Chairman of the jury 2023
Søren Rastogi is one of the most versatile Danish concert pianists. As a soloist, he has performed with the vast majority of symphony orchestras in Denmark under conductors such as Christian Mandeál, Douglas Bostock, Christian Kluxen, Benjamin Shwartz, Mathias Aeschbacher, Ed Spanjaard, Jayce Ogren, Peter Feranec, Ilan Volkov and Thomas Søndergaard in piano concertos by Mozart (K .466, K. 491, K. 451, K. 488), Schumann, Stravinsky, Bernstein, Bartok and Gershwin. In May 2023, a CD will be released on Dacapo Records with SR as soloist in the first recording of Paul von Klenau's piano concerto with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and conductor Hans Graf.
He has on many occasions received excellent reviews for his performances. After his debut with The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in the Piano Concerto by Stravinsky in 2010, the Danish newspaper “Information” wrote: “Søren Rastogi made his debut as a soloist with the Radio Orchestra with a perfectly balanced stage presence, which managed to combine both pianistic artistry, musical overview, sense of melodic lines, rhythmic skill, and a constant nerve with a rare lack of vanity”.
Besides his career as a soloist, he has a close collaboration with leading Scandinavian singers, including barytone Johannes Weisser, with whom he has released the CD “Visiting Grieg”. “Meisterlich “, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote, and it was appointed “CD of the Month” by the British magazine Classic FM. He is also a member of Jalina Trio, the internationally acclaimed piano trio, as well as Trio Misto with Mathias Kjøller, clarinet and Asbjørn Nørgaard, viola. He often performs as duo partner with renowned instrumentalists and has played recitals with Vilde Frang, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Sergei Dogadin, Benjamin Schmid amongst many others and he has a close collaboration with the Danish National Vocal Ensemble as pianist and musical instructor.
He has been involved in initiating several projects of high artistic quality. Examples include Copenhagen Mozart Players, with whom he performed Piano concertos by Mozart, both as a soloist and conductor as well as the multi-aesthetic performance “Clara” with text compiled by Karl Aage Rasmussen and co-performers actor Katrin Weisser and Jalina Trio. In 2006, he was appointed “Artist in Residence” by The Round Tower of Copenhagen and the Danish National Radio. Included was a broadcasted concert series with five concerts as a soloist, chamber musician and accompagnist. His concerts have numerous times been broadcasted in the EBU.
He was educated in Copenhagen at The Royal Danish Academy of Music by Tove Lønskov and Niklas Sivelöv as well as in Berlin at Hochschule der Künste by Pascal Devoyon. He graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Music with the highest grades and had his debut from the soloist class the same place in 2005.
He has received numerous prizes and awards, for instance from the Danish Music Critics Association, and was a prizewinner at several competitions such as the 5th Nordic Piano Competition in Nyborg and the Mendelssohn Competition in Berlin.
He was among the recipients of a grant for Artistic Research from The Danish Ministry of Culture in 2013 for the project FormingPerforming, where he monitored and reflected on the process of learning the previously not performed piano concerto by Paul van Klenau. As a part of this project, he has published an e-book as well as several articles. A selection of videos with examples of his practice processes with commentaries can be found on YouTube.
Søren Rastogi is chairman of the jury of Aarhus International Piano Competition and he holds positions as associate professor at The Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus and as assistant professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen
Member of the jury 2023
Pianist Zlata Chochieva first came to international attention with her highly praised recordings of works by Chopin and Rachmaninoff, establishing her as a distinctive voice among pianists with a deep affinity with these composers. Hailed by Gramophone as “the possessor of a comprehensive technique who brings an inner glow to every bar”, Zlata Chochieva has been regularly appearing at many prestigious concert halls, most notably at Herkulessaal (Munich), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Philharmonie de Paris, Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Victoria Hall (Geneve), Sala Verdi (Milan), Tivoli Concert Hall (Copenhagen), Casa de Música (Porto), Belem Cultural Center (Lisbon), Tchaikovsky Concert Hall (Moscow), Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and Grand Hall of Saint Petersburg Philharmonia.
She has performed with numerous major orchestras, including the Russian National Orchestra, the National Philharmonic of Russia, the Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra. Conductors Zlata has enjoyed working with include Mikhail Pletnev, Simon Gaudenz, Terje Mikkelsen, Charles Oliveri-Munroe, Tugan Sokhiev and Vladimir Spiakov.
Over the years Zlata has acquired many international competition prizes, including Szymanovski International Competition (Poland), Tivoli Piano Competition (Denmark), Mozart Prize at ARD Competition (Germany), First prizes at Frechilla-Zuloaga Competition (Spain) and Alberto Fano Piano Competition (Italy) and silver medal at the First International Piano Competition of Santa Catarina (Brazil), where she was also declared best performer of Chopin and Audience Favorite. She has been regularly invited to leading music festivals, including the Miami International Piano Festival, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the “Rarities of Piano Music” in Husum, the Lugano Festival “Il Progetto Martha Argerich” and the Lucerne Festival.
Her Chopin Complete Etudes disc for Piano Classics was selected as an Editor´s choice on Gramophone, and included in the Gramophone´s list of the 10 greatest Chopin recordings: “It is certainly one of the most consistently inspired, masterfully executed and beautiful sounding versions I can retail” (Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone). Her 2015 CD of the complete Etudes-Tableaux of Rachmaninoff has likewise earned critical raves and been nominated for the German Record Critics´ Award.
Zlata was born in Moscow and is now a resident of Salzburg. She first appeared on stage at age 5 and made her debut with orchestra two years later performing Mozart´s Concerto KV. 453 at the Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory. Her teachers have included Mikhail Pletnev at the Central Special Music School and Pavel Nersessian at the Moscow State Conservatory. Subsequently, Zlata completed two years of postgraduate studies under Professor Jaques Rouvier at the Mozarteum in Salzburg where she was appointed his assistant in 2013.
Together with Misha Dacic, Zlata established the International Festival at Rachmaninoff´s estate Ivanovka and has been Co-director since 2018.
Member of the jury 2023
Tuija Hakkila studied at the Sibelius Academy with Liisa Pohjola and Eero Heinonen, and continued her studies at the Paris Conservatoire with Jacques Rouvier and Theodor Paraskivesco. She studied 20th century music with Claude Helffer in Paris and classical performance practices with Malcolm Bilson in the United States. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University in New York in 1985/86. Since 1987 she holds a senior position in piano music at the Sibelius Academy and earned a Doctor of Music degree in 2005. She also taught in the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen from 2005 through 2008. She regularly gives masterclasses in Finland and in Europe.
She has been the Artistic Director of the Early Music Festival in Hämeenlinna, the Summer Academy and Chamber Music Series in Nurmes, Kaiho Festival at Sello Hall in Espoo and the Sibelius Academy Concert Series. Hakkila has performed as soloist, in chamber groups and as accompanist throughout Europe, in the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Africa and South America, and has made broadcasts in several countries. Her repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary music; She has developed her interest in period instrument performance, presenting classical and romantic programmes on period pianos. She works with a number of today's composers and is invited to give world premiere performances. Tuija Hakkila's solo discography includes the complete cycle of Mozart keyboard sonatas for which she has won acclaim in the world press, a recital of 20th century piano music and a world premiere recording of the early 19th century Finnish Lithander brothers' music. Her recent CD “Intimate Landscapes” with Sibelius’ piano works received excellent reviews both in Finland and abroad.
Member of the jury 2023
Caroline Hong is internationally active as a teacher, concert performer, masterclass instructor, and competition adjudicator. She is Professor at The Ohio State University School of Music, where she also heads the Piano Area. She studied at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. For her graduate degrees, Hong attended the Juilliard School and Indiana University, where she also served as an Associate Instructor. She counts among her mentors Jerome Lowenthal, who taught her at the Music Academy of the West; and Sergei Babayan, with whom she first worked at the Babayan International Piano Academy. She has served as a visiting faculty member for the Amalfi Coast Music Festival, Vianden International Festival and School (Luxembourg), Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Piano Academy, and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Hong holds special interest in contemporary piano music, and in the legacy of Franz Liszt. After one of her performances of John Corigliano’s challenging Etude Fantasy, the Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winning composer praised her as “one of the greatest pianists I have ever heard.” She recorded that work for the Fleur de Son label, and then went on to set down three piano sonatas by the Australian composer-pianist Carl Vine. Hong views György Ligeti’s Etudes as that composer’s answer to Liszt’s milestone studies. And shortly after she began preparing the Ligeti Etudes, she co-founded the Ohio Chapter of the the American Liszt Society. Hong then went on to join the national Liszt Society’s board of directors, and became Executive Director of the Franz Liszt International Piano Festival and Competition.
With travel severely restricted during the pandemic, Hong renewed her close relationship with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and its director Maestro Rossen Milanov. The CSO produced several live broadcasts during the lockdown, one of them presenting her work with the concertmaster in a duo program of Gershwin and Ravel; and another featuring her collaboration with the orchestra in Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. The Prokofiev was widely hailed as one of the highlights of the local concert season.
Member of the jury 2023
Gabriel Kwok is Professor of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and has been Head of Keyboard Studies since 1989. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Guy Jonson and later with Louis Kentner in London. A Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London, he is Visiting Professor at the Shenzhen Arts School, Xian Conservatory of Music, Xinghai Conservatory of Music, Wuhan Conservatory of Music and China Conservatory of Music in China.
Gabriel Kwok has given masterclasses internationally and served on the faculty of many institutions, summer schools and festivals. He has been a jury member on many international competitions including the Rome, Vianna da Motta, Gina Bachauer, Hong Kong, China, Hilton Head, Minnesota Piano-e, Darmstadt Chopin, Rio de Janerio BNDES, James Mottram, China Shenzhen Piano Concerto, Geneva, Bayreuth-Weimar Liszt and Schubert International Piano Competitions. He has collaborated with many distinguished artists in concerts, among whom were Pierre Amoyal, Alexander Ballie, Eugene Fodor, Lu Siqing, Albert Markov, Yuri Mazurkevich, Clarence Myerscough, Roberta Peters, Qian Zhou, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Jenny Ren, Aaron Rosand, Nathaniel Rosen, Rohan de Saram, Hansjoerg Schellenberger, Denis Shapovalov, Jeffrey Solow, Leon Spierer, Richard Stolzman, Wang Jian and Xue Wei.
Gabriel Kwok is a Steinway Artist and Steinway Honorary Professor. He was the Music Director of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts /Radio Television Hong Kong ‘Beethoven 32 Piano Sonatas’ project. In 2014, he was awarded Medal of Honour from the Hong Kong Government for his contribution to piano education in Hong Kong.
Member of the jury 2023
Regarded as one of the foremost pianists of our time, Anne Queffélec enjoys international fame and exceptional standing on today’s musical scene.
Widely acclaimed in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, U.S.A, she is invited with the most prestigious orchestras-including London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Zürich Tonhalle, Tokyo NHK, Radio-France Orchestras, Prague Philharmonia, Sinfonia Varsovia, Kremerata Baltica under conductors such as Boulez, Gardiner, Jordan, Zinman, Eschenbach, Conlon, Belohlavek, Skrowacewski, Zecchi, Foster, Holliger, Janowski.
She played frequently in famous festivals, London Proms, Cheltenham, Radio-France, Nantes and Tokyo Folle Journée, Grange de Meslay, La Chaise-Dieu, La Roque d’Anthéron, Rocamadour, Biarritz, Bordeaux. She took part in the soundtrack recording of Amadeus, Milos Formans’ movie, under the baton of N.Marriner.
Her eclectic repertoire is reflected both in concert and on her very varied discography: more than forty records from Scarlatti to Dutilleux, highly received by musical press. Recording at present exclusively for Mirare, meanwhile in January 2019 Warner-Erato released a 21-CDs box, containing Anne Queffélec’s complete recordings for this label, between 1970 and 1996.
Member of the jury 2023
No matter where he tours he receives audience acclaim for his charismatic musicianship and his ability to tell vivid stories with the instrument. Soon he took prestigious concert halls and festivals by storm: Musikverein/Vienna, Suntory Hall/Tokyo, Wigmore Hall/London, Gewandhaus/Leipzig, Philharmonie/Berlin, Lucerne, La Roque d´Antheron, Kissingen, Ruhr, Stars of White Nights Festival St.Petersburg and many more.
He has worked with renowned orchestras: Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic London, Tokyo Symphony, Mariinsky Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Valery Gergiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Michael Gielen, Sir Charles Mackerras, Marie Jacquot, Fabio Luisi and Philippe Jordan a.o.
His love affair with the unusual, his daring and eagerness to explore new territories ensure the development of sensational events outside the traditional classical repertoire:
Scurdia is an improvisation project which brings together extraordinary musicians from all over the world.
For his exceptional artistic diversity Markus Schirmer was awarded one of Austria’s most prestigious awards, the Karl Böhm Interpretation Prize.
In the upcoming season he will be performing in the US, Germany, Switzerland, China, UK and Austria.
