With a repertoire ranging from the baroque to the contemporary, American soprano Laura Aikin is a universally welcome presence on the world’s great operatic and concert stages. She began her over three-decade career as an ensemble member at Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden (1992–98) under the artistic direction of Daniel Barenboim.
Aikin is a regular guest at venues including the Vienna State Opera, Milan’s La Scala, the Bavarian State Opera, the Zurich Opera, the Dutch National Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Semperoper in Dresden, the Gran Teatro del Liceu Barcelona, the Frankfurt Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the San Francisco Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
As a frequently requested concert singer, Aikin performs together with orchestras such as the Berlin, Munich, and Vienna Philharmonics, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Wiener Symphoniker, the Cleveland Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the WDR, SWR, and MDR Radio Symphony Orchestras as well as with formations including Ensemble Intercontemporain, Les Arts Florissants, the Gürnzenich Orchestra Cologne, Concerto Köln, and Concentus Musicus Wien.
As a teacher, Laura Aikin has given numerous master classes such as at the Würzburg University of Music, the University Of Michigan, the Komische Oper Berlin Opernstudio, and 2022’s annual conference of the Bundesverband Deutsche Gesangspädagogen (Federal Association of German Voice Teachers). She has been on the faculty of the Lotte Lehmann Academy since 2020 and an instructor at the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences’ Institute of Music since 2021, and October 2022 saw her appointed as a full professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
François Benda was born in Brazil, but his musical roots are in Europe. François Benda’s international career began in 1988, when he debuted as a clarinet soloist at Zurich’s prestigious concert venue Tonhalle and at the Victoria Hall in Geneva.
In 1991 François Benda was awarded the Premio internationale per le Arti dello Spettaccolo in Rome. Today François Benda performs at many of the most important music venues (Berlin’s Philharmonie, the Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall London, the Tonhalle in Zurich) and appears as clarinet soloist with all leading orchestras. François Benda regularly appears as a guest artist at music festivals such as the Pablo Casals Festival, the Berliner Festwochen, Styriarte, Musicades Lyon, and the Pentecost Concerts in Ittingen, Switzerland. He appears in chamber concert recitals with Heinz Holliger, Paul Badura-Skoda, Bruno Giuranna, Isabelle Faust, Josef Silverstein and Bruno Canino. He’s also a member of the Benda Musicians, the Weimar Soloists and the Variazioni Ensemble.
His comprehensive discography (for ECM, Fono, Pantheon, EPU, Hänssler und Genuin) includes also the clarinet concertos by Nielsen, Debussy, Busoni, and Rossini and most recently albums with the complete Schumann works and complete Brahms works. François Benda’s intensive study of recent instrument making developments led to the founding of the Clarinartis Company, in collaboration with instrument makers René Hagmann and Jochen Seggelke. His broad repertoar has been enriched in collaboration with contemporary composers Krzysztof Penderecki, Heinz Holliger, Elliott Carter, Luciano Berio, Georg Friedrich Haas, Wolfgang von Schweinitz and Bernhard Lang. In addition to his solo career, François Benda is one of the most highly sought after Professors of Clarinet. He teaches at the University of Arts in Berlin and the Hochschule für Musik der Stadt Basel, Switzerland.
Hatto Beyerle studied viola at the Freiburg University of Music with Ulrich Koch and in Vienna violin with Ricardo Odnoposoff, composition with Alfred Uhl and conducting with Hans Swarowsky. In 1960, he co-founded the chamber orchestra Vienna Soloists with which he undertook many concert tours. In 1970 he founded, along with Günther Pichler, the Alban Berg Quartet with which he has won numerous national and international prizes, including the German Record Award as well as several Japanese prizes and was twice awarded the title “Artist of the Year” by the German Phono Academy. From 1982 to 1998, he was a member of “L’Ensemble”. Hatto Beyerle was professor of viola and chamber music at mdw – the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna from 1964 to 1987. Since 1987, he has been professor at the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media and from 1990 to 2004 was also professor at the City of Basel Music Academy. Since 1998, he has regularly held masterclasses at the Fiesole School of Music (Florence) and courses in viola and chamber music as visiting professor in the USA and Canada.
From 1985 to 1998, Beyerle conducted the “Konzertvereinigung der Wiener Konzerthausgesselschaft” and in 2004 was the initiator of the European Chamber Music Academy and artistic director of “Europäisches Kulturforum Grossraming” (Austria).
Fractales, founded in 2012 and based in Brussels, is an ensemble born from the desire to promote and explore new repertoires. Specialised in performing contemporary chamber music without a conductor, Fractales plays a large variety of new music to create exciting programs, performing with a communicative energy and passion for the music of the 20th and 21st century.
Fractales also plays an active role in the contemporary avant-garde, commissioning new pieces and supporting young composers with his program BE Connect.
Fractales has performed at many famous festivals such as La Biennale di Venezia, reMusik, Darmstadt Summer Course, Afekt, Ars Musica, Nuova Consonanza, De Link Nieuwe Muziek, and at venues in Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and UK.
Fractales was awarded twice the “Just Composed!” prize at isa – International Summer Academy of the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and is the residency ensemble of the isaMasterclass for contemporary music since 2018. Fractales has won the Willem Twee prize in 2017, the Vocatio Foundation Prize, and was in the official selection for festival ProPulse 2018.
Fractales is supported and recognized by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.
Louise Hopkins enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, soloist and cello professor. She has performed in venues internationally collaborating with artists such as Thomas Adès, Aleksandar Madzar, András Keller, Dénes Várjon, Tamara Stefanovich, François Leleux, Emmanuel Pahud and the Takács Quartet.
The Times commented on her performance of Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto with the composer conducting at the Barbican Hall that ‘players with such personality, agility and power are rare’.
Louise has frequently participated at major festivals including Aldeburgh, Cheltenham,Bath, Amsterdam Cello Biennale, Belgrade cello Festival, Dijon, Trondheim , and the Australian Chamber Music Festival. She has also been a regular participant at the Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music for over 20 years and has been broadcast on the BBC, RTE, WFMT, Swiss Romande, ABC, New Zealand Radio and Radio France.
Louise is invited to give masterclasses internationally and has held teaching positions at the Yehudi Menuhin School and Bern Hochschule. She is currently the Head of Strings and a cello professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
As a jury member Louise has participated on the juries of the Banff and Trondheim string quartet competitions, the Lutoslawski and Amsterdam Biennale cello competitions and will be going to the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and Lyon International Chamber Music Competition in 2023.
Dag Jensen was born in Horten, Norway and began bassoon lessons at the age of eleven with Robert Rönnes. He later studied with Torleiv Nedberg at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He won his first orchestral position with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of sixteen and was promoted to co-principal of the same orchestra soon after. He continued to study with Klaus Thunemann in Hanover.
He was principal bassoonist of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra from 1985 to 1988 and held the same position in the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 1997. Dag Jensen won a first prize at the Norwegian Youth Music Competition and won the coveted ARD Music Competition in Munich twice, in 1984 and 1990.
His numerous solo appearances include performances with renowned orchestras such as, among many others, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Swedish Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra Manchester, and with conductors like Seiji Ozawa, Jeffrey Tate, Christopher Hogwood, and Iona Brown.
Chamber music plays an important part in his musical life, and he is a member of the Sabine Meyer Wind Ensemble and of the Ensemble Villa Musica. He is also a regular guest at several music festivals.
Dag Jensen was Professor at the Hanover Academy of Music and Theatre from 1997 to 2011, and since 2011 he has been Professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich. He is also Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo.
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 performance at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts in 2001. His students are prizewinners of major international piano competitions, e.g. in 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) and visiting professor at Yale University (USA) since 2022, and 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.
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).
Gilad Karni has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and teacher worldwide. He appeared at many of the world’s great festivals and engagements include solo appearances with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Malaysian Philharmonic, NDR Radiophilharmonie, and others.
He won First Prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition 1994, and Third Prize at the ARD Munich International Music Competition in 1993 and several others. His CD recordings were released to great critical acclaim.
Karni is Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences, Zurich since 2016 and has been giving masterclasses e.g. at the Curtis and Baltimore Schools of Music and the isa ‒ International Summer Academy and has served on faculties of the Banff Center of the Arts in Canada, the Aspen Music Festival (US), the Linderman and CISMA Music festivals in Seoul (Korea) and others.
He is currently Principal Violist of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Before that, he was Principal Viola at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, at the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, and in 1992 the youngest member of the New York Philharmonic. He was invited as guest Principal with such orchestras as the Berlin Staatskapelle under Daniel Barenboim and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. His most influential teachers were Chaim Taub and Paul Neubauer. He is a scholarship recipient of The America-Israel Cultural Foundation, and an alumnus of the Manhattan School of Music.
Gilad Karni plays on a viola made by Hiroshi Iizuka in 1982, previously owned by American violist and pedagogue Emmanuel Vardi.
Born in Beirut (Lebanon) into a family of Armenian descent, Kouyoumdjian began his studies when he was 12 years old at the mdw ‒ University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where he studied with Dieter Weber, Noel Flores, Alexander Jenner and Georg Ebert. He continued his postgraduate work with Djanko Iliev, Stanislav Neuhaus and Alisa Kezeradze.
Since winning first prize at the Sixth International Beethoven Competition in Vienna in 1981, he has performed in famous concert halls in Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan. He has been a soloist with well-renowned orchestras around the world and taken part in many different festivals. He is a sought-after juror in major international competitions in addition to conducting master classes in many universities in Europe and Japan. His recordings express his artistry as a pianist and a chamber musician.
In 1997, he was appointed Professor of Piano and Chamber Music in the Keyboard Department of Piano at the mdw, which is where he began his pedagogical career as an assistant professor in 1987. He is the initiator and founder of the International Joseph Haydn Chamber Music Competition at the mdw and in 2002 he became the cofounder/director of the Joseph Haydn Chamber Music Institute of the university. Since the summer of 2004, he has been the Artistic Director of the Piano à Saint-Ursanne Festival in Switzerland.
In October 2010, he was appointed Dean of Instrumental Studies at the mdw. In October 2016, he was appointed Professor of Piano at the Queen Elizabeth Music Chapel in Belgum.
Andrea Lieberknecht was born in Augsburg, Germany. She studied music with Paul Meisen at the academy of music in Munich. In 1988, even before finishing her studies, she became the soloist flute player in the Munich Radio Orchestra. Three years later, she changed to the same position in The West German Radio Symphony Orchestra in Cologne, where she remained until 2002. As a soloist as well as a member of chamber music groups (ARCIS Quintet and with the pianist Jan Philip Schulze), she has won many national and international competitions including the Prague Spring International Flute Competition, the International Flute Competition Kobe, the German Music Competition, the ARD-Competition and international chamber music competitions in Colmar, Trapani and Belgrade.
Since then, recitals, solo concerts and chamber music concerts with well-known musicians have taken her around the world. She has played solo concerts and chamber music concerts at international festivals such as the Rheingau Music Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Moreover, during the years 1993 to 1996, she was the solo flute player at The Richard-Wagner-Festival in Bayreuth. The clarinetist Sabine Meyer invited her for chamber music concerts at Luzern Festival, Schubertiade Festival Schwarzenberg, among others.
In Germany, she has given flute concerts with the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Munich Symphonists, and many others.
Numerous CD recordings with solo and chamber music, some of them prize-winning, document her versatile artistic activity.
She is also a passionate teacher: She taught at the Academy of Music in Cologne and was Professor of flute at the Academy of Music in Hannover until 2011. She is regularly asked to be a jury member at flute competitions and teaches masterclasses in Europe, Japan and Australia. Since 2011, she has been Professor of flute at the University for Music and Performing Arts Munich.
Sibylle Mahni studied at the Frankfurt State Academy of Music and the Performing Arts (Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main) under Marie-Luise Neunecker. During this time she was an artist of the Villa Musica foundation, as well as a scholarship holder from the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes). Sibylle Mahni has had outstanding success at several highly renowned international competitions including the ARD Music Competition (Internationaler Musikwettbewerb der ARD). In 2002 she graduated with the post-graduate performance degree “Konzertexamen”.
From 1997 until 2016 Sibylle was solo hornist in the opera orchestra in Frankfurt. In addition to performing as Principal Horn in the orchestra, she started to teach: first at the Frankfurt State Academy of Music and the Performing Arts, then at the Mainz School of Music, the University of Music Saarbrücken and the University of Music Würzburg. In 2020 she was awarded the position of Professor of Horn at the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin.
Mahni also lectures at numerous international master classes including the International Horn Symposium in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Jerusalem Music Academy, the Villa Musica, Mainz, the Forum Artium, Georgsmarienhütte and many others.
As a highly regarded horn soloist, she has frequently appeared with many leading orchestras including the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the International Bach Academy Stuttgart, the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn and the Britten Sinfonia. She has worked with many leading conductors such as Oleg Caetani, Toshiyuki Kamioka and Helmuth Rilling. Internationally, she has appeared in Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Croatia, China and the USA to name a few.
Chamber music is also an important passion for Ms. Mahni which has led her to perform at such festivals as the chamber music festival ‘Spannungen’ in Heimbach, the Moritzburg Festival near Dresden, the Hitzacker Summer Music Festival and the Freiburg ‘Albert Konzerte’. Amongst Sibylle’s chamber music partners are prominent musicians such as Christian Tetzlaff, Isabelle van Keulen, Kirill Gerstein, Lars Vogt and Sharon Kam. She has taken part in the premiere of chamber works of Jörg Widmann, Brett Dean, Detlev Glanert and others. In 2014 Sibylle Mahni joined the Ma’alot-Quintett, one of the leading wind-ensembles in the world today.
Contemporary Music (Ensemble coach)
Contemporary Music (Ensemble coach)
Born in Metz, Jean-Bernard Matter studied bassoon and piano accompaniment at the Paris Conservatory (CNSMDP) and orchestral conducting at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. As accompanist at the Festival in Aix-en-Provence and at the Komische Opera Berlin, he has worked together with Semyon Bychkov and Harry Kupfer. He was an assistant to Berislav Klobučar and Georges Prêtre at the Opéra de Nice and was further engaged as accompanist and Kapellmeister at the opera houses in Graz and Halle as well as guest conductor with various orchestras. In 1994, he was appointed Kapellmeister of the Opéra de Nice, where he directed several premieres and first performances, among other works. At the Wiener Kammeroper, he conducted “Hoffmanns Erzählungen” and was a personal assistant to Pierre Boulez at the Festwochen 2007. Since 2008, he has been teaching contemporary music and composition practice at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
Johannes Meissl is a professor of chamber music and has been Vice Rector for International Affairs and Art at the mdw ‒ University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna since October 2019.
Prior to his appointment as vice rector, he headed the Joseph Haydn Department of Chamber Music, Early Music and Contemporary Music beginning in 2010 and also served as president of the mdw Senate from 2015 until September 2019. Furthermore, Meissl is artistic director of isa – the International Summer Academy of the mdw.
Johannes Meissl studied at mdw with Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Gerhart Hetzel, and Hatto Beyerle. In 1982, he joined the Artis Quartet (in which he continues to play). The quartet soon became a frequent guest of the world’s most important concert halls and festivals, and the numerous awards won by their approximately 40 recordings (such as the Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, Echo, etc.) as well as the successful “Artis Series” at the Musikverein in Vienna (running since 1988) bear witness to their international standing. Alongside his quartet work, Meissl also performs in solo recitals and as part of numerous international chamber music projects.
Meissl shares artistic direction of ECMA (European Chamber Music Academy) with Hatto Beyerle and gives master classes at numerous renowned schools and summer academies worldwide. He is currently serving as a visiting professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. And finally, recent years have seen Johannes Meissl achieve additional success as a conductor, regularly working together with orchestras in Japan, Romania, Lithuania, Austria, and Finland.
Detlev Müller-Siemens was born in Hamburg, Germany and studied composing with György Ligeti, piano with Andreas Meyer-Hermann, Eckart Besch, and Volker Banfield, and conducting with Christoph von Dohnányi and Klauspeter Seibel at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. He also spent a year studying with Olivier Messiaen at the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMDP).
He has received numerous awards including the Kranichstein Music Prize at the Darmstadt Summer Course (Darmstadt, 1974), the Encouragement Award of the Hamburg Bach Prize (1975), first place in the “Under 30” category and third in the “General” category at the International Rostrum of Composers (Paris, 1983), the Hindemith Award of the Hindemith Foundation (1985), the Encouragement Award of the Berlin Art Prize (1986), and the Schneider-Schott Music Prize (1986), as well as the Hindemith Encouragement Award (1987) and the Rolf Liebermann Encouragement Award for his opera Die Menschen (1990). Furthermore, Müller-Siemens has been a grantee of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Heinrich Strobel Foundation (1975), the German Academy Rome Villa Massimo (1980 and 1982), and the Wilfried Steinbrenner Foundation (1983), and he also received a Rolf Liebermann Grant (1988).
Müller-Siemens worked as an assistant to conductor Elgar Howarth on a production of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre at the Paris Opera, and he served as Kapellmeister of Theater Freiburg from 1986 to 1988. He went on to teach from 1991 to 2005 at the City of Basel Music Academy as a professor of composition and theory, and he has been a professor of composition at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna since 2005.
Tours have taken Detlev Müller-Siemens to England with the Nash Ensemble of London and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group under conductor Elgar Howarth in 1994 as well as to Asia in 1998 and 2003 with the LINOS Ensemble. 1994 saw him lecture and give concerts together with Musique Nouvelle under conductor Paul Méfano at the conservatories in Bordeaux and Pau, with the Gruppo Strumentale dell’EAOSS under conductor Angelo Faja in Palermo and Catania, and at the 31st Festival di Nuova Consonanza in Rome with the Staatsorchester Stuttgart under conductor Bernhard Kontarsky.
2015 saw his portrait CD Traces (featuring performances by the Mondrian Ensemble) appear on the Wergo label. His most recent works include …called dusk III (premièred in 2014 by ensemble reconsil at the Arnold Schoenberg Centre in Vienna), Subsong 1 for Ensemble (premièred in 2016 by Ensemble Phoenix Basel), and Subsong 2 for String Quartet (premièred in 2017/18 by Ensemble Tzara in Zurich. Subsong 3 for Basset Clarinet and String Quartet (2020/21) will be given its world première at the festival Mozartfest Schwetzingen in 2022.
Born in Linz, Josef Niederhammer started taking violin lessons when he was six, followed by violoncello and eventually changed to the double bass at the age of fourteen. He studied at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna with Ludwig Streicher and in 1977 graduated with distinction. He is a prizewinner of the ARD Music Competition 1979 in Munich. Following engagements with the Vienna and Bamberg Symphony Orchestras, he was principle bassist with the Bavarian State Orchestra (Bavarian State Opera Munich) and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra as well as a member of the Wiener Virtuosen and Ensemble Wien. Niederhammer continues to perform internationally as soloist and chamber musician. He taught at the Conservatory and the Music Academy in Munich and since 1991 has been professor for double bass at mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
Praised by The Strad magazine and The New York Times, internationally renowned cellist Amit Peled is acclaimed as one of the most exciting and virtuosic instrumentalists on the concert stage today. Having performed in many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Salle Gaveau in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, and the Konzerthaus Berlin, Peled has released over a dozen recordings on the Naxos, Centaur, Delos, and CTM Classics labels. He is on the faculty of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and has performed in and presented master classes around the world including at the Marlboro and Newport Music Festivals and the Heifetz International Music Summer Institute in the US, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany, International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove in England, and Keshet Eilon in Israel. Embracing the new era of the pandemic, Peled has established the Amit Peled Online Cello Academy reaching out to cellists all over the world. Moreover, his home studio in Baltimore has turned into a virtual art gallery promoting and supporting local artists while teaching and livestreaming to a worldwide audience.
For more information, visit www.amitpeled.com.
