Vladimir Feltsman

Pianist, conductor, and educator Vladimir Feltsman is one of the most versatile and consistently interesting musicians of our time. Born in Moscow in 1952, Mr. Feltsman debuted with the Moscow Philharmonic at the age of 11. In 1969, he entered the Moscow Conservatory to study piano under the guidance of Professor Jacob Flier. He also studied conducting at both the Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Conservatories. In 1971, Mr. Feltsman won the Grand Prix at the Marguerite Long-Thibaud International Piano Competition in Paris. Extensive tours throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe, and Japan followed.

In 1979, because of his growing discontent with the restrictions on artistic freedom under the Soviet regime, Mr. Feltsman signaled his intention to emigrate by applying for an exit visa. In response, he was immediately banned from performing in public and his recordings were suppressed. After eight years of virtual artistic exile, he was finally granted permission to leave the Soviet Union. Upon his arrival in the United States in 1987, Mr. Feltsman was warmly greeted at the White House, where he performed his first recital in North America. That same year, his debut at Carnegie Hall established him as a major pianist on the American and international scene. Since then, Mr. Feltsman has performed with major American and European orchestras and appeared at the most prestigious concert venues and music festivals worldwide. His vast repertoire encompasses music from the Baroque to the twenty-first-century.

Mr. Feltsman expressed his lifelong devotion to the music of J.S. Bach in a cycle of concerts that presented the major clavier works of the composer. His project Masterpieces of the Russian Underground unfolded a panorama of Russian contemporary music through an unprecedented survey of piano and chamber works by fourteen different composers from Shostakovich to the present day. In the fall of 2006, Mr. Feltsman performed all of Mozart’s piano sonatas in New York at the Mannes School of Music on a specially built replica of an eighteenth-century Walter fortepiano. His most recent project, Russian Experiment, included works of lesser-known Russian composers of the first half of the twentieth century and was presented at the Aspen Music Festival in 2017.

A dedicated educator of young musicians, Mr. Feltsman holds the Distinguished Chair of Professor of Piano at the State University of New York, New Paltz, and is a member of the piano faculty at the Mannes College of Music in New York City. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the International Festival-Institute, PianoSummer at New Paltz, a three-week-long intensive training program for advanced piano students that attracts major young talent from all over the world. In 2012 Vladimir and his wife Haewon established the Feltsman Piano Foundation, which helps young musicians to realize their potential and advance their careers.

Released on the Sony Classical and Nimbus labels, Mr. Feltsman’s extensive discography includes more than 60 CDs and is still growing.

Mr. Feltsman is the author of Piano Lessons, a book published in 2019 that presents insights drawn from a lifetime of devotion to music and addresses such vitally important topics as practicing, performing, learning, and recording.

Zlata Chochieva

Zlata Chochieva first came to international attention with her highly-praised recordings of works by Chopin and Rachmaninoff. Displaying a deep affinity with these composers, combined with probing honesty and imagination, they have established her as a distinctive voice amongst pianists. Hailed by Gramophone as “the possessor of a comprehensive technique who brings an inner glow to every bar”, Zlata Chochieva has been regularly appearing at many prestigious concert halls, most notably at Herkulessaal Munich, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonie de Paris, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Konzerthaus Berlin, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, Casa da Música Porto, the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and Grand Hall of Saint Petersburg Philharmonia.

She has performed with numerous major orchestras, including the Russian National Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra. Conductors Zlata has enjoyed working with include Mikhail Pletnev, Simon Gaudenz, Terje Mikkelsen, Charles Olivieri-Munroe, Tugan Sokhiev and Vladimir Spivakov.
Highlights of the previous season include her Wigmore Hall debut, as well as performances in Russia with the Svetlanov State Orchestra and the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia. Furthermore, she was guest artist in the Serate Musicali series in Milan, at the Berliner Klavierfestival and at Zaubersee Festival Lucerne.

In 2019/20 Zlata will be appearing as Artist in Focus in three different programmes with the Aachen Symphony Orchestra as well as making her debut with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Solo debuts include the Vienna Konzerthaus, Vancouver Chopin Society, Brussels Chopin Days, as well as a second Wigmore Hall recital and various appearances at festivals across Europe and the US. A return to the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra will see her participate in the orchestra’s Tchaikovsky Festival with performances of his piano concerto no. 1 and piano trio.

Over the years Zlata has acquired many international competition prizes, including Szymanovsky International Competition (Poland), Tivoli Piano Competition (Denmark), Mozart Prize at ARD Competition (Germany), First prizes at Frechilla-Zuloaga Competition (Spain) and Alberto Fano Piano Competition (Italy) and Silver Medal at the First International Piano Competition of Santa Catarina (Brazil), where she was also declared Best Performer of Chopin and Audience Favourite. She has been regularly invited to leading music festivals, including the Miami International Piano Festival, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival (as a Gilmore Rising Star in the 2017-18 season), the Rarities of Piano Music in Husum, the Lugano festival Il Progetto Martha Argerich and the Lucerne Festival.

Her Chopin Complete Etudes disc for Piano Classics was selected as an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, and included in Gramophone’s list of 10 greatest Chopin recordings: “It is certainly one of the most consistently inspired, masterfully executed and beautiful-sounding versions I can recall.” (Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone). Her 2015 CD of the Complete Etudes-Tableaux of Rachmaninoff has likewise earned critical acclaim and been nominated for the German Record Critics’ Award.

Ricardo Castro

In 1993 Ricardo Castro received the first prize at the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in England, becoming the only Latin American to win the competition since its foundation. 20 years later, he became the first Brazilian to receive an Honorary Membership from the Royal Philharmonic Society.

Ricardo Castro revealed a clear interest and ease to play the piano at the age of three, listening to his older sister’s classes with their aunt. At the age of five, having attracted the attention of Esther Cardoso, a Marguerite Long fellow, he was exceptionally accepted to join the School of Music and Performing Arts of the Federal University of Bahia.

In 1984 Ricardo Castro began his musical studies in Europe, joining the Superior Conservatory of Music in Geneva in the virtuoso class of Maria Tipo and the conducting class of Arpad Gerecz. In 1987 he graduated from the Geneva Conservatory with the Premier Prix de Virtuosité avec Distinction et Félicitations du Jury. That same year, he was the ex-aequo winner of the ARD International Competition in Munich and in 1988 he became a prize winner at the Géza Anda Competition. Shortly after he completed his piano studies in Paris with Dominique Merlet.

Ricardo was invited to play concertos with major orchestras such as the Gewandhaus of Leipzig, Tonhalle Zurich, BBC London Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, City of Birmingham Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Mozarteum of Salzburg and many others. Among his stage partners are Sir Simon Rattle, Martha Argerich, Leif Segerstam, Kazimierz Kord, Midori and Antonio Meneses.

In 2003, he started a piano duo with Maria João Pires, performing a series of recitals throughout Europe, followed by a CD with solo and four-hands works by Schubert, which was released by Deutsche Grammophon. He recorded several other CDs for BMG-Arte Nova, all of which were acclaimed by specialized critics.

In 2007, Ricardo created NEOJIBA (State Centers for Youth and Children Orchestras of Bahia), a pioneering program in Brazil inspired by El Sistema in Venezuela that has benefited more than 10.000 children, adolescents and young people in Bahia. General director at NEOJIBA, Ricardo Castro is also Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Youth Orchestra of Bahia, the first Brazilian youth orchestra to perform in Europe. Since its foundation, the orchestra has played hundreds of concerts in Brazil and on seven international tours to the most prestigious concert halls in Europe and USA.

In September 2020 Ricardo Castro was nominated professor at the Haute École de Musique de Genève, where he will act as head of the keyboard department from September 2021. He also teaches piano at the Haute École de Musique Vaud Valais Fribourg in Switzerland and at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, in Italy, where in 2018 he created a course for “Conducting from the keyboard”.

Gerhard Oppitz

Gerhard Oppitz is a pianist in the tradition of the “German” piano titans of the 20th century – a Wilhelm Kempff, Claudio Arrau or Wilhelm Backhaus.

“Oppitz’s compelling clarity is more important than the accumulation of virtuoso moments of success” (Hamburger Abendblatt). Die Welt described his Brahms playing as “rapturous clarity,” and the Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote (about a concert in Munich in April 2018): “A classical and wonderful way of playing Beethoven.”

His international career took off in 1977, when he became the first German to win the coveted Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv. The ninety-year-old Rubinstein himself sat on the jury. Concert tours through Europe, Japan and the USA followed. In 1978 Oppitz recorded the first of numerous CDS; with a discography of 78 recordings. In 1981 Oppitz was offered a professorship at the Musikhochschule in Munich, which he held until 2012.

In the course of his artistic life, Gerhard Oppitz has repeatedly played with legendary conductors – Carlo Maria Giulini, Eugen Jochum, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Charles Dutoit, Dimitri Kitaenko, Herbert Blomstedt, Marek Janowski, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Neville Marriner, Paavo Järvi, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti. CD and video recordings document these collaborations.

Oppitz has often played complete cycles of works in concert – Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier,” the sonatas of Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart, and especially the piano works of Johannes Brahms. He has performed the complete Brahms cycle more than thirty times in Europe, the USA and Japan. At the Rheingau Music Festival he performed all of Schubert’s solo works in eleven full-length programs. His 1990 recording of the complete piano works of Brahms was followed in 1993 by a recording of the two Brahms piano concertos with Sir Colin Davis, as well as a series of seven CDs of the piano compositions of Edvard Grieg on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth. His 1995 and 1996 recordings of the Beethoven piano concertos with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Marek Janowski are exemplary. Oppitz’s recording of the complete works for piano and orchestra by Carl Maria von Weber, with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis, was released in 1997. Most recently, all of Beethoven’s sonatas and all of Schubert’s sonatas were released, as well as a CD of Japanese piano music. Following a recording of all Schumann’s works for piano and orchestra with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marc Andreae, a recording of Schumann’s solo works is currently in progress.

In 2009, Gerhard Oppitz received the Brahms Prize of the Brahms Society Schleswig Holstein, previously awarded to Leonard Bernstein and Lord Yehudi Menuhin. Since 2014 he has been a recipient of the Bavarian Order of Maximilian for Science and Art, the highest honor bestowed by the Free State of Bavaria on Johannes Brahms in 1873.

Gloria Cianchetta

Born in Piombino (Italy) in 1998, Gloria Cianchetta graduated with honours from the Puccini-Conservatoire of La Spezia aged fifteen. Subsequently, she took her master’s degrees with Anna Kravtchenko at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano. Gloria won numerous national and international prizes. She performs in Italy and abroad, at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Musikverein in Vienna, Sala dei Giganti at Palazzo Liviano for the “Amici della Musica”, Padua, at the Gaber Auditorium at the Pirelli Skyscraper for “La società dei concerti” in Milan, LAC Lugano, Sala dei Cavalli at Palazzo Te and Teatro Bibiena for “Mantova Musica”, in Spain, Switzerland and Russia. She played with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana (OSI) under Alexander Vedernikov, with Chioggia Symphony Orchestra, the L. Refice Orchestra of Frosinone and with the Bacau Philharmonic Orchestra (Romania). Part of her extensive chamber music work includes a duo with violinist Francesca Bonaita, formed in 2019.

Sergey Tanin

Born in 1995 in Yakutia/Siberia, Sergey Tanin began to study the piano at the age of five. As an eleven-year-old he first performed with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra in Moscow‘s Tchaikovsky Conservatoire. In 2020 Swiss Radio and Television SRF produced the documentary film „The Pianist Who Came in from the Cold“ about Sergey’s background and career. He collaborated as a soloist with leading orchestras such as the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zürich, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Bremen Philharmonic, Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonic and Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra. Amongst others, he appeard in famous Russian concert halls including the Grand Hall of the Moscow Tchaikovsky-Conservatoire, the Grand Hall of the St Petersburg Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Concert Hall. Outside of Russia Sergey has played in Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Ukraine.

