Ivry Gitlis (violin)
Born in Haifa, Israel, Ivry Gitlis received his first violin at the age of five and performed his first concert at the age of ten in his own school. He was only nine years old when the illustrious violinist Bronislaw Huberman heard him play for the first time and agreed to organise a fund-raising campaign so that Ivry Gitlis could be sent to Europe to continue his studies. Aged 10, the young boy headed to Paris with his mother to enter the National Music Conservatory, where he won a first prize two years later. After graduating from there, he studied with Georges Enesco, Jacques Thibaud and Carl Flesch. His international career really began to take off in earnest in the wake of a memorable performance he gave during the 1951 Jacques Thibaud Competition. He performed in the United States for the first time in 1955. He has made an increasing number of world tours, performing with the finest orchestras: philharmonic orchestras in New York, Berlin, Vienna, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Israel, Paris... under the baton of illustrious directors, such as George Szell, Zubin Mehta, Charles Dutoit, Eugene Ormany, Antal Dorati, Claudio Scimone, Michael TilsonThomas, Hans Rosbaud, Emmanuel Krivine... Ivry Gitlis’ recording of Bartok’s violin concerto number two and sonata for solo violin received the “Best Record of the Year” award from the New York Herald Tribune. An enthusiast for all kinds of music, Ivry Gitlis is the founder and organiser of the Vence, Saint André de Cubzac, Alfortville and Bonifacio Music Festivals. For several years now, these events have provided him with an opportunity to achieve what for him is the essence of life: a musical encounter between the performers and the members of the audience. It is impossible to claim you really know Ivry Gitlis unless you have attended one of his master classes... Thanks to his strong character, his warm personality, his outstanding charisma and willingness to get to the heart of the matter Ivry Gitlis is able to forge an immediate bond with people, turning each one of his concerts and television appearances into an unforgettable event.
Maxim Vengerov (violin)
At just 42 years of age, Maxim Vengerov is recognised as one of the world’s most exciting violinists and recently he started a promising conducting career, as well. In May 2000 Vengerov signed an exclusive recording contract with EMI Classics, with whom he made his debut in April 2000. In 1996 he received two Grammy nominations for Classical album of the Year and Best Instrumental Solist with Orchestra. Vengerov received the Edison Award in 1997 in the Best Concerto Recording category, for his Shostakovich and Prokofiev concertos N° 2 recording. In 1997, at the age of twenty-three, Vengerov was appointed Envoy for Music by the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the first classical musician to be appointed in this role. He says: “I understood what miracles you can bring back to children with music; this is a universal language that everyone understands, it goes from heart to heart”. Another passion of Vengerov’s musical and personal life is his involvement with young people through giving Masterclasses to aspiring musicians. One such event was recorded by Channel Four Television in the UK as part of a documentary about Vengerov, called ‘Playing by Heart’ shown at the Cannes Television Festival in 1999. Maxim Vengerov performs regularly with all the major orchestras and the most eminent conductors. He is a professor of violin at the University of Music Saarland, Germany and was appointed visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London during 2005. Mr Vengerov wishes to express his gratitude to Mrs Yoko Nagac Ceschina for all her continued support, advice and great help, which made possible the purchase of his unique ‘Ex-Kreutzer’ Stradivarius violin.
Menahem Pressler (piano)
Menahem Pressler, a founding member and pianist of The Beaux Arts Trio, has established himself among the world’s most distinguished and honoured musicians with a career that spans almost six decades. Now aged 92, he continues to captivate audiences throughout the world as a performer and tutor, performing solo and chamber music recitals to great critical acclaim while maintaining a dedicated and robust teaching career. Born in Magdeburg in Germany in 1923, Menahem Pressler fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and emigrated to Israel. His international career was launched after he was awarded 1st prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946. This was followed by his successful American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of maestro Eugene Ormandy. Since then, Menahem Pressler’s extensive tours of North America and Europe have included performances with the orchestras of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Francisco, London, Paris, Brussels, Oslo and Helsinki among numerous others. After nearly a decade of an illustrious and acclaimed solo career, the 1955 Berkshire Music Festival saw Menahem Pressler’s debut as a chamber musician, where he appeared as a pianist with The Beaux Arts Trio. With Menahem Pressler at the Trio’s helm as the only pianist for nearly fifty-five years, The New York Times described The Beaux Arts Trio as “in a class by itself”. The 2007-2008 season was nothing short of bitter-sweet, as the trio took their final bows which marked the end of one of the most celebrated and revered chamber music careers of all time. For nearly sixty years Menahem Pressler has taught on the piano faculty at the world-renowned Indiana University where he currently holds the rank of Distinguished Professor of Music. He has had prize-winning students in all of the major international piano competitions, including the Queen Elisabeth, Busoni, Rubenstein, Leeds and Van Cliburn Competitions. In addition he serves on the juries of many major international piano competitions. Among his numerous honours and awards, Menahem Pressler has received honorary doctorates from the Manhattan School of Music, the University of Nebraska, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the North Carolina School of the Arts and six Grammy nominations. In addition to recording nearly the entire chamber piano repertoire with The Beaux Arts Trio on the Philips label, Menahem Pressler has compiled over thirty solo recordings, ranging from the works of Bach to Ben Haim.
