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.