GOTTFRIED JOHANNES POKORNY
CHAMBER MUSIC FOR WINDS
CHAMBER MUSIC FOR WINDS
Gottfried Johannes Pokorny is a principal bassoonist of the Tonkustler Orchestra of Lower Austria and professor of wind chamber music at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Formerly, he was a member of the Bruckner Orchestra Linz and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and taught at the Josef-Matthias-Hauer Conservatory of the city of Wiener Neustadt.
Gottfried Johannes Pokorny studied with Karl Öhlberg and Dietmar Zeman at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and attended masterclasses at the Mozarteum Salzburg held by Milan Turkovic as well as Daniele Damiano and Michael Werba. A founding member of the “Wiener Bläser Akademie”, the “Collegium Viennense” and the “Zemlinsky Quintett Wien”, he has performed at numerous festivals in Austria and abroad, including the Festival Allegro Vivo, the Beethoven Festival Bonn, the Haydn-Biennale Vlaanderen, the Fjord Cadenza Classical Music Festival Skodje, the Nynorske Festival, the Mozartwoche in Osaka and the Grafenegg Festival, playing together with artists such as Marialena Fernandes, Walter Delahunt, Rudolf Buchbinder and Heinz Holliger.
Gottfried Johannes Pokorny has been involved in numerous radio and CD recordings and gives bassoon and chamber music courses in Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Ukraine, India and Japan. In concerts and on tours he has played with such conductors as wie Sándor Végh, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Georges Prêtre, Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Sir Georg Solti, Sir Simon Rattle und Mariss Jansons. He has been a member of the Tonkunstler Orchestra of Lower Austria since 1987, holding the solo bassoon position since 1990.
Felix Renggli was born in Basel, Switzerland and studied flute with Gerhard Hildenbrand, Aurèle Nicolet, and Peter-Lukas Graf. He completed his formal training at the City of Basel Music Academy with a soloist diploma and went on to hold the solo flute post in various orchestras including the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, the Symphony Orchestra of St. Gallen, the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and Camerata Bern.
Renggli has won prizes at national and international competitions and gives master classes on a regular basis in Europe, South America, Japan, China, and Australia. His busy performing career has seen him play as a soloist and chamber musician all over Europe as well as in South America, the USA, Japan, and China, including appearances at international festivals in Paris, Bourges, Lucerne, Lockenhaus, Rio de Janeiro, Akiyoshidai, Tokyo, and elsewhere.
His regular collaboration with the oboist, conductor, and composer Heinz Holliger has provided him with pivotal impulses for his musical work.
In 1994, Renggli assumed responsibility for the flute class taught, up to then, by Peter-Lukas Graf at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel. He also held a professorship at Freiburg University of Music from 2004 to 2014, and he has been teaching at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano since the autumn of 2015.
Renggli’s musical activities range from the contemporary music realm (including numerous world premières with the Swiss Chamber Soloists and Ensemble Contrechamps) to classical chamber music and solo repertoire and the performance of early music on original instruments. His CD productions (with ensembles and artists including the Swiss Chamber Soloists, Heinz Holliger, Camerata Bern, the Arditti Quartet, Jan Schultsz, and Nova Stravaganza (Cologne) have appeared on the ECM, Artist Consort/GENUIN, Philips, Montaigne, Accord, Discover, and Stradivarius labels. And in 1999, he joined forces with cellist Daniel Haefliger and violist Jürg Dähler to found and share artistic direction of the first all-Swiss chamber music series “Swiss Chamber Concerts”.
Already early in his career he was to take most prominent concert halls and festivals by storm: Musikverein Wien, Suntory Hall/Tokyo, Wigmore Hall/London, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Berlin Philharmonie, Bozar/Brussels, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, the international piano festivals “La Roque d’Antheron“ and Ruhr, Kissinger Sommer, Schubertiade, styriarte, Bregenz Festival, Stars of White Nights Festival St. Petersburg.
He has worked with such renowned orchestras as the Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London, Tokyo Symphony, Mariinsky Orchestra St. Petersburg, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, English Chamber Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Michael Gielen, Sir Charles Mackerras, John Axelrod, James Judd, Paul Goodwin, Fabio Luisi and Philippe Jordan, among others.
He received the German Record Critics’ Award for his debut CD of Schubert Sonatas. All his other strongly acclaimed recordings, including works by Haydn, Beethoven, Ravel, Mussorgsky and “THE MOZART SESSIONS” with the uplifting US chamber orchestra A FAR CRY, have won several international prizes.
In addition to his work as a very successful Professor of Piano at the University of Music and Performing Arts in his hometown Graz – many of his students are acclaimed prize-winners – Markus Schirmer regularly gives international masterclasses for piano and is a sought-after adjudicator at several prestigious piano competitions.
Furthermore, Markus Schirmer is the artistic director of the international music festival ARSONORE at the Hall of Planets in Eggenberg Castle (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage) in Graz (Austria).
First violinist and founding member of the Artis Quartet of Vienna.
Having recorded more than 40 CDs he received international awards including Echo Klassik, Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’ Or, Prix Caecilia, Indie Award, Wiener Flötenuhr and Midem Classical Award. Lully Award for the best chamber music performance of the season in NYC.
Chamber music partner of artists like Mischa Maisky, Nabuko Imai, Peter Frankl, Boris Berman, Christoph Eschenbach, Ralf Gothoni, Richard Stoltzman, Michel Lethiec, Sharon Kam, Frans Helmerson, Till Fellner, Stefan Vladar and Sol Gabetta.
1980-85 member of the Vienna String Soloists and guest performer with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under conductors like K. Böhm, H. v.Karajan, C. Kleiber, C.Abbado, R.Muti, G.Solti, L.Maazel and D.Barenboim.
In 1996 he joined the faculty of the mdw in Vienna teaching chamber music and violin. 1993-98 guest professor for chamber music at the University of Music Graz. Frequent guest teacher at the Royal College of Music London, Eastman, Yale, Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, Central Conservatory Beijing, SNU Seoul, Sibelius Academy, ISA, ECMA and MISQA Montreal. His students are members of many international orchestras and prizewinners at Competitions like Tchaikovsky, Fritz Kreisler and New York Concert Artist.
He studied at the University of Music in Vienna with H. Binder, J.Suk, H. Beyerle, privately with A. Staar and at the CCOM Cincinnati with W.Levin and the LaSalle Quartet. 2019 given the title Professor by the Austrian President.
Member of the Artistic Advisory Board of the Gottfried- von- Einem Foundation.
VIENNA/ TEL AVIV
VIENNA/ TEL AVIV
From the age of nine, she was accepted as a child prodigy in the “Stoliarsky School for gifted children”. During her early years in Odessa, she played for Isaac Stern and Ivry Gitlis and regularly performed as soloist with orchestra.
She pursued her studies at the Moscow State Conservatory, where she graduated under the guidance of Yuri Yankelevich and studied string quartet with Valentin Berlinsky (Borodin Quartet).
She won first prize at the Carl Flesch Competition in London, ARD Violin Competition Munich, Romano Romanini Brescia, and was prize winner at Paganini Competition and ARD Duo Competition.
As a soloist, Dora Schwarzberg has performed with many renowned orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic and under such conductors as Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Alexander Vedernikov, Adam Fischer, in Concert Halls such as Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall NY, Musikverein Hall and Konzerthaus Vienna, Royal Albert Hall and Queen Elisabeth Hall London, Salle Pleyel Paris, Herculessaal Munich, Mann Auditorium Tel Aviv, Benyaney Hall Jerusalem, among others.
Her chamber music partners along her career have included, among others, Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Yuri Bashmet, Valentin Berlinsky, Nobuko Imai, David Geringas, Alexander Rabinovich, Paul Badura-Skoda, etc., with whom she has performed in Festivals such as Salzburger Festpiele, Martha Argerich Festival Lugano, Aspen Music Festival and Pablo Casals Festival Puerto Rico.
She began teaching at the Mannes School of Music in New York and from 1989 at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where she is currently Professor Emeritus. She is regularly invited as a juror at international competitions. Since 2018 she is Professor at the Buchmann Mehta School of Music.
Her students are prize winners of numerous international competitions, and most of them are concertmasters of some of the famous orchestras in the world.
Tel Aviv/ New York
Tel Aviv/ New York
Displaying a dazzling combination of technical brilliance and a uniquely profound musical personality, Hagai Shaham is internationally recognized as one of the astonishing violinists who have emerged from Israel. Hagai Shaham began studying the violin at age of six and was the last student of the late renowned Professor Ilona Fehér. He also studied with Elisha Kagan, Emanuel Borok, Arnold Steinhardt and the Guarneri Quartet.
First prize winner of ARD Munich Competition in 1990, Ilona Kornhouser competition, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority Young Artist competition, the Tel-Aviv Rubin Academy competition, Clairmont Awards, and an annual scholarship from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation.
As a soloist he has performed with many of the world’s major orchestras, including the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, RPO, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, RTE Ireland, Belgian National, Taipei, Singapore and Shanghai Symphonies, SWF Symphony Orchestra, Czech Radio and philharmonic, Slovak Philharmonic, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. In 1985 he was invited to join Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman in a gala concert at Carnegie Hall, following which Zubin Mehta invited him to perform Brahms’ Double Concerto at Carnegie Hall.
In 2006 he performed once again this work under Mehta, at the Israel Philharmonic 70th anniversary’s celebrations with cellist Mischa Maisky.
Hagai Shaham is in great demand as a recitalist. He regularly tours throughout Europe, North and Central America and performs at international recital series and festivals.
Hagai Shaham recorded for Hyperion, Decca International, Chandos, Biddulph, Naxos, Champs Hill and AVIE. He records regularly for Nimbus, where his CDs received critical acclaim.
Hagai Shaham is a member of the Shaham-Erez- Wallfisch trio. The trio performs on major stages including London’s Wigmore and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. They recorded several albums for Nimbus Records, including the complete Beethoven trios.
Hagai Shaham is professor at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University and an Artist in Residence at Stony Brook University, New York.
Together with his colleague, violinist Ittai Shapira, he is co-founder of The Ilona Feher Foundation.
