto Beyerle and also through impulses from other important musicians like Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Roger Norrington and Max Rostal.
In 1991, he and cellist Martin Löhr and pianist Eckart Heiligers founded the Trio Jean Paul. The Trio was awarded first prizes and several special prizes at the international chamber music competitions in Osaka (1993) and Melbourne (1995) as well as at the German music competition in Bonn (1995). Ulf Schneider was a member of the Zehetmair Quartet and founding member of the Bartholdy-Quintet.
Extensive international concert activities regularly take him to Europe, North and South America and Australia and also to international festivals such as the Rheingau Festival, Schubertiade Hohenems, the Kissinger Summer, Festivals in Edinburgh, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Ludwigsburg, Schwetzingen, Luzern, Heidelberg, and many others.
2001 he was appointed as a professor at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. He is regulary invited as a jury member at several international competitions. (Status 2012, Source: Ulf Schneider)
The accomplished Chinese violinist Lina Yu gained instant acclaim when, at the age of 18, she premiered the ›Butterfly Lovers‹ Violin Concerto. Since then she has recorded this concerto many times with orchestras such as the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Russian Philharmonic, and the Shanghai Symphony.
Since her first rise to attention, Lina Yu has been sought out to premiere many works by various composers and has won numerous awards for her outstanding performances. Led by her, the earliest Chinese string quartet participated and won a prize at Berlin’s 2nd Schumann International Compe- tition in 1960. She appears frequently in recitals and as soloist with orchestras in the United States, Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Australia, and China.
In 1962 Lina Yu was appointed to the faculty of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music where she is currently chairwoman of the Violin and Viola Department and professor of violin. Many of her students are top prize winners at the Paganini, Menuhin, Tchaikovsky, Wieniawski, Sendai, Lipizer, and Sibelius International Violin, Competitions.
Professor Yu has made frequent guest appearances at major television and radio stations throughout the world. She starred in several documentary films, including ‘Passion for Life, Yu Lina’, a three-hour documentary film about her life made in 2001.
Professor Yu regularly teaches master classes throughout United States, Canada, Israel, Australia, Japan, and China. Professor Yu has served on the jury panel of many prestigious international violin competitions, including the 1998 and 2007 Tchaikovsky International Violin Competitions in Moscow, Russia; the 2006 Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Poznań , Poland, as well as many international competitions in Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, and her native China.
Professor Yu founded the Yu Lina Violin Foundation in 1993, in order to promote talented young violinists. (Status 2012, Source: Lina Yu)
Krzysztof Wegrzyn, the Artistic Director of the ›Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover‹, is also the founder of this outstanding music event in Lower Saxony. He was born in Gdansk, Poland, and educated in Warsaw, Freiburg and London. His musical personality was strongly influenced by insights gained from working with such artists as Zenon Brzewski, Wolfgang Marschner, Yfrah Neaman and Dorothy DeLay.
Krzysztof Wegrzyn has been Concertmaster of the Lower Saxony State Orchestra Hannover for many years; since 1993 he has been a Professor and since 2012 also Vice President of the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media. His violin class is internationally renowned, many of his students are laureates of international competitions or become members of leading orchestras.
Krzysztof Wegrzyn himself won awards at prestigious international events such as the Louis Spohr and Montreal Competitions, and was the winner of the Karol Szymanowski and Rodolfo Lipizer competitions. He still gives regular concert performances both in Germany and abroad, and has gained particular acclaim for his performances of the works of contemporary composers such as Lutoslawski, Ligeti, Nono, Schnittke, Pärt and Penderecki, in addition to the standard repertoire.
Another focus of his artistic and educational work is the direction of master classes in Europe, the US and Asia, including at the Holland Music Sessions, the Ishikawa Music Academy, Keshet Eilon, the Great Mountains Music Festival and conservatories in Seoul, Shanghai, New York and Tokyo.
In addition, Krzysztof Wegrzyn is regularly invited to be a member of international juries, including those of the Tchaikovsky, Kreisler, Paganini, ARD and Sendai competitions in recent years.
He has been involved in chamber music for many years and is the founder of the ensemble ›il gioco col suono‹. In 2004, Krzysztof Wegrzyn was awarded the Lower Saxony State Music Prize for his services to music in the state. (Status 2012)