Vladimir Perlin (cello)
Vladimir Perlin, started his cello studies at the age of 7 in the music school of Minsk, Belarus. In 1960 he was accepted to the conservatory into the class of the exceptional cellist and musician- Alexander Stogorsky, with whom he finished his cello and chamber music studies. Since 1971 Mr. Perlin dedicates his time for teaching and developing young talents. He is touring regularly with his students and giving master classes in Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, England, Poland, the Vatican, Spain and the U.S.A. His students occupy places in some of the world’s major orchestras and music schools . Two full length documentary films were made about Vladimir Perlin and his class and were broadcasted in different countries. In order to award his life achievements in education, the French government granted him with the title of “Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques”.
Alexandra Soumm (violin)
French violinist Alexandra Soumm is a multi-faceted artist who is equally at home in concerto and chamber repertoire. Orchestras with which she has collaborated in recent years include Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Danish National Symphony, Helinski Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and Tokyo Symphony. As a chamber musician, she has given recitals at the Auditorium du Louvre (Paris), Palais des Beaux Arts (Brussels), and Wigmore Hall (London). She has also appeared at international festivals such as the City of London Festival, Deauville, Montpellier, MDR Musiksommer, Schleswig-Holstein, Verbier, Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad and Varna. Born in Moscow, Alexandra started to learn the violin with her father at the age of five and gave her first concert two years later. She later moved to Vienna to study with the renowned pedagogue Boris Kuschnir and won the Eurovision Competition in 2004. Now based in Paris, she, along with two friends, founded non-profit organisation Esperanz’Arts in 2012, which was the culmination of four years’ involvement in charity projects aimed at creating opportunities through the arts. In January 2013, Alexandra was named Godmother of the newly established El Sistema France. The violin Alexandra plays on is made by Giovanni Baptista Guadagnini in Turin c.1785 and is known as the ‘ex-Kavakos’. The loan of the instrument by a benefactor is a part of the London Music Masters Award and has kindly been arranged through Florian Leonhard Fine Violins, London.
Catherine Michel (harp)
Catherine Michel was born in Amiens, where she studied the harp, piano and music theory with her mother. After her mother’s untimely passing, Pierre Jamet took the young girl under his wing and she entered the National Conservatoire for Dance and Music (CNSM) in Paris, where she was awarded a First Prize diploma at the age of 15. She won two major international awards, in Israel and the United States, as well as a Gold Medal at the Paris Competition. She joined the Radio France National Orchestra in 1971, performing under the conductors L. Maazel, P. Paray, J. Martinon, K. Böhm, S. Celibidache, L. Bernstein, M. Rostropovitch, to name but a few. In 1978 she became a harpist with the Paris Opera. Her first recordings for the Philips and Vox labels introduced listeners to seldom-performed concertos. She recorded concertos by Villa Lobos, Rodrigo and Castelnuovo-Tedesco with the Monte Carlo Orchestra; as well as Glière, Reinecke, Pierné and Saint-Saëns with the Radio Luxembourg Orchestra. She worked together with François Lesur to create a repertoire of harp music published in the 18th century. It was with Leonard Bernstein that the idea came up, in 1990, of adapting major musical comedies for harp and orchestra. After this unique musician passed away, she got together with M. Legrand to record her first album of film music, winning the French Victoires de la Musique award in the same year. Together they recorded four CDs for the Naïve and Universal labels. Over at EMI she accompanied the leading trumpet player Maurice André, performing a variety of works, ranging from Bach to Steven Sondheim, with the Normandy Chamber Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Her teaching duties took her to Dublin, to the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, then in Detmold followed by the one in Zurich, which she left in 2010 to focus on her career as a soloist and visiting professor.
Jérôme Pernoo (cello)
Born in Nantes, Jérôme Pernoo studied with Germaine Fleury, Xavier Gagnepain and Philippe Muller at the Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris. In 1994, he was prize winner at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow as well as at the Rostropovitch Competition in Paris and, in 1996, he won the Pretoria Competition. Jérôme Pernoo has performed with most of the major french symphony orchestras as well as with the Deutsches-Symfonie Orchester Berlin, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Bavarian State Orchestra in Munich, the Orchestra of the Zurich Opera House, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm, the National Orchestra of Spain in Madrid. He appears in recital with the pianist Jérôme Ducros on some of the world’s most renowned stages : the Wigmore Hall in London, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Théâtre du Châtelet and the Cité de la Musique in Paris. His others partners in chamber music are : Alina Ibragimova, Renaud Capuçon, Gérard Caussé, Antoine Tamestit, Henri Demarquette, Christophe Coin, Frank Braley, Nicholas Angelich, Eric Le Sage, Bertrand Chamayou, Emmanuel Pahud, Paul Meyer, quatuors Ebène, Modigliani, Chiaroscuro… The season 2014/15 was highlighted by his premiere in Berlin Philharmonie and with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Marc Minkowski. Jérôme Pernoo is founder and artistic director of the music festival “Les vacances de Monsieur Haydn” in La Roche Posay, which first edition took place in September 2005. He plays a baroque cello and a piccolo cello. Both instruments are Italian and were built in the 18th century by the Milanese School. He also plays a modern cello made for him by Franck Ravatin.
Natalia Trull (piano)
Natalia Trull began studying piano in her native St. Peterburg. She later moved to Moscow where she graduated from the Moscow Conservatory. Among her teachers were professors Y. Zak, M. Voskresensky and T. Kravchenko. Her performance career was launched when she won first prize at the Belgrade International Piano Competition in 1983. However, the biggest success came in 1986 she won the silver medal at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. The public was swept off its feet by her interpretation of composers such as Schubert and Stravinsky. Her “Petroushka” suite left an everlasting impression on the public and critics alike. In 1993, Natalia Trull was awarded the Grand Prix at the Piano Masters Competition in Monte-Carlo (where only winners of international competitions are accepted as participants). Natalia Trull’s complete control and fantastic virtuosity place her in a class of her own, and she is in great demand as a performer all over the world. Among the distinguished orchestras with whom she has performed are the London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Monte-Carlo, Tonhalle Symphony Orchestra and all of the major Russian Symphony Orchestras. Natalia Trull has also played with such conductors as Raphael Frubeck de Burgos, Raymond Leppard, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Eri Klas, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Vassily Sinaisky, Yuri Temirkanov and many others. Her repertoire includes over 50 concertos, of which the Tchaikovsky concerto has proved to be the most popular, the pianist having performed the work on over one hundred occasions in the world’s leading concert halls. Her most brilliant performances of the Tchaikovsky concerto were in Hollywood Bowl under Eri Klas and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and in Suntory Hall with Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Koizumi Kazuhiro (1998-99 season). Natalia’s performances today are remarkable for her total absorption in the music her unique stage presence and technical mastery in presenting a wide repertoire of works. Natalia Trull is frequently invited to teach to the U.S.A., Japan, Italy, Germany and South America. She is Professor at the Moscow Tchaikovky Concervatory. She is permanently a jury member of many international piano competitions.
Mikhail Zemtsov (viola)
Mikhail Zemtsov is an internationally acclaimed and versatile musician, being a prominent soloist, teacher, educator, chamber musician and conductor. Zemtsov's solo appearances include performances with the Moscow Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestras of Mexico, Estonia and Lithuania; Luxembourg Philharmonic Wiener Volksoper, Hamburger Symphoniker, Stavanger Symphony (Norway), The Hague Philharmonic (Netherlands) with the conductors as Neeme Jarvi, Jaap van Zweden, Leif Segerstam, Dmitri Kitajenko. Mikhail Zemtsov first took violin lessons from his mother Loudmila Levinson at the age of 5, later studying viola and composition at the conservatories of Moscow, Hamburg and Maastricht with G. Odinets, B. Dinerstein, M. Nichetianu, M. Kugel. Mikhail studied Masters in Orchestral Conducting at Lithuanian Music Academy with Juozas Domarkas, he also took conducting lessons and masterclasses with Lev Markiz, , Neeme Jarvi, Paavo Jarvi, Gianandrea Noseda. Mikhail is member of the Utrecht String Quartet and the Duo Macondo (with the guitarist Enno Voorhorst). Mikhail also founded an unique ensemble - Zemtsov Viola Quartet - together with his wife Julia, brother Alexander and daughter Dana, all of them prominent viola players who studied with great viola virtuoso Michael Kugel. Mikhail Zemtsov is appointed viola teacher at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and Utrecht Conservatory (Netherlands). Many of his students became prize winners at International Competitions. Mikhail has been principal conductor of Utrecht Conservatory Strings and Atheneum Chamnber Orchestra. Since 2010 he is conductor of the Young Talent Symphony Orchestra by Rotterdam Conservatory. Mikhail has participated in numerous International Festivals in Europe,Far East and the Americas as chamber music partner to Bella Davidovitch, Boris Berezovsky, Dmitri Sitkovetski, Sarah Chang, Janine Jansen, Julian Rachlin, Misha Maisky; Leipziger, Jerusalem, Borodin quartets. He has recorded numerous CDs for Sony Masterworks. His 2016 recording for Chandos label of Rapsody - Concerto by B. Martinu with Maestro Neeme Jarvi and National Symphony Orchestra of Estonia has been highly acclaimed by international press, including Gramophone magazine. Mikhail is regularly invited as a jury member of International Competitions, amongst others, Lionel Tertis Competition 2019, and he is giving numerous masterclasses all over the world. Mikhail is a prize winner of the First International Viola Competion (Vienna,1998) and of the Elisa Meyer String Competition (Hamburg, 1998).
Mark Simpson (clarinet)
Mark Simpson has now established himself as a major new voice on the international stage. As a performer and composer, he is committed to new music and his compositions have been performed at the BBC Proms, Salzburg and Edinburgh International Festivals, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall and Barbican Centre London, amongst others. Simpson performs worldwide as a clarinettist, both as a concerto soloist and chamber musician. Recent concerto highlights include the Lindberg Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic at the BBC Proms with Juanjo Mena, the Nielsen Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, as well as appearances at the Southbank Centre’s International Chamber Music Series, Cologne Philharmonie, Salzburg, Edinburgh International and Aldeburgh Festivals with artists including Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Isabelle Faust, Antoine Tamestit, Danielle de Niese and Jean-Guihen Queyras. He has also appeared with orchestras including the Mozarteum Salzburg, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Northern Sinfonia, City of London Sinfonia and BBC Concert Orchestra. In 2015, Simpson was appointed Composer in Association at the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, a creative partnership that is in place for a period of four years. As a recitalist, he regularly performs at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, BeethovenFest… Born in Liverpool in 1988, Simpson became the first ever winner of both the BBC Young Musician of the Year and BBC Proms/Guardian Young Composer of the Year competitions in 2006. He went on to read Music at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, graduating with first class honours, and studied composition with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama before being selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust. Simpson was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2012-2014. He received a Borletti-Butoni Trust Fellowship in 2014 and the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award in 2010, and is a Visiting Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.
Leipzig String Quartet
Stefan Arzberger (violin)
Tilmann Büning (violin)
Ivo Bauer (viola)
Matthias Moosdorf (cello)
Since its founding in 1988, the Leipzig String Quartet has garnered the attention of international critics and audiences with its distinctive, dark timbre and meticulously sculpted interpretations of a widely varied repertoire. Formed originally by the string principals of the renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Quartet continues to uphold the principles of sound and integrity ascribed to this great orchestra. Called “one of the towering and most versatile quartets of our time” by the Neue Züricher Zeitung and lauded by The New York Times for presenting “rich, mellow, unadulterated beauty” and a true “Leipzig sound,” the Quartet is considered one of the world’s great chamber ensembles. After coaching by Gerhard Bosse, the Amadeus Quartet, Hatto Beyerle and Walter Levin, the Quartet went on to win numerous prizes and awards, such as the 1991 International ARD Munich Competition, and the Busch and Siemens prizes. Today, the Leipzig String Quartet has toured extensively throughout Europe, in Israel, Africa, North and South America, Australia, Japan, and Southeast Asia, including performances at many of the major festivals, often presenting its own thematic cycles (e.g. Schubert, Bach, contemporary composers). Since 1991, the Quartet has had its own “Pro Quatuor” series at the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the Berlin Philharmony, where it is currently offering a multi-year cycle featuring the great quartets of the First and Second Viennese School. Having released nearly 100 CD recordings of repertoire from Mozart to Cage, the Quartet has received tremendous recognition for each of these projects. The ensemble has performed worldwide and recorded with Alfred Brendel, Klaus-Maria Brandauer, Juliane Banse, Karl Leister, Michael Sanderling, Menahem Pressler, Joseph Kalichstein, Christian Zacharias, Christiane Oelze, Olaf Bär, Marc-André Hamelin, and acclaimed klezmer clarinettist Giora Feidman, among many others