Barbara Halska – chairman Poland
She holds a post of professor at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and carries on her pedagogical activities abroad. She regularly gives concerts both as a soloist and a chamber performer. She completed her piano studies under the guidance of prof. J. Smidowicz and prof. J. Zurawlew. For a few years she worked as a chamber musician at international master courses in Baden-Baden, Goslar, Lenk, Lancut, Salzburg, and Weimar (classes of M. Flaksman, J. Fournier, A. Hein, J. Jankelewicz, A. Gertler, A. Kisseljow, A. Prinz, and S. Vegh).
Since the beginning of the 1980-ties she has been running courses of solo and chamber performance in France, Switzerland, Ukraine, Norway, and Spain. As a chamber music player she was performing with such eminent soloists as R. Fajn, M. Flaksman, J. Fournier, A. Parisot, B .Pergamenschikow, J.-P. Rampal, E. Wassiljewa, P. Lipinska, E. Gajewska, K. Golaszewska, C. Barczyk, P. Yves Artaud, O. Gimse, M. Nosowska in Piano duo as well as her daughter Beata Halska-Le Monnier. In her artistic output she has made many radio, TV, and CD recordings of P. Boulez, S. Prokofiew, I.J. Paderewski, A. Zarzycki, E. Mlynarski, R. Schumann, F. Schubert, W.A. Mozart, F. Mendelssohn, F. Chopin, R. Twardowski, M. Borkowski, W. Lutoslawski, H. Gorecki, M. Borkowski, T. Szeligowski, B. Woytowicz, P. Perkowski, W. Kilar, A. Szalowski, A. Tansman, P. Moss for “Polskie Nagrania”, “Veriton”, “Dux”, “Olympia”, and “Acte Prealable”. As a highly-respected professor she has been invited to be a member of jury of Polish and foreign competitions and to run master classes. Barbara Halska is the initiator and artistic director of the International Course of Musical Interpretation and the “Summer Holiday with Music”, which takes place in Nowy Sacz since 1996. She is also the main initiator and artistic director of the International Piano Duo Competition in Bialystok.
Alexander Tamir – Israel
Professor Alexander Tamir is one of Israel's leading pianists and pedagogues. In 1956 he has formed together with Bracha Eden the world- renowned piano duo Eden and Tamir. They toured annually and performed with most of the major orchestras and gave recitals in most of the major concerts halls and music centers.
Their reputation for expanding the piano duo repertoire has been well earned. They were responsible for introducing Lutoslawski's Paganini Variations outside of Poland. Duo Eden and Tamir, at the suggestion of I. Stravinsky, were the first to perform and record The Rite of Spring as a two piano version. Eden and Tamir were well known for their performances of the complete works for two pianos by Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and in particular, Brahms. They were awarded the Grand Prix du Disque for their interpretation of the Sonata in F minor by Brahms. Alexander Tamir is Head of the Eden-Tamir Two Piano Chair at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, Artistic Director of the Young Artists Competition in Jerusalem and Artistic Director of the Eden-Tamir Music Center in Jerusalem. The Eden-Tamir Music Center and it’s directors have for the past 40 years concentrated on two main projects: The Voice of Music Young Artists Competition and the Young Artists Chamber Music Concert Series and Recordings.
Katarzyna Jankowska-Borzykowska – Poland
Katarzyna Jankowska-Borzykowska, pianist and pedagog, graduated in Warsaw Academy of Music in the piano-class of prof. W. Mierżanow and I. Rumiancewa; also in piano chamber music of prof. J. Marchwiński class. Completed her piano chamber music study in the Chamber Music School in Edsberg, Sweden. Since very many years is very active as performer of piano chamber music, playing with most excellent polish musicians, mainly singers, also cellist and other. In her artistic achievement she has got numerous first performing of music pieces of upstanding composers, as well as recordings for Polish Radio Broadcasting and TV, Radio France, Suddeutsche Rundfunk, Radio Berlin, Finnish Radio, Radio Netherland and other; also is co-performers of 10 CD, edited by the polish phonograph firms and one of Japan, “Pony Canyon”.
She is an owner of the title Professor of the Music, works in the Warsaw Frederick Chopin University of Music where is conducting the piano chamber music class. Since 2012 – Head of the Piano Chamber Music Chair as well as Postgraduate Artistic Song Study of the University.
Maja Nosowska – Poland
Maja Nosowska first of all a pianist. She has been performing with many distinguished artists such as K. Danczowska, J. Rappe, M. Flaksman, I. Monighetti, O. Krysa, M. Sadlo, J. Fournier, W. Marschner, K. Wilkomirski, H. Lukomska, J. Artysz and many others, and also with young artists in the beginning of their career. For many years, together with Barbara Halska, cocreator the “Warsaw Piano Duet”. One of the special parts of her life is an artistic song player. With Jadwiga Frappe she recorded Songs and Christmas Carolls by W. Lutoslawski, Songs of Moniuszko, CD with songs of Szymanowski, Szostakowicz and Strawinski which have been rewarded with “Fryderyk”, “Orpheus d,OR” Academie du Disque Lyrique in Paris and “Opera Nederland” award. A full professor, pedagogue at UMFC, the teacher of many generations of young artists who shared her passion to chamber music in Poland, Europe and America. Jury member of many competitions. A longstanding chairman of the chamber music department.
Anna Prabucka-Firlej – Poland
Anna Prabucka-Firlej graduated from the piano class of prof. K. Jastrzębska in the Academy of Music in Gdansk. She has given solo and chamber music concerts in many music centers in Poland, most European countries as well as in Chile, Peru and Iran. As the member of the Gdansk Trio she has performed at many important music festivals. She has repeatedly performed in a piano duo, for the first time at the age of 7, and most recently at the 50th anniversary of her artistic work. She has also accompanied to many outstanding European instrumentalists (T. Zehetmayr, E. Melkus, P. Damm, M. Tschaikovskaya, S. Palm, and W. Bennett). On The 8th International R. Schumann Piano Competition in Zwickau she received an Honorary Diploma. Anna Prabucka-Firlej is a full professor and the Head of the Chamber Music Faculty at the Academy of Music in Gdansk. She is also the initiator and director of The International Johannes Brahms Chamber Music Competition in Gdansk, as well as of The International Piano Duo Festival, the second edition of which will be held in Gdańsk in May 2016. She gives master classes and seminars in Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Lithuania, Belarus, Finland, Chile, Peru and Thailand. The Jury Member of international and national competitions. She has made numerous recordings for radio and TV, as well as CD recordings. She has been awarded the Silver and Gold Cross of Merit, the Gold Medal of Long Service, the Medal of National Education Commission, the Medal Gloria Artis.
Volker Stenzl – Germany
The German pianist Volker Stenzl studied in Stuttgart and at the Royal Academy of Music in London (a.o. with S. Kovacevich) where he was also a guest professor from 1990-2000.
He has specialized in playing piano duo together with his brother Hans-Peter, and since winning the prestigious Munich ARD competition in 1986, the Stenzls have played in nearly all European countries, in West Africa as well as in North and South America, in Japan, China and Hong Kong. In January 2009, Gustavo Dudamel invited them to Caracas to perform Mendelssohn´s E major Double Concerto with him and his Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, and in December 2010 the two brothers made their first Russian tour.
With their broad repertoire, ranging from Bach to first performances of contemporary compositions and which-unlike most other piano duos-they always play from memory, Hans-Peter and Volker Stenzl are welcome guests in many concert halls and at major festivals including Salzburg, the Piano festival Ruhr, the Schleswig-Holstein, the Miami and the Reding-Piette festivals. Numerous radio and TV productions (e.g. BBC, ITV, ARD, ZDF, RAI, and ORF) as well as highly acclaimed CD and DVD recordings testify to the wide artistic range of the Stenzls.
Volker Stenzl is a highly-respected jury member at national and international competitions and professor at the Hochschule für Musik Theater in Rostock/Germany, conducting a special class for piano duo.
Jerzy Maksymiuk – Poland
Conductor, composer and pianist, born in Grodno in 1936. He holds diplomas in piano (J. Lefeld’s class) composition (P. Perkowski’s class) and conducting (B. Madey’s class) from the Warsaw Conservatory.
He is a laureate of several music competitions. He won the 1st prize in the National Ignacy Jan Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz and the 1st prize in the National Improvisation Competition in Katowice (1962). He also took prizes in the Artur Malawski Composition Competition in Cracow and the Grzegorz Fitelberga Composition Competition in Katowice.