In addition to his artistic direction of the international music festival ARSONORE Markus Schirmer foremost is a very successful Professor of Piano at Kunstuniversität Graz (KUG) - many of his students are acclaimed prizewinners – he regularly gives international piano masterclasses and is a sought after adjudicator at several prestigious piano competitions.
www.markusschirmer.at / www.arsonore.at
Member of the pre-selection jury 2023
Christopher Elton was born in Edinburgh and received most of his musical education at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He was a prizewinner in several British and international piano competitions, playing and broadcasting regularly both as a soloist and in chamber music. His international recognition has come as a result of the many successes of his students at the Royal Academy of Music. Many have won international awards, including first prizes in the Van Cliburn and London “World” Int. Piano Competitions as well as in Jaen, Newport, Dudley and New Orleans. Further recent successes have come in the finals of three recent Leeds Int. Piano Competitions as well as in the Leipzig Bach, Tchaikovsky, Dublin, Shanghai, and Taiwan Competitions as well as previous major awards in the international competitions in Santander, Geneva (CIEM), Munich (ARD), Geza Anda, Pozzoli, Mazaro del Vallo, Porto, Madrid, Ettlingen and the Stravinsky Awards in the USA. Many of his students are now recording artists. While his priority is to his work at the Royal Academy, London, Christopher Elton has also been much in demand overseas both as a teacher and as a jury member for international competitions. Christopher Elton was Head of Keyboard at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he was elected a Fellow in 1983. In 2002 the title of Professor of the University of London was conferred on him. He now holds the title of Emeritus Professor of Piano, and he undertook a full semester as a visiting professor on the piano faculty of the Yale School of Music in 2018.
Member of the pre-selection jury 2023
Teppo Koivisto (b. 1961) is one of the most eminent Finnish pianists of his generation. After his studying years at the Sibelius Academy with Jussi Siirala, he continued his studies with Menaham Pressler in USA and with Bernard Ringeissen in France. Koivisto has appeared as soloist and chamber musician in Europe and in USA. During his student years he was in national and Scandinavian competitions including shared second prize (with Olli Mustonen) for The Maj Lind Piano Competition 1982 and the second prize in Nordic Piano Competition in Oslo. He has performed concertos with many renowed conductors as Jukka-Pekka Saraste, John Storgårds, Avo Volmer, and Roy Goodman among others.
As an advocate of Charles-Valentin Alkan´s piano music, he has performed the 12 Etudes in Full Minor Keys, op. 39 by the composer in a live radio concert which was recorded by Finnish broadcasting company, YLE in 2007. In addition, he was cordially invited to conduct a piano seminar about Alkan´s piano music in New England Conservatory, Boston, USA in 2013. Currently, Koivisto works as Head of Junior Studies and as Piano Lecturer at The Sibelius Academy and holds a Guest Professor´s position at Line Art Center, Zhengzhou, China. During the years 2015-2017 he worked as a piano professor at Hochschule für Musik, Theather und Medien in Hannover, Germany. He has given numerous master classes in Finland and abroad and many of his longtime students have won international competitions with succesful performance careers. Teppo has served as a jury member in piano competitions in Estonia, Finland, Germany, and Israel.
Member of the pre-selection jury 2023
Tove Lønskov graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus where she studied under Alma Jørgensen and Georg Vaserhelyi. Subsequently, she studied in Paris with Magda Tagliaferro and Vlado Perlemuter, in Rome with Guido Agosti, and with the legendary pianist Wilhelm Kempff.
For many years Tove Lønskov was associate professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and at The North Jutland Academy of Music in Aalborg. She has an extensive concert career as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist in Denmark and abroad. She has been a soloist with most Danish orchestras and she has worked with conductors such as Uri Segal, Thomas Bricetti, Jorma Panula, Zdenek Macal, and Avi Ostrowsky, besides many Danish conductors. Together with pianist Rudolfo Llambias, Tove Lønskov is part of a highly esteemed and prize-winning piano duo. The duo has played concerts all over the world and it has recorded numerous CD´s, for instance the complete works of Schubert and Debussy.
As a chamber musician Tove Lønskov has performed with international renowed soloists such as the flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, and the Russian violinist Leonid Kogan, and for many years she has been a duo partner with the Hungarian flutist András Adorján, with whom she has recorded two CD´s. In addition Tove Lønskov has worked with many excellent singers. As a result she has recorded an uncountable number of CD´s with the songs of Schubert, Schumann, Richard Strauss, Grieg, Schoenberg, Delius, Børresen, Carl Nielsen, Schierbeck, Gade, Heise, Weyse, Lange-Müller, and Otto Mortensen, among others.
On two highly acclaimed CD´s Tove Lønskov has recorded solo piano repertoire by the three Danish composers Poul Schierbeck, Rued Langgaard, and Otto Mortensen.
Regularly, Tove Lønskov conducts master classes in Denmark and abroad, and she has taught many of the most succesful young Danish pianists. As a result of her important contribution to Danish music life, the Queen of Denmark has made her Knight of The Order of the Dannebrog.