Japan / France
Chairwoman of the Jury
Born in Osaka in Japan, Akiko Ebi began to learn playing the piano at 3 and half years old. First prize at the National Piano Competition in Japan, launched her international career as the winner of the 2nd Grand Prix in the Long -Thibaud Competition in Paris with 4 special prizes given by Arthur Rubinstein, Emile Sauer, Prince Rainier III of Monaco. She was also laureat at the Fryderyk Chopin International Competition in Warsaw. She studied with Aldo Ciccolini at Paris National Conservatoire, Vlado Perlemuter, Conrad Hansen, Luis Kentner, Colette Zerah, Susumu Nagai and Toyoaki Matsuura.
She has performed throughout the world in 37 countries as at the Berlin Philharmony Hall, Gewandhaus concert Hall, Suntory Hall, Teatro Colon, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Salle Pleyel, Salle Gaveau, Wigmore Hall etc. She performed with conductors such as Stanislaw Skrowazcewski, Frans Bruggen, Marek Janowsky, Vassily Sinaisky, Lawrence Foster, Yutaka Sado, Michiyoshi Inoue, Kenichire Kobayashi, Ryusuke Numajiri, Hideaki Muto, Theodor Gushulbauer, Pedro Ignacio Calderón, Rossen Milanov, Erich Bergel, Bernhard Klee, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Monika Wolinska, Stanislaw Strugala, Jean Fournet etc and many other Japanese conductors.
Her Duo Concert with Martha Argerich has been broadcasted many times in the world. Her musical partners are Martha Argerich, Ivry Gitlis, Augustin Dumay, Régis Pasquier, Yumino Toyoda, Alto Noras, Angela Hewitt, the Quintets as Moragues, Parisii Quartet, Via Nova Quartet etc. She appears regularly at festivals in La Roque d’Anthéron, Menton, Echternach, Verbier, Folle journée (Nantes, Lisbon, Tokyo), Nice, Warsaw, Lugano, Toledo, New York, Tokyo, Salt Lake City, Buenos Aires, Santiago in Chile etc.
Her discography includes Chopin, Ravel, Dynam-Victor Fumet (world first recording) and also works by Fauré, Franck, Grieg, Lekeu, Pierné, Webern in chamber music. She was awarded twice Grand Prix d’Or in Japan for her recordings of Hikari Oe. For her services to French music, Ebi was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 1993, and in 2002 she received Japan’s prestigious ExxonMobile Music Prize. In 2023 she received from polish government Gloria Artis medal.
She is often invited to give master classes in many countries as France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Finland, many cities in USA, Canada, Argentine, Chile and Japan. She is often invited as a jury member at the international competitions such as Chopin in Warsaw, Long -Thibaud, Clara Haskil, Gina Bachauer, Santander, Maria Canals, e-competition etc. She was also the president of jury at Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2012 and 2015. Now she is the president of Japan Chopin Society since 13 years ago. Also she is the Planning committee chair at Yokohama City International Piano Festival which was celebrating its’ 40 years last year 2022 playing with Martha Argerich.
Álvaro Teixeira Lopes
Born in Porto, Portugal, Álvaro Teixeira Lopes studied with Isabel Rocha, Jorge Moyano and Helena Sá Costa in Portugal and with Paul Badura Skoda, Noel Flores in Vienna and Marian Ribicky in Paris.
Artistic Director of the Santa Cecilia International Competition, he is Director of the Silva Monteiro Music Course and Guest Associate Professor at the Department of Communication and Art of the University of Aveiro.
With many students as prize winners at national and international competitions, Álvaro is often invited to join juries of piano competitions both in Portugal and abroad, having already been a juror of several international competitions such as the International Piano Competition of Oporto, Composers of Spain, Iturbi, Concours International de Piano de Lyon e de Épinal, Maestro Arts em Taiwan, César Franck, Cleveland Virtualoso, Isidor Basič, Rina Sala Gallo, Orbetello, Neue Sterne, Scriabin, Rospigliosi, Aquaviva, Valentino Buchi, Pro-Piano and Rio de Janeiro International Piano Festival, among many others.
Author of the Piano Manual published by the Ministry of Education of Portugal, he has carried out an intense pedagogical activity both as a certified advisor by the Ministry of Education and through Master-Classes he has given in Portugal and abroad.
