Members of the jury 2019




Søren Rastogi 



Søren Rastogi has in few years gained reputation as one of Denmark's most interesting pianists. He is most sought after at festivals and venues in Denmark and internationally. As a soloist, he has performed with conductors such as Christian Mandeál, Douglas Bostock, Mathias Aeschbacher, Peter Feranec and Thomas Søndergaard in piano concertos by Mozart, Schumann, Stravinsky, Bernstein and Gershwin. Søren has, beside his career as a soloist, a close collaboration with leading Scandinavian singers, including barytone Johannes Weisser, with whom he has recently released the CD “Visiting Grieg”. He is also a member of Jalina Trio, the internationally acclaimed piano trio. He often performs as partner with renowned instrumentalists, such as Narek Hakhnazaryan and Sergei Dogadin and has a close collaboration with the Danish National Vocal Ensemble. His recording of the piano concerto by S. E. Tarp together with Aarhus Symphony Orchestra is being released in 2017. Søren was educated in Copenhagen and Berlin by Tove Lønskov, Niklas Sivelöv and Pascal Devoyon. After his debut 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. He has received numerous prizes and awards and was a prizewinner at several competitions such as the 5th Nordic Piano Competition, Nyborg and the Mendelssohn Competition, Berlin. He is currently working as assistant professor and head of studies at the Royal Danish College of Music, Copenhagen as well as teaching at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Aarhus.

Idil Biret



Idil Biret manifested an outstanding gift at the age of three. After taking her first lessons in Turkey she went to France at the age of eight and was trained at the Paris Conservatory under the tutelage of Nadia Boulanger graduating with three first prizes at the age of fifteen. She later studied with Alfred Cortot and was a lifelong disciple of Wilhelm Kempff. From the age of sixteen Idil Biret gave concerts throughout the world with major orchestras like the Boston Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Warsaw Philharmonic, London Symphony, Leningrad Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Paris, Orchestre Suisse Romande under eminent conductors including Eric Leinsdorf, Pierre Monteux, Rudolph Kempe, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Sir Charles Mackerras. She has participated at many festivals, adjudicated at major piano competitions including the Van Cliburn, Reine Elisabeth de Belgique, Busoni in Italy, Bayerische Rundfunk in Germany, Sviatoslav Richter in Russia and received many awards and decorations in France, Italy, Poland, Turkey, England and USA. Idil Biret has made over one hundred LP/CDs including Beethoven’s 32 Sonatas, and nine Symphonies’ piano transcriptions by Liszt, the complete solo piano works and c oncertos of Brahms, Chopin and Rachmaninov as well as the three Piano Sonatas of Boulez, the Etudes of Ligeti and all the five piano concertos of Hindemith. These recordings have won many awards and sold nearly three million copies worldwide. All of these have just been released in a box set of 130 CDs, being distributed by Naxos worldwide.

Akiko Ebi



Akiko Ebi launched her international career as the winner of the Grand Prix in the International Long/Thibaud Competition in Paris with 4 special prizes given by A. Rubinstein and as a finalist in the International Fryderyk Chopin Competition in Warsaw earning the recognition of Martha Argerich. She continued her training at the Paris Conservatoire with A.Ciccolini, V. Perlemuter and C. Hansen among others. She has performed throughout the world with outstanding orchestras and conductors. As a chamber musician she has given two-piano recitals with Martha Argerich and performed with among others Ivry Gitlis, Augustin Dumay, Angela Hewitt, Michel Dalberto, the Parisii and Manfred quartets. She appears regularly at festivals in La Roque d’Anthéron, Menton, Echternach, Nantes, Lugano, Lisbon, New York, Tokyo and Warsaw. Her discography includes Chopin’s complete etudes, preludes, nocturnes and impromptus and his concerto No.1, but also works by Fauré, Franck, Grieg, Ravel, Webern and Dynam-Victor Fumet among others. Twice she was awarded Grand Prix d’Or for her recording of the works by Hikari Ōe. 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 Exxon Mobile Music Prize. She is often invited to give master classes in many countries around the world. She is also often invited as a jury member at international competitions such as Chopin in Warsaw and was the president of the jury at Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2012 & 2015.

