Hagai Shaham

Hagai ShahamDisplaying a dazzling combination of technical brilliance and a uniquely profound musical personality, Hagai Shaham is internationally recognized as one of the astonishing young violinists who have emerged from Israel in recent years. Hagai Shaham began studying the violin at age of six and was the last student of the late renowned Professor Ilona Feher. He also studied with Elisha Kagan, Emanuel Borok, Arnold Steinhardt and the Guarneri Quartet.

In September 1990, Hagai Shaham and his duo partner, Arnon Erez, won the first prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in the Violin-Piano duo category, the first competitors to be awarded this coveted first prize since 1971. His other awards include first prizes at the Ilona Kornhouser competition, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority Young Artist competition, The Tel-Aviv Rubin Academy competition, four Clairmont Awards, and annual scholarship from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation.

As a soloist he has performed with many of the world’s major orchestras, including the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Belgian National Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique Francais, Taipei, Singapore and SHanghai Symphony Orchestras, SWF Baden-Baden Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. In 1985 he was invited to join Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman in a gala concert at Carnegie Hall, following which Zubin Mehta invited him to perform Brahms’ Double Concerto at Carnegie Hall.

In 2006 he performed once again this work under Mehta, at the Isrel Philharmonic 70th anniversary’s celebrations with cellist Misha Maisky.

Hagai Shaham is in great demand as recitalist. He regularly tours throughout Europe, North and Central America and performing at international recital series and festivals.

Hagai Shaham recorded for Decca International, Chandos, Biddulph, Naxos, Classic Talent and AVIE. He records regularly for Hyperion, where his CDs received critical acclaim.

Hagai Shaham is faculty member of the Thornton School of Music at USC, Los Angeles His Master Classes in Europe and Israel attract many students.

Together with his colleague, violinist Ittai Shapira, he is co-founder of The Ilona Feher Foundation.

Website Hagai Shaham

Fine Arts Quartet

Fine Arts QuartetThey have been called the “The Dream Team” and were declared by the Washington Post “one of the gold-plated names in chamber music”. But these statements seem inadequate when you consider that American first violinist Ralph Evans was a prizewinner in the International Tchaikovsky Competition, the “fiercest, most nerve-shredding competition in the classical world”; that Russian-born second violinist Efim Boico was chosen by Daniel Barenboim to be concertmaster of the Orchestre de Paris, that Canadian violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez recorded with Norah Jones and Chick Corea and the British cellist Robert Cohen, in the words of New York Stereo Review, “plays like a God”.

Despite their unique and diverse musical makeup and the individual impact each artist has had on the world of music, there is an overwhelming force that drew them together and marks the Fine Arts Quartet as a musical entity like no other. They have an instantly identifiable sound, an intense beauty, a deeply warming, fluent communication that envelopes their audience. It has been called a sound from the Golden Era, a sound that restores and enriches.

The Fine Arts Quartet holds an extraordinary and legendary history of its own. Founded in Chicago in 1946, now celebrating its 70th anniversary, the Quartet has recorded over 200 works and continues to tour throughout the world. The thirty-three year membership of Evans and Boico has created a unity of violin sound like no other. Four years ago, Cohen brought his extraordinary musical passion to the Quartet, followed shortly by Hernandez with his dynamism and heartfelt warmth.

Website Fine Arts Quartet

Hartmut Rohde

“Stereotypical playing is definitely not his cup of tea, the evening showed how he can fulfil his Musicality with Inspiration and strength of Imagination.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Hartmut Rohde was, in 1993, appointed a professorship at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, he also teaches at the Royal Academy of Music London, where, as a visiting professor and Honorary Member, he regularly gives Chamber Music and solo viola master classes. Hartmut Rohde is a founding member of the Mozart Piano Quartet, which for many years has been regarded as one of the world’s leading Piano Chamber Music ensembles. He was a student in Vienna and Hannover, under the guidance of Hatto Beyerle.

Through recognition in various Competitions (1st prize in the Deutschen Musikwettbewerb, the “Konzerte junger Künstler” program in 1990 and prize-winner in the International Naumburg Competition in New York, 1991) Hartmut Rohde’s performing career has blossomed to be intense and richly international. Tours as a soloist and also later with his Chamber Ensembles, have taken him to the USA, Canada, Australia, Asia, the CIS and throughout all parts of Europe. Hartmut Rohde’s main interests lie in the Historic analysis of various musical styles, the application of the rhetorical musical language of the Baroque period and the progression of the Classical into the Romantic era. New perspectives and experiences in the discussion of music serve as a basis for his unique style of interpretation. In 1991 he presented his arrangement of B. Bartok’s Viola Concerto, to which further changes were made in 2010 in preparation for the Premiere in Baden-Baden. In addition, he was the Soloist chosen for the first performance of Franz Beyer’s version of the Viola Concerto from F.A. Hoffmeister.

As a soloist Hartmut Rohde has performed, among others, with the Staatkapelle Weimar, the Beethovenhalle of Bonn, the Bremer Philharmoniker, NDR Hannover, the Nordwestdeutschen Philharmonie Rostock, the Lithuanian Philharmonic, the Philharmonie Baden-Baden and the Kapellsolisten of Dresden. In Haydn’s commemorative year, 2009, D.Geringas, J-P. Maintz and H. Rohde toured Germany, Poland, the USA and Italy with the “Baritone Trios” originally composed for Prince Esterházy. For the Season 2011/2012, a program including works from Sándor Veress, L.v. Beethoven and Vladimir Mