Jury of 7th Edition
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bartłomiej Kominek – Poland
He studied with Janusz Olejniczak and graduated with distinction from the Academy of Music in Cracow. He participated in many master classes taught by the most outstanding piano tutors, such as Andrzej Jasiński, Oxana Jablonska, Lee Kum-Sing and Ryszard Bakst. He is currently a lecturer at the Academy of Music in Cracow, where he completed his habilitation in 2015.
The artist has won several awards and distinctions in piano competitions and festivals both in Poland and abroad – at the Festival of Polish Pianists in Słupsk and the Festival of Talents in Tarnów, as well as at the events held in Kil (Sweden), Glasgow and London. The concerts he has given in Poland (Festival of Polish Music in Cracow, Festival of Polish Pianists in Słupsk, Polish Radio Music Festival in Warsaw, “Bravo Maestro” Festival in Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s manor house in Kąśna Dolna, Festival of Talents in Tarnów, International Festival of Contemporary Music "Warsaw Autumn", Warsaw Music Encounters, “Music on the Heights” Festival in Zakopane, International Days of Cracow Composers), in many places in Europe, Middle East and Japan, received excellent reviews. He has performed in Chopin Festivals in Ghent (Belgium), Valdemossa (Mallorca) and Nohant-Vic (France). He has also made numerous recordings for the Polish Radio and Television. He portrayed Fryderyk Chopin in a film produced by the Japanese Television.
In 2005 his recording of Chopin’s Etude in E major op. 10 no. 3 was selected to be a part of the CD with interpretations of the most renowned Polish pianists and winners of Chopin competitions. Later that year, together with Janusz Olejniczak, Gdańsk University Choir and eminent soloists, he recorded the infrequently presented Petite messe solennelle by Giacomo Rossini. The CD was produced by the Gdańsk University. In 2010 DUX released his album with Grażyna Bacewicz’s compositions (among others Piano Quintet no. 1 arranged for piano and chamber orchestra) which received a nomination to the “Fryderyk” award. In 2013 he recorded a monographic album for Polskie Nagrania covering the works of Croatian composers and president – Ivo Josipović.
The artist has been active as a chamber musician and has collaborated with many well-known artists, ensembles and orchestras, including Sinfonia Varsovia, Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra, Sinfonia Baltica, Capella Cracoviensis, Polish Radio Orchestra, “DAFÔ” String Quartet, “Camerata” String Quartet, “Prima Vista” String Quartet, Polish Radio Choir in Cracow, Elżbieta Towarnicka, Olga Pasiecznik, Anna Radziejewska, Iwona Sobotka, Bogusława Dziel-Wawrowska, Janusz Olejniczak, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Tomasz Strahl, Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski, Wojciech Michniewski, Daniel Smith, Magdalena Bojanowicz and Janusz Wawrowski. Since 2011 he has performed with pianist Anna Boczar as “Chopin Piano Duo”. He wrote the arrangements of Fryderyk Chopin’s all orchestral works for piano and string quartet that were published by PWM (Polish Music Publishing House).
Genova and Dimitrov – Bulgaria
Genova and Dimitrov is one of the most internationally soughtafter
piano duos today. Already as a two-months-young
ensemble, the today's ECHO CLASSIC awardees caused a real
sensation by winning the Grand Slam of piano duo competitions
within only two years, namely the «ARD» (Munich), «Dranoff»
(Miami), Tokyo (Japan) and «Bellini» (Sicily) competitions, a feat
that has not been matched to this day.
Since then, Aglika Genova and Liuben Dimitrov have been
celebrated by audiences and the press, performing on the most
important concert and festival stages in numerous countries on
all continents, such as the Library of Congress and the National
Gallery in Washington, the Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau,
Ludwigsburg and Schwetzingen Festivals, the City Hall in Cape
Town, the Herkulessaal Munich, the Liederhalle Stuttgart, the
Gstaad Music Festival, MDR Music Summer, at the Konzerthaus
Berlin, the Beethovenhalle Bonn, the Cologne Philharmonic Hall,
the Passau European Music Weeks, the Varna Summer Festival,
Sofia Music Weeks, and the March Music days Russe, the La
Roque d’Antheron and the Al Bustan Music Festival Beirut, Casals
Hall Tokyo, Poly Theatre Beijing, and the Teatro Municipal Rio de
Janeiro, as well as at the Ravello Festival, the Woodstock Mozart
Festival, the Festival Miami and the Chopin Piano Festival
Duszniki, just to mention a few.
Upon the invitation of the Olympic Committee, the duo appeared
at the opening concerts for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake
City, and at the 2010 Volleyball World Championships in Trieste.
Their concerts could be enjoyed at the 2000 EXPO in Hanover, at
the opening concert of the 2010 Paderewski Piano Competition in
Poland, and in 2013 at the musical inauguration of Bacardi's
America Headquarters in Miami. In the same year Genova &
Dimitrov appeared at the WDR Cologne Radio Day «1913-2013»
and were celebrated on board of the new luxury cruise liner
«Europe 2» on the way to Dubai within the framework of its
opening season. 2014 they were Artists in Residence and
Mentors of the International Festival Sommets Musicaux in
Gstaad. In addition, they have appeared in numerous
international TV and radio broadcasts. The portrayal TV
documentary movie about the Duo «Etude for Two Pianos» which
has been produced and broadcasted by the BNT Bulgarian
National Television, enjoys worldwide greatest interest.
Under the direction of conductors such as Eiji Oue, Ari Rasilainen,
Hannu Lintu, Stefan Blunier, Yuri Bashmet, John Carewe, Emil
Tabakov, Alun Francis, Ulf Schirmer, Woiciech Rajski, Yordan
Kamdzhalov, Robin Gritton, Radoslaw Szulc, Alexander Kalajdzic,
Gabriel Feltz, Nayden Todorov, Alexander Rudin, Andreas
Herrmann and Johannes Schlaefli, Genova & Dimitrov have
played worldwide with leading orchestras and choirs, for example
in Munich, Los Angeles, Miami, Hamburg, Johannesburg, Durban,
Hanover, Bonn, Beijing, Stuttgart, Cape Town, Sofia, Kiev, and
Aglika Genova and Liuben Dimitrov can look back at an
impressive discography - 15 CDs of the duo have been released
by «cpo Records» and «Gega New», and given glowing reviews
and top ratings by international record magazines and radio
In 2017 the Artists have been awarded the ECHO CLASSIC Prize
for their CD «Bela Bartok & Victor Babin – Concertos for Two
Pianos» with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra
led by Yordan Kamdzhalov («cpo Records»). The same CD has
been nominated also for the German Record Critics' Award. In
addition to a number of world premiere recordings, such as Victor
Babin's Concerto, the complete piano duo works of Dmitri
Shostakovitch, Johann Christian Bach, Muzio Clementi, and
Pantcho Vladigerov, recordings such as «America for Two»
(Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein) and «Maurice Ravel - Favourite
Flavors» are greatly appreciated worldwide. A particular
emphasis in their discography are the recordings with orchestra,
like «Czerny & Bruch – Concertos for Piano Duo» (Genesis
Orchestra & Bulgarian National Radio Symphony
Orchestra/Yordan Kamdzhalov), «Martinu and Schnittke -
Concertos for 2 pianos» (NDR Radio Philharmonic/Eiji Oue),
«French Concertos - Milhaud, Poulenc, Casadesus» (SWR Radio
Orchestra/Alun Francis) and «Mendelssohn - Concertos for Two
Pianos № 1 & 2» (Munich Radio Orchestra/Ulf Schirmer). The CD
«Arensky - Five Suites for Two Pianos», which the Artists
dedicated to the memory of their teacher Vladimir Krainev, was
designated by the media worldwide even as «trend-setting». The
CD «Franz Liszt - Works for 2 Pianos» was praised by the
international press as «A pure celebration of the 2 piano music, a
celebration of Liszt's music». In occasion of the Duo's 20th
birthday anniversary in 2015 «cpo» has released the Special
Edition CD «Genova & Dimitrov - 20 Years», which has caused
furore among the radios around the world.
Genova and Dimitrov serve regularly as jurors of significant
international piano solo and duo competitions, such as the «ARD»
Competition in Munich, at the Almaty Piano Competition, the
«Franz Schubert» Competition in Russe, and were appointed in
2010 Artistic Directors of the «Dranoff» International Two Piano
Competition in Miami.
The artists give master classes worldwide, as e.g. the annual
Piano Duo & Solo Academy in Cloister Michaelstein (Germany) in
January, as well as the Sofia Summer Master Classes for Piano
Solo & Duo, in Sofia (Bulgaria). Since 2009, they have been
appointed Heads of Piano Duo Studies at the Hanover University
of Music, Drama and Media.
The similarities between them reach far into their past: Aglika
Genova and Liuben Dimitrov, both of Bulgarian-Greek descent,
both began piano lessons at the age of five, and as 9-year-olds,
both had their first public appearances as soloists with orchestra.
During their piano solo training at special music high schools for
highly talented youngsters, and then at the Sofia Conservatory
with Julia and Konstantin Ganev each won multiple prizes at
international competitions. Following the personal invitation from
their mentor, the legendary pianist Vladimir Krainev, they
finished their post-graduate studies in his class at the Hanover
University of Music.
«One afternoon, shortly before leaving for a solo piano
competition in Seoul, Korea, there was only one available
rehearsal room at the Hanover University of Music and it was
with two pianos. We spontaneously decided to start to play
Chopin's Etude 25/11 in sync. It was as if we had been given
wings. Only few months later we had won our first competition
prize as a duo», remember Aglika and Liuben.
Today the Artists live in Hanover, Miami, and Sofia.
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.