Caroline Hong



Hailed for her “expressive and powerful playing,” “formidable technique,” and “keen sense of lyricism and the classical style,” Caroline Hong continues to flourish as an internationally active soloist, recording artist, teacher, lecturer, and adjudicator.  Pulitzer Prize and Academy award-winning composer John Corigliano referred to her as “one of the greatest pianists I have ever heard” after a performance of his Etude Fantasy.  Critics wrote that it was “breathtaking” and “hard to imagine a better performance.” Favorably reviewed by the American Record Guide, she has recorded for Fleur de Son and Mark Records, establishing herself as a specialist in piano music of the 20th and 21st centuries. 
  Dr. Hong received her training from the Juilliard School in New York (MM), the Peabody Conservatory (BM), and Indiana University (DM).  She was visiting Artist-Faculty at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, served as faculty for the Vianden International Festival and School (Luxembourg), “Piano at Peabody,” Longwood University, and Indiana University as an Associate Instructor in Theory and Piano, and currently serving as Professor at The Ohio State University.  She is a Steinway Artist, principal founder and president of the American Liszt Society Ohio Chapter, and the executive and artistic director of the Franz Liszt (U.S.) International Piano Competition.  She has had the privilege of studying with luminaries such as Martin Canin, Jerome Lowenthal, Sergei Babayan, Dmitrii Paperno, Ann Schein, Karen Shaw, M. Deitzer, Claude Frank, John Browning, Leon Fleisher, Gyorgy Sebok, and Menahem Pressler. Her first teacher, with whom she began study of piano at age two, was her own mother, Mrs. Koon Ja Hong.

Ewa Poblocka



Ewa Pobłocka was born in Chełmno. She comes from a musical family and began her piano education at the age of five. She studied at the Academy of Music in Gdańsk and graduated with honours in 1981. She continued her education completing her post-graduate studies in Hamburg under Conrad Hansen. She is laureate of international piano competitions in Vercelli, Bordeaux and Warsaw. She has played in concert halls as Herkules-Saal in Munich, Musikhalle in Hamburg, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Wigmore Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Lincoln Center in New York and many others. As a soloist she performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, Bayerischer Rundfunkorchester, New Japan Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra among others. There are almost 50 records in her phonographic output, covering repertoire from Baroque to contemporary music recorded for such labels as Polskie Nagrania and Deutsche Grammophon among others. Her recordings were enthusiastically praised by critics and received prestigious awards, including two Fryderyk statuettes, two Record of the Year titles awarded by the ‘Studio’ Magazine and the John Field Medal for the recording of his complete Nocturnes. The artist is also a valued pedagogue. She conducts piano classes at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz and at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. She has given master classes around the world. She is also Visiting Professor at the Geidai University of Arts and Music in Tokyo and Nagoi. She was invited to serve as a jury member at competitions in Pretoria, Warsaw, Calgary, Hamamatsu and many others.

Markus Schirmer



No matter where Markus Schirmer 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, John Axelrod, 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, South Africa, China, Russia 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 Graz Music University - many of his students are acclaimed prizewinners – he regularly gives international piano masterclasses and is a sought after adjudicator at several prestigious piano competitions.

Antti Siirala



Antti Siirala, winner of numerous first prizes, including the Leeds Competition, has established himself as one of the finest pianists of his generation. His rich palette of sound colours, his differentiated and songful phrasing and expressive intelligence are praised frequently. Especially the releases of the three last Beethoven Sonatas and the Beethoven Triple Concerto demonstrate what an outstanding interpreter Antti Siirala is. He performs with renowned conductors like Herbert Blomstedt, François-Xavier Roth, Esa-PekkaSalonen and Sakari Oramo, and with orchestras like the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Wiener Symphoniker, Philharmonia Orchestra London Finnish Radio Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo among many others. Milestones in the career of the youngest winner in the history of the International Beethoven Piano Competition Vienna were his recitals in the piano series of the Berlin Philharmonic, at the Lucerne Festival and at the Ruhr Piano Festival. Furthermore, Antti Siirala was artist in residence for three years at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, featured in its series Junge Wilde. Upcoming Highlights include concerts with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra as well as recitals with a programme dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Finish independence with works by Rautavaara, Bach, Brahms, Kaipaninen and Schumann. Siirala’s CDs have been selected repeatedly by Gramophone as Editor’s Choice recommendations. Antti Siirala is piano professor at „Hochschule für Musik und Theater“ in Munich.