He has recorded for Numérica and dedicated much of his pianistic activity to the promotion of Portuguese piano and chamber music. Member of Solistas do Porto and Khora Ensemble, he has a duo with pianist Fausto Neves and with guitarist Francisco Berény.
He is the artistic director of several festivals, including the Festival Internacional de Piano de Sta. Cecília.
Brazilian of Romanian origin, Cristian Budu has been establishing himself as a new reference in the piano world. He won the renowned Clara Haskil International Competition (Grand Prize + 2 extra awards, including the Audience Award), the most significant achievement of a Brazilian pianist in the last 30 years. He has recently received awards such as Instrumentalist of the Year (2017) from APCA and Best Concert of the Year (2016) in Guia da Folha.
In the British magazine Gramophone, a major international critical reference, Cristian was included in the 2017 update of two ultra-selective lists: “Top 10 Recent Beethoven Recordings,” alongside artists like Harnoncourt, Bavouzet, Goerner, and Stefan Vladar; and “Top 10 Chopin Recordings,” which includes recordings by Martha Argerich, Arthur Rubinstein, Maria João Pires, Dinu Lipatti, and Murray Perahia. In 2019, Gramophone included his interpretation of the 24 Preludes in the historical list of “Top 50 Greatest Chopin Recordings,” representing Brazilian piano alongside Nelson Freire’s recording of the Nocturnes.
His debut solo CD received the “Editor’s Choice” in England and “5-Diapasons” in France. Cristian also performed Tchaikovsky’s 1st Concerto with OJESP and released a CD with cellist Antonio Meneses. His recent schedule includes duos with Renaud Capuçon, a duo with Antonio Meneses, chamber music with musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, a concert with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, as well as a solo recital at the Verbier Festival.
Cristian has performed with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Orquestre de la Suisse Romande, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Emil Nichifor Orchestra, NEC Philharmonic Orchestra, OSESP, Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Mendoza Philharmonic Orchestra, Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others. He has performed as a soloist in venues like the KKL Lucerne, Ateneu Bucharest, LAC Lugano, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Jordan Hall Boston, Sala São Paulo.
He has also performed and taught at festivals and series such as “Les Grands Interprètes” in Geneva, “Klavierissimo” in Zurich, “Piano aux Jacobins” (France), Rockport Music Festival (USA), Zermatt Festival (Switzerland), Delft Chamber Music Festival (Netherlands), Frankische Musiktage – ‘Rising Stars’ series (Germany), Monterrey International Piano Festival (Mexico), Vermelhos Festival, Campos do Jordão International Piano Festival, Lugano Musica and Gstaad Mehuhin Festival.
Cristian graduated from the University of Sao Paulo, where he had as professor the pianist Eduardo Monteiro. In the United States he became Master in Pianistic Performance with Wha´Kyung Byun, being granted a special scholarship from the New England Conservatory in Boston.
While in the USA, Cristian hosted recitals and special events that inspired the creation of Groupmuse, a project that gained the partnership of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and became one of the most innovative platforms for classical music in the world.
In Brazil, Cristian is the creator of the Pianosofia project, which is supported by the Sociedade Cultura Artística, with the aim of “awakening” and reviving the pianos in people’s homes, promoting local musicians and chamber music.
Jan Jiracek von Arnim
Born into a family of musicians, pianist Jan Jiracek von Arnim was described by BBC Music Magazine as one of the leading pianists of his generation. A top prize winner at the Busoni Competition (Italy) and Maria Canals Competition (Spain), Jan Jiracek von Arnim was one of the winners of the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (USA). He regularly performs in musical centers such as the Musikverein Vienna, Philharmonie Berlin, Suntory Hall Tokyo, and others.
He was appointed professor for piano at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts in 2001, making him the youngest tenured professor in the history of that school. His former and current students are prizewinners of major international piano competitions, e.g. in 2021 first prize winner at “Géza Anda” (Switzerland), 2020 first prize winner at “Unisa” (South Africa), 2019 first prize winner of the “Top of the World” (Norway) and Tucumán International Piano Competition (Argentina), 2018 first prize at the “Maria Canals Barcelona”, as well as “Dublin International” in Ireland, the “Gradus ad Parnassum” in Austria and “Neue Sterne” in Germany.
Jan Jiracek von Arnim is guest professor at the Elisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima (Japan) since 2022, visiting professor of Yale University (USA), and currently also visiting guest professor of China Conservatory, Beijing.
He gives master classes on a regular basis in North America, Asia and Europe, most recently for the PTNA Prizewinners and Junior Grade Talents at the Toho Gakuen College in Tokyo, Japan, the Wilhelm Kempff Foundation in Positano, Italy, as well as the Chopin Festival in Duszniki and the Paderewski International Piano Concerto Academy in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Mr. Jiracek von Arnim is frequently invited as a judge at international piano competitions, e.g. the “Hamamatsu International Piano Competition” in Japan, the “Busoni International Piano Competition” in Italy, and the “Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition for young musicians”.
Since 2011, he is the Artistic Director and Chairman of the “International Beethoven Piano Competition Vienna”, one of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world.
His biography on Franz Liszt (Residenz Verlag, Austria) has been described as “the very best Liszt biography” by the renowned newspaper DIE PRESSE, Austria.
Jan Jiracek von Arnim is a scholarship holder of prestigious foundations, such as the “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”. He was named “Paul Harris Fellow” of Rotary Foundation in 2020. He is also honorary citizen of Fredericksburg, Texas (USA).
Keng Zhou is a music activist, Professor and a distinguished pianist. He is the president of SNTPO，the Shanghai Fourth Professional Symphony Orchestra, the Secretary General of the Artists Committee of Nine Tree (Shanghai) future art center, the Artistic Director of the International Piano Festival and the International Piano Academy of Zhejiang Conservatory of music, the graduate advisor of Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the founder of International Piano Festival of Shanghai Conservatory of music, the former director of the International Piano Academy of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, now acting as the Artistic Director of Shanghai Nine Tree International Piano Festival.
Keng Zhou began his studies at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1983 and furthered his music studies at the University of Minnesota in 1989. He has given recitals in the United States and Italy. He had played as a soloist for local orchestra in the U.S. that was streamed on Minnesota Public Radio. He was Vice Chairman of the American Pacific Musicians Association and a board member of the Minnesota Sino-US Friendship Association. In 2002, he returned to Shanghai and was appointed the vice chairman at piano department of Shanghai Conservatory of Music，launching the International Piano Festival at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 2005, which made waves in China with appearances by over one hundred virtuosos from all over the world. Since then, he has become the architect and director of the International Piano Academy at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Shanghai International Piano Festival series that is currently in its fifteen successful year. In preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Zhou Keng organized the 2008 Beijing Centenary Piano Extravaganza in the National Center for the Performing Arts.
Besides curating high-profile piano masterclasses and concerts, Zhou Keng is frequently invited to serve on the jury and senior organizing committee of international competitions, including the China-Shanghai International Piano Competition in Shanghai, Jaen in Spain, Mauro Paolo Monopoli and Nuova Coppa in Italy, Bach-Tureck in New York, Anton Rubinstein in Moscow, Prokofiev in Saint Petersburg, CCTV National Piano Competition in Beijing and the 1st International-e-piano Competition held in Minneapolis. He acted as the producer of the Chinese musical “The Sixth Patriarch” and a senior advisor to the Shanghai Music Press. His insight into the classical music scene in China became the focus of interview by Chinese and abroad regional and nationwide media: CCTV “Music For Life” in October 2016, the BBC, Star Tribune of Minnesota, Universal Daily, Arts and Literature China, People’s Liberation Daily, Beijing Daily, and others. For his efforts in promoting Sino-European relations in the field of arts and culture, the Spanish government honored him with the “Isaac Albéniz Special Recognition” on Albéniz centennial in 2009.
A leading South American pianist with an international career, Linda Bustani studied under Arnaldo Estrella in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Winner of the Vianna da Mota International Competition in Lisbon at just 15 years of age, having already won the national competitions of Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, Linda Bustani was invited by Iakov Zak to work under his guidance at the Moscow Conservatoire, where she also studied with Elisso Virsaladze. Prizes ensued at the international competitions of Bratislava and Rio de Janeiro, and Linda Bustani’s international career effectively took off after she took part in the Leeds International Piano Festival, in the UK, receiving engagements to perform concertos and recitals in Portugal, the Netherlands (Concertgebouw), Belgium, the Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine and Georgia (USSR), Scotland, England, Japan, Hungary, USA and Latin America. She has played with the New Philharmonia, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Welsh, BBC Scottish, Hallé, Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Petrobras Pró Música and the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra. The conductors she has played with include Simon Rattle, Charles Groves, William Tausky, Anatoli Fistoulari, Louis Frémaux, Okko Kamu, Gunther Herbig, John Neschling, Isaac Karabitchevsky, Eleazar de Carvalho, Roberto Duarte, Henrique Morelenbaum, Alceo Bocchino, Roberto Tibiriçá and Ligia Amadio. In 2003, Linda Bustani won the Carlos Gomes Prize (Brazil) as the best pianist of the year.
São Paulo-born musician Roberto Tibiriçá developed his art under the tutorship of Guiomar Novaes, Magda Tagliaferro, Dinorah de Carvalho, Nelson Freire and Gilberto Tinetti. He studied under Eleazar de Carvalho, with whom he had the opportunity to work for 18 years after winning the OSESP Young Conductors Competition two years in a row.
He held the post of assistant conductor at the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos (Lisbon) and in 1994 he was appointed artistic director and principle conductor of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. Between 2000 and 2004 he was artistic director and principle conductor of the Petrobras Symphony Orchestra and between 2005 and 2011 he was artistic director of the Heliópolis Symphony Orchestra, at Instituto Baccarelli (São Paulo). In 2010 he took over as principal conductor of the Minas Gerais Symphony Orchestra, remaining there until 2013. He also served as principal conductor and artistic director of the Campinas Symphony Orchestra and the São Bernardo do Campo Philharmonic, both in São Paulo, and the SODRE Symphony Orchestra in Montevideo, Uruguay.
In 1995 he was elected Musician of the Year of Rio de Janeiro and was awarded the Estácio de Sá Prize by the state government for his work with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. He twice took part (2001 and 2004) in the Martha Argerich Festival, in Buenos Aires, on the invitation of Argerich herself. He has also received repeat invitations to conduct concerts with the Simón Bolivar Orchestra at the Villa-Lobos Festival in Venezuela.
In 2010 and 2011, he won the Carlos Gomes prize for Best Symphonic Conductor, for his work with the Minas Gerais and Heliópolis symphony orchestras. In 2011 he was given the Order of Ipiranga (the highest honorary title given by the State of São Paulo), the President Juscelino Kubitschek Grand Medal (given by the Minas Gerais state government), and the APCA Award (given by the São Paulo Association of Art Critics) as best conductor (for his work with the Heliópolis Symphony Orchestra and the Minas Gerais Symphony Orchestra). He occupies seat no. 5 of the Brazilian Academy of Music and since 11 May 2003 he has been an honorary member of the National Academy of Music, in Rio de Janeiro. In 2020, at the height of the Covid pandemic, he debuted the one-act opera Cartas Portuguesas, by the Brazilian composer João Guilherme Ribber, and recorded the Choros for clarinet, piano, viola and cello and the piece Flor de Tremembé, by Camargo Guarnieri, for Naxos.
Roberto Tibiriçá is currently the Musical Director and Principal Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Paraná.
Brazilian born Vera Astrachan studied with Arnaldo Estrella in Rio de Janeiro and graduated at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where she was awarded the “Gold Medal”. After graduation, Vera pursued further training with Hans Graf and Bruno Seidlhofer in Vienna and, sponsored by The British Council, with Ilona Kabos in London. Later, in Berkeley, she studied Theory of Composition with Joaquin Nin-Culmell.
After her first performance in Vienna the Kurier newspaper published a review which said “… there are certainly few pianists of her generation that know how to play Beethoven as well as Vera Astrachan”.
Ms. Astrachan has received several awards, among which were First Place at the Backhaus Competition, dedicated to Beethoven´s works, the Jeunesses Musicales Award in Berlin, and APCA’s Best Soloist of the Year (1978).
Ms. Astrachan has performed in several European and North American cities, including Vienna, Paris, London, Lisbon, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In San Francisco, she performed with “The Contemporary Music Players”, conducted by Jean Louis LeRoux. In Brazil, Ms. Astrachan has been regularly invited to play as a soloist with major orchestras, collaborating with conductors such as Eleazar de Carvalho, Camargo Guarnieri, Isaac Karabtchevsky, John Neschling, Roberto Tibiriçá, Celso Antunes, Claudio Cruz and João Carlos Martins. As a recitalist, Ms. Astrachan has been performing at the most renowned Brazilian concert venues.
In addition to her solo recitals and her performances with orchestras, Ms. Astrachan has dedicated herself to the art of Chamber Music. Ms. Astrachan accompanied important musicians like clarinetist Alain Damiens and violinist Elisa Fukuda. She has also played with several string quartets.
Ms. Astrachan has performed in various premiere productions in Brazil: Sonata nº 4 by Francisco Mignone, (the theme of her M.A. at the University of São Paulo – USP), Variações Sobre um Tema Popular Brasileiro, for piano and orchestra, by Lorenzo Fernandez, Les Djinns for piano and orchestra, by César Franck and the Symphony nº2, The Age of Anxiety, for piano and orchestra, by Leonard Bernstein.
Ms. Astrachan’s discography includes a CD with works by Schumann and Ravel, and a CD with César Franck’s and Camargo Guarnieri’s works (the “Fukuda – Astrachan Duo”).
In recent years, Ms. Astrachan has performed as a soloist with several orchestras and launched the Connecticut Chopin Society series in 2016. In 2018 as part of the celebrations of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, she played his symphony nº 2 for piano and orchestra, “The Age of Anxiety”, at Sala Cecília Meireles in Rio de Janeiro.
Olga Kopylova was born in Uzbekistan and studied at the Uspensky School of Music, the College of Music at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
From 1994 to 2000, Olga performed as a soloist in the main concert halls in Moscow and the region: Rachmaninoff Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Rakhmaninov Hall), Concert Hall of the Tchaikovsky House in Klin (Tchaikovsky House Museum’s Hall ), and Tver Regional Academic Philharmonic Hall. During this same period, she maintained the Duo Kopylova & Bereslavtseva alongside the flutist Natalia Bereslavtseva (currently the Bolshoi Theater’s first flute), with whom she performed a series of concerts dedicated to the repertoire for flute and piano. In March 1999 the Duo participated in the International Bach Festival in the city of Tver (Tver International Bach Festival).
In 2000, Olga moved to Brazil and assumed the position of titular pianist in the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, she performed at the head of Osesp, Symphony Orchestra of Campinas, Chamber Orchestra of Curitiba, Youth Orchestra of the State of São Paulo, Symphony Orchestra of Ribeirão Preto, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, North State Symphony, among others. She participated in the chamber music series of Osesp, Osesp / MASP and Maria Luisa and Oscar Americano Foundation, valuing innovative formations and repertoires. She has performed solo piano and chamber music recitals in Latin America (Brazil and Colombia) and in the USA (in the cities of Redding, Chicco and Dansmiur, California).
Since 2017 she has been a piano teacher at the Osesp Music Academy, where she created the Orchestra Piano Course, unprecedented in Latin American territory.
Her discography includes Morning Star (CDA, 2006) and digital albums: The Music of Cécile Chaminade (Azul Music 2021); Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No. 3 in C Major, Op.2, and No.16 in G Major, Op.31 (Azul Music 2021); Mozart: Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Vol.I (Azul Music, 2021); Salut d’Amour (Azul Music 2022), Guarnieri: Choros 1 & 2 (Naxos, 2020 and 2022).
Pre-selected candidates (in alphabetical order by name)
A curious and innovative artist, pianist Élisabeth Pion stands out as a soloist, chamber musician and collaborator on the cultural scene. Based in London UK, she is a Young Artist of the Musicians’ Company of London and an alumna of the Imogen Cooper Trust. Among the highlights of her 2023/2024 season are the opening of Arion Orchestre Baroque’s season as well as the recording of an ATMA Classique CD with this orchestra, performances as part of IMS Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music in England, and her debut with Nézet-Séguin’s Orchestre Métropolitain in January 2024.
In 2022/2023 Elisabeth made her concerto debut in the United States with the Toledo Symphony, gave a recital at St-John’s Smith Square in London, and made her first recording with ATMA Classique. In 2019, she made her debut on BBC Radio 3; in 2021 performed a solo recital at Wigmore Hall, London; then in 2022, at the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York.
Élisabeth is a student of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where she studied with Ronan O’Hora and obtained the Artist Diploma as well as the Artist Masters. She also worked in the school as a Junior Fellow in 2022/2023. Élisabeth is the 2022 recipient of the Choquette-Symcox Prize from the Jeunesses Musicales Canada Foundation and thanks the Foundation for its support.
Brazilian-born pianist Ervino Rieger had his debut with orchestra with the Montevideo Philharmonic in Uruguay with the conductor Ligia Amadio. In addition, he has been working with prominent Latin-American conductors such as Silvio Viegas, Emiliano Patarra, Martin Garcia and Fernando Ortiz de Villate with GRU-Symphony, Porto Alegre`s Symphony and Botucatu Symphony Orchestras.
Ervino was the 1st prize winner at the WPTA Portugal International Competition, as well as the Young Soloists Competition of the GRU Symphony and Botucatu Symphony orchestras.
He is also the artistic director of a concert series in his home state, Rio Grande do Sul, where he brings classical music to country towns. He has collaborated with violin and voice on many programs, and recently took part in a concert series at the Ling Institute and Vermelhos Festival.
Ervino is now pursuing his master’s degree at the New England Conservatory in Boston, studying with Meng-Chieh Liu. In Brazil, he studied with Eduardo Monteiro and received his bachelor’s degree with Ney Fialkow at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.
Gabriele Strata is quickly establishing himself as one of the leading Italian pianists of his generation. In 2018 he won first prize at the XXXV Premio Venezia, the prestigious Italian piano competition where he was awarded the Plaque of the President of the Italian Republic and the Medal of the Italian Senate. Regularly performing throughout Europe, recent and upcoming performances include debut concerto appearances in the Berliner Philharmonie with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, London’s Barbican Centre and Cadogan Hall with Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and English Schools Orchestra, Venice with the Orchestra del Teatro la Fenice, Cardiff’s St. David’s Hall with the Cardiff Philharmonic, Mumbai’s National Centre for Performing Arts with Chamber Orchestra of India, Sala Puccini in Milan, as well as a debut recital in Wigmore Hall. Gabriele received his Master of Music degree from Yale University 2019 aged 19, under the guidance of Professor Boris Berman. He holds Artist Diploma degrees from the Guildhall School in London where he studied with Ronan O’Hora and from the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Benedetto Lupo.
Leo De Maria
A unique blend of technical skill, great sensitivity and deep passion in his playing has established Leo de María as one of the best performers of his generation.He began his musical training at the age of 11. He studied at the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts of the Alfonso X el Sabio University in Madrid under the direction of Maestro Leonel Morales, and later completed his Master’s studies with Maestro Pavel Gililov at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg.
Leo de María has won more than 40 national and international awards. Highlights include the First Prizes in the International Piano Competitions Ciudade de Ferrol (November, 2017, Spain), MozARTè (September, 2016, Germany), Grand Prix de Lyon (June, 2016, France), and the National Prize Cultura Viva 2018 to the Artistic Revelation.
He has also been recently awarded with the Second Prize in the International Competitions Johann Nepomuk Hummel of Bratislava (WFIMC), Santa Cecilia of Oporto in Portugal (WFIMC), Épinal of France (WFIMC), Russian Music of Italy, Neue Sterne of Germany, Valsesia Musica of Milan.
Muzi has won prizes at many prestigious competitions – most recently winning the 1st Prize and Expressive Performance Prize at the 2023 Grand Prize Salzburg International Music Competition in Austria, and 1st prize at the Obertello international Piano Competition in Italy.
Muzi also received the 1st Prize and the Audience ‘ s choice prize at the 5th Francesco Cardaropoli International Piano Competition, and the 1st Prize at the 2023 Mimas Festival International Piano Competition, and a special scholarship award, sponsored by Krause Musical Instrument Co., Ltd. Amongst her many additional honors, she also won 1st prize at the 15th Giovani Musicisti International Piano Competition in Venice.
This past season, Muzi has performed extensively in Europe, she has given performances at such prominent venues as Solitär performance hall (Mozarteum University) in Salzburg, the Manuel de Falla Auditorium in Madrid, and the Santa Margherita Nuova in Naples.