Jonghai Park

Pianist Jong-Hai Park is one of the most sought-after musicians in Korea’s classical music scene today, being praised for his alluring inspiration and captivating presence. He made his debut at the age of nine, and has collaborated with renowned conductors including Marin Alsop, Gerhard Markson, John Wilson, Christopher Warren-Green, Christian Zacharias with the Nagoya Philharmonic, Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, National Orchestra of Belgium, Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia,  RTÉ National Symphony, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich. He has appeared in recital at the Paris Monnaie and the Oratoire du Louvre, was artist in residence at Seoul’s Kumho Art Hall, and invited to festivals in France (Annecy), Korea (PyeongChang) and Norway (Nordland Music Festival). Jong-Hai began his music education at the age of six. He graduated from the Korean National University of Arts, and currently studies with Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, Germany. He is a laureate of prestigious competitions including Hong Kong, Top of the World, Dublin, Queen Elisabeth, and Géza Anda to name a few.

Claire Huangci

American pianist Claire Huangci captivates audiences with her “radiant virtuosity, artistic sensitivity, keen interactive sense and subtle sound dramaturgy” (Salzburger Nachrichten). In solo recitals and with international orchestras, Claire plays at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall Tokyo, NCPA Beijing, Paris Philharmonie, Munich Gasteig, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Vienna Concerthouse, Salzburg Festspielhaus, and the Budapest Franz Liszt Akademy. She is a welcome guest at festivals including Lucerne, Verbier and Rheingau, as well as Klavier Festival Ruhr. Claire began her international career at the age of nine with concert appearances and awards at piano competitions. After studying with Eleanor Sokoloff and Gary Graffman at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, she moved to Germany in 2007 for further studies with Arie Vardi in Hannover. Recordings of, amongst others, music from Scarlatti and Bach to Beethoven, Paderewski and Prokofiev testify to the wide interests of this unusually versatile artist.

Mihály Berecz

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1997, Mihály Berecz began to learn the violin at the age of six. Whilst continuing to play in orchestras, he chose to devote himself to the piano with Edit Major and Erzsébet Belák three years later. His First Class Honours Bachelor of Music degree, on the other hand, was earned at London’s Royal Academy of Music under Christopher Elton. As a winner of the Debut Berlin International Concerto Competition in 2017, Mihály made his debut at the Philharmonie, Berlin in June 2017. Further awards include a gold prize at the 2nd Manhattan International Music Competition and the Harriet Cohen Bach Prize at the Royal Academy of Music. Mihály performed Liszt’s “Hungarian Fantasy” at the Konzerthaus, Berlin, at the 2013 Young Euro Classic Festival. Upon the invitation of Zoltán Kocsis he made his debut at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in 2013. Mihály’s interest in historical performance led to invitations to perform fortepiano concerti with renowned period-instrument orchestras, such as the Orfeo Orchestra. As a scholarship holder of the Hungarian Academy of Arts Mihály performs the complete solo works of Bartók in eight concerts at the Marble Hall of the Hungarian Radio between the 2020 and 2022.

Giorgi Gigashvili

Giorgi Gigashvili is an active soloist and chamber musician, works with various orchestras and takes part in festivals and masterclasses all over the world. Recent performances took place at Salle Cortot in Paris and with the Filarmonia Baltyka at the Gdansk Philharmonic. Giorgi was trained by famous Georgian pianist and teacher Revaz Tavadze, and Martha Argerich helped him to continue his studies with Nelson Goerner in Geneva. Giorgi’s awards include the First Prize at the international piano competition in Lloret de Mar “Fiestalonia Milenio” (Spain, 2013), the First Prize at the IV Fryderyk Chopin Award for Young Pianists (Tbilisi, 2015), the Third Prize at the International Chopin Competition for Pianists (Estonia, 2016), the Second Prize at the 6th Tbilisi International Piano Competition (2017), the First Prize and the Nelson Freire Special Award at the 3rd International Piano Competition in Vigo (Martha Argerich-Edition, 2019), the Third and Audience Prize of the 62nd Busoni Piano Competition (Bolzano, 2019). At the 15th Concours Géza Anda 2021 the Géza Anda-Foundation granted Giorgi the Hortense Anda-Bührle Scholarship for One of the Youngest Participants. In October 2021 he also won the First and the Audience Prize at the renowned KlavierOlymp in Bad Kissingen, Germany.

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