From 1970 to 1972 he was a conductor at the Grand Theatre in Warsaw, where he led a number of premiere performances at the Chamber Scene, including The Little Prince by Z. Bargielski, Romeo and Juliette by B. Matuszczak Polish Ballets for the music by W. Lutosławski and his own piece Metaphrases (1971). In 1972 he assumed leadership of a band formed by the Warsaw Chamber Opera musicians, which gained international acclaim under the name of the Polish Chamber Orchestra. In 1973 Jerzy Maksymiuk began cooperation with the Polish Radio Grand Symphony Orchestra, with which he toured the United States. From 1975 to 1977 he was the Orchestra's chief conductor and artistic director.
Recognition gained during the Polish Chamber Orchestra's first tour abroad in 1977, particularly in the UK, resulted in a recording contract signed with EMI and a number of performances with British orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1979 he made an appearance with the Polish Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York and in 1981 they made a worldwide tour, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Germany.
Jerzy Maksymiuk's remarkable conducting career peaked with this orchestra as according to a number of critics he led it to unparalleled heights of perfection. He individualized its sound, broke with traditional phrasing and also shocked listeners with speeds reaching the limits of musicians' possibilities. His renditions of the 18th century piece Tamburetta by A. Jarzębski and of Rossini's Sonatas made history. The Polish Chamber Orchestra gained international fame.
From 1983 to 1993 Jerzy Maksymiuk was the chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow and the band under his leadership was recognized as one of top British classical music ensembles. In 1990 he made a debut at the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall in London, where he made a total of more than 20 appearances. He also made tours in Poland with BBC SSO, including two appearances at the Warsaw Autumn Festival. Meanwhile he started cooperation with the English National Opera, conducting the premiere performances of Mozart's Don Giovanni (1991) and Strauss's The Revenge of the Bat (1993).
Jerzy Maksymiuk is a great promoter of contemporary music. For many years he was a member of The Warsaw Autumn Festival's repertoire committee. He inspired a number of pieces written for the Polish Chamber Orchestra and during his leadership of the BBC SSO he made sure that each performance started with a piece by a contemporary Scottish composer.
To mark his achievements with the BBC SSO the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow awarded him with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters. He was also presented with the prestigious Gold Medal from the Elgar Society for promoting Edward Elgar’s music worldwide. He also appeared as a guest conductor with such ensembles as the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
He made over 100 recordings for such labels as EMI (13), Hyperion and Naxos. A number of them received prestigious awards, including the Wiener Floeten Uhr for Mozart's recording with the Polish Chamber Orchestra (1982), the Gramophone Award - twice, for the recordings of J. Macmillan's The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (EMI, 1992) and Nikolai Medtner's Piano Concertos (Hyperion 1995, with N. Demidenko as the soloist). In Poland his recordings won several Fryderyk awards, including the recording of W. Lutosławski's works made with Sinfonia Varsovia, J. Olejniczak (piano) and O. Pasiecznik (soprano).
Jerzy Maksymiuk is also a composer (symphonic music, chamber and ballet pieces, songs and film scores). His recent compositions include Arbor vitae (oratorio, 2003), Red Moon (2004), Whispers and A Cry of Dreams (for cello and chamber orchestra, 2005), Four Colors (concerto for two violins and chamber orchestra, 2006), Vivaldi in Boston (for Baroque orchestra, 2011), Leaves Somewhere Falling (for chamber orchestra, 2011), Heart Lamentation, Kielce in memoriam (for orchestra and a female voice, 2012), Dedications (for strings and piano, 2014), Vers (for strings, 2014).
Jerzy Maksymiuk made a debut as a film music composer when he was still a student. He has written scores for about 200 documentaries and feature films, including Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass directed by W. Has. His latest achievement in this field is a score for the silent film Mania starring Pola Negri (85 minutes of music performed live during screenings).
Jerzy Maksymiuk has received a number of medals, including Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the Gloria Artis Gold Medal. He also won the Superwiktor lifetime achievement award for outstanding television personalities. Mr Maksymiuk is the Honorary Citizen of Bialystok.
The International Piano Duo Competition is an event of major importance in the Polish music life, especially in Białystok and the Podlasie region, where the concerts of the participants take place. For the numerous international group of piano players those “duet’s agons” are a chance to develop their artistic careers.