She has also performed in master classes of such distinguished teachers and performers as Alfred Brendel, Pavel Gililov, Michel Béroff, Arie Vardi, Jacques Rouvier, Boris Berman, James Giles, Ian Jones, Hortense Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Levin.
Muzi is currently studying at the University of Arts Berlin with Prof. Markus Groh.
Orlando BASS is a franco-british pianist and composer born in 1994.
He attended the CNSM in Paris, where he studied piano (Roger Muraro), chamber music (Itamar Golan), accompaniment (Jean-Frédéric Neuburger) and composition (Thierry Escaich). He is pursuing an artist diploma at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin with Kirill Gerstein.
He has obtained first prizes at the Paris CFRPM Competition for Modern Piano Repertoire, at the Virtuoses du Cœur Piano Competition and at the Bologna Competition run by the Paola Bernardi Foundation. Since June 2019, he has been a laureate of the Fondation Banque Populaire, which actively supports him in his diverse and varied projects, both as a performer and composer.
A disc of Preludes and Fugues for solo piano, spanning the 20th and 21st centuries, was released in 2018 by Indésens, and a solo double disc featuring both his own compositions and some by Olivier Penard was published by Dux in 2021. Other discs as a chamber musician or as a composer are published by Odradek, Paladino media, Triton, Hortus and Paraty, and soon by Naxos, Aparté, and Soond.
Lauded by the New York Concert Review as “truly exceptional,” the accomplished Steinway Artist, Rixiang Huang has evoked effusive praise from both audiences and critics worldwide. After clinching the top honors at the 12th Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford and the Los Angeles International Liszt Piano Competition back in 2021, Huang swiftly forged an eminent global standing for himself. His newest CD album, Eternal Soul, released by KNS Classical in May 2023, has already earned accolades from audiences and critics.
Winner of an impressive array of prizes, Dr. Huang was a top prizewinner of Paloma O’Shea International Piano Competition, Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, Dallas International Piano Competition, New York International Artists Piano Competition, International Piano Competition La Palma d’Oro in Italy, along with WPTA International Piano Competition.
Dr. Huang received Doctoral of Musical Arts at the USC Thornton School of Music, Master of Music in Piano Performance at The Juilliard School Rixiang Huang is a Steinway Artist.
Vítor Zendron da Cunha
Born in 1997, Vitor Zendron da Cunha took his first piano lesson at the age of eight. Between 2008 and 2015 he studied at the Carlos Gomes Conservatory in Blumenau (Brazil) and participated in the main festivals in Latin America. He continued his formation at the Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe in the class of Sontraud Speidel, where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in 2020 and took part in Master classes with artists such as Klaus Hellwig and Cyprien Katsaris. From 2020 to 2022 he studied at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne.
Vitor won first prizes at the National Edna Habith Competition and at the Federico Chopin Piano Competition (Peru) in 2013. In 2015 he was a finalist at the Prelúdio Competition, broadcast in Brazilian national television. In 2019, he won the “Gerold Joachim Förderpreis” in Germany, and in 2022 the “Prix Mireille Klemm“, awarded by the Chopin Society of Geneva. He performed in venues such as Sala São Paulo, Gran Teatro Nacional de Lima and Warsaw Music Society and collaborated with conductors Júlio Medaglia and Pierre-Stéphane Meugé. Currently, he is at the Master de soliste program at the Haute École de Musique de Genève in the class of Ricardo Castro. Vitor also studied “Conducting from the Keyboard” at the Scuola di Musica Fiesole (Italy).
Hailed by the Boston Musical Intelligence as a pianist who “breezed through the most technically difficult bits with impressive panache”, Zhiye Lin is a KNS classical pianist who is increasingly being heard in important concert halls. After winning numerous competitions, he has performed in many major concert halls in the world, including Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Ningbo Concert Hall, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall, and Shanghai Oriental Art Center. He was the laureate of piano competitions in Tokyo, Spain, West Virginia, New York, Singapore, and Hawaii.
He also appeared as soloist with Mercury Orchestra, West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra, and Hawaii Symphony Orchestra under the batons of Channing Yu, Mitchell Arnold, and Joseph Stepec.
He earned his Bachelor of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music and his Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of HaeSun Paik and Hung-Kuan Chen. Currently, he is completing the Artist Diploma at the Peabody Institute under Richard Goode’s guidance.