Armenian-born Marianna Shirinyan is one of the most creative and sought-after pianists in Europe today. Her vibrant and virtuos musicianship puts her in demand, both as soloist and as chamber musician. Shirinyan plays with great sensitivity, understanding, technical brilliance and beauty of tone, which allows her to offer a wide range of repertoire. Her love for the music and her joy in sharing it with a larger audience are apparent in her performances.
She has received the Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s prestigious P2 award for her contribution to Danish music life and the critics prize of the association of Danish critics. She is a frequent guest at a string of international music festivals, among them the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Bodensee Festival, the Schwetzinger Festspiele, MDR Summer Music Festival, Festspillene in Bergen.
Simultaneously she has won the reputation of being one of this generations leading pianists through solo appearances with orchestras as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Oslo, Helsinki and Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestras, Munich Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Kammerakademie Potsdam, Göteborg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice to name a few. She enjoyed collaborations with conductors such as Michael Balke, Lawrence Foster, Zoltan Kocsis, Antonello Manacorda, Jun Märkl, Eva Ollikainen, Daniel Raiskin, Lan Shui, Thomas Søndergård, Marc Soustrot, Krysztof Urbanski and Joshua Weilerstein.
Shirinyan is a professor of piano at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, a Steinway artist and artistic director of the Oremandsgaard Chamber Music Festival in Denmark. From the summer 2020 also co-artistic director of the Valdres Sommersymfoni in Norway.
Shirinyan has a bright discography. All the CD’s have been received enthusiastically by international reviewers and listeners alike. Her latest release Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra by Louis Glass, which she has recorded together with the Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz under the baton of maestro Daniel Raiskin, has been awarded the P2 prize of the Danish radio in 2018.
Swedish cellist Torleif Thedéen is one of the most distinguished instrumentalists in the Nordic countries and enjoys an international profile as a recitalist, concerto soloist, recording artist and pedagogue. He is a first prize winner of international cello competitions, including the Casals Competition. He is Visiting Professor of cello at the Royal College of Music in London and Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.
In a career spanning four decades, Torleif has performed with some of the world’s greatest orchestras, among them the Czech Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, The Hallé Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic, City of Birmingham SO,Dresden philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic and BBC Philharmonic.
He has worked with conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Paavo Berglund, Kirill Petrenko, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Franz Welser-Möst, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Osmo Vänskä, Mario Venzago and Leif Segerstam. He continues to perform with all the major Nordic orchestras and enjoys a burgeoning relationship with orchestras and festivals in the Antipodes.
As a chamber musician, Torleif is familiar with the prestigious stages of the Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York, Philharmonie in Berlin and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He has appeared at the Prague Spring and the Verbier Festivals, and at the chamber music festivals in Schleswig-Holstein, Bordeaux, Oslo, Bath, Stavanger, Kuhmo and beyond. His collaborators have included Janine Jansen, Julian Rachlin, Itamar Golan, Maxim Rysanov, Leif Ove Andsnes, Marc-André Hamelin, Lars Anders Tomter, Henning Kraggerud,
Roland Pöntinen and Martin Fröst.
Torleif’s recordings have attracted numerous accolades. He was awarded the Edison Prize in 2018 for his recording of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time with Martin Fröst, Lucas Debargue and Janine Jansen on the Sony label. His recording of the Shostakovich Cello Concertos won a Cannes Classical Award and his account of the Bach Cello Suites was selected as a ‘Choice of the month’ by BBC Music Magazine. His discography also includes the concertos of Dvořák, Elgar, Saint-Saens, Lalo,Kabalevsky,Lutoslawski and a wealth of contemporary music. He plays the 1783 Guadagnini cello on loan from the Norwegian Dextra foundation, previously owned by M. Rostropovich.
Dmitri Torchinsky was surrounded by music from a very early age. His father was the leader of the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre orchestra and his mother was a flute teacher. He started to play the violin at the age of 5 under careful guidance of the best teachers, curators of the Russian violin tradition.
At the age of 14 Torchinsky left Moscow and attended the Purcell School of Music and the Royal College of Music in London, as well as the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. Having won several violin competitions, he enjoyed a busy international career as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, before joining the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, and the faculty of the Qatar Music Academy.
Dmitri is a member of the Doha String Quartet which is a flexible music ensemble that is highly in demand in Qatar and further afield. As well as performing, Dmitri is much in demand as a successful teacher. His students have won numerous prizes all over the world. In what little free time he has left, he is busy with his three children.
Born in New York, soprano Claudia Visca graduated from the acclaimed Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she studied with Anna Moffo’s teacher, Eufemia Giannini and Wagnerian soprano, Margret Harshaw. A Fulbright Scholarship took her to the Hochschule fur Musik Wien where she finished her education under the guidance of Ks. Hilde Rossel-Majdan and Anton Dermota.
Claudia Visca has worked with renowned conductors, stage directors, and artists, including Eugene Ormandy, Gustav Kuhn, Istvan Kertesz, Miguel Gomez-Matinez, Sandor Vegh, Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos, Pina Bausch, Christine Mielitz, Marcel Prawy, Bruno Canino, Rudolf Serkin, members of the Guarneri Quartet, Edith Mathis, Agnes Baltsa and Placido Domingo. A highlight of Claudia Visca’s career was to sing Maria in West Side Story conducted by the composer, Leonard Bernstein.
During her long stage career, Claudia Visca guested in more than 25 opera houses in Europe, among them those in Amsterdam, Berlin, Cologne, Geneva, Vienna, and Zürich. In over 2,000 performances, she appeared in more than 75 roles in operas, operettas, and musicals as well as in concerts
From 1998 to 2003, Claudia Visca was voice professor at the Hochschule fur Musik Cologne. In 2003, she became a professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
Claudia Visca has given international masterclasses in vocal technique and interpretation in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland and the United States.
Her students are winners of international competitions and are engaged in major opera houses and concert halls as soloists all over the world, including: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Bologna, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Glyndebourne, Hamburg, Lissabon, London (Convent Garden), Madrid, Milan (La Scala), Moscow, Munich, New York (The Metropolitan), Paris, Peking, St. Petersberg, Prague (National Theater), Rome, Seoul, Tokyo, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb.
Vida Vujic studied cello with Rudolf Leopold at the KUG – University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz and chamber music with Johannes Meissl at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
She is a multiple winner of first and second prizes at international competitions in Serbia, Italy and Austria. She has received several awards (including the Austrian Ministry of Culture’s Appreciation Prize in 2003 and the Stanojlo Rajcic Prize for the best concert in 2006/07 in the SANU Gallery – Academy of Sciences and Arts in Belgrade, Serbia).
As a soloist and chamber musician, she has played numerous concerts in various chamber music ensembles in Europe and South America (e. g. at the “Strings only” festival in Zadar, Croatia, the International Cello Festival in Belgrade, Serbia, the “Styriarte” in Graz; in the halls of the Wiener Konzerthaus and Musikverein Wien, the Graz Liszt Hall, and in the Salle Pleyel in Paris). In addition, she participated in radio and television recordings for RTS (Radio Televizija Srbije) and ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation).
Vida Vujic has been Johannes Meissl’s assistant since 2014 and has also been a senior lecturer at the Joseph Haydn Institute for Chamber Music and Contemporary Music at the mdw since 2021.
She held master classes at the isa – International Summer Academy of the mdw, ECMA (European Chamber Music Academy), Conservatorio Superior de Musica Oscar Espla -Alicante, Faculty of Music – University of Arts in Belgrade, The Krzysztof Penderecki Academy of Music in Krakow, Croatian Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek and Academy of Arts in Split.
The Swedish violinist Ulf Wallin studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm with Sven Karpe and at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna with Wolfgang Schneiderhan.
Concert tours have taken him to Asia, Europe and the United States. He has worked with such eminent conductors as Jesús Lopéz Cobos, Manfred Honeck, Paavo Järvi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Franz Welser-Möst. Always in great demand as a chamber player, Ulf Wallin has worked with artists like Bruno Canino, Barbara Hendricks, Heinz Holliger, Roland Pöntinen, and András Schiff.
Ulf Wallin has appeared at numerous major festivals including the Lucerne and Berlin music festivals, Marlboro Music Festival, among others. He has performed in the world’s leading venues, including the Berlin Philharmonie, La Scala di Milano, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Paris, London’s Wigmore Hall and the Musikverein in Vienna.
Ulf Wallin’s dedication to contemporary music is highlighted by his close contacts with several distinguished composers such as Anders Eliasson, Alfred Schnittke and Rodion Shchedrin.
He has made numerous radio, and television appearances and more than 50 CD recordings (BIS, cop, EMI and BMG) have gained much acclaim and attention from the international media.
Ulf Wallin is professor of violin at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin and professor at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. He has served on juries for major international competitions including the ARD Competition in Munich and the Fritz Kreisler Violin Competition in Vienna.
In 2013, he was awarded the Robert-Schumann-Prize of the city of Zwickau and was elected in 2014 into the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
Christian Wetzel is professor for oboe at the Cologne University of Music. Outside of teaching and performing internationally as soloist, he is a devoted chamber music player, performing at various renowned festivals around the world. As oboist and founding member of the internationally acclaimed Ma’alot Wind Quintet he has won First Prize at numerous international competitions, including the ARD Munich Competition. With a concert career spanning over 30 years, the Quintet has recorded a range of award-winning CDs.
In 1997, after nine years as solo oboist with the National Theatre Orchestra of Mannheim, he obtained his first professorship at the University of Music and Theatre Leipzig and has since been a dedicated and successful supporter of young international oboists. In 2008, he was appointed to the faculty of the Cologne University of Music.
Many of his students have gone on to prominent positions in renowned orchestras all over the world.
Christian Wetzel teaches at numerous international masterclasses worldwide and is a visiting lecturer at such renowned music schools as the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Julliard School in New York, the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. He holds an oboe class at the Higher School of Music of the Basque Country, “Musikene”, in San Sebastian (Spain).
Numerous recordings and premieres as well as a close collaboration with acclaimed contemporary composers also show his dedication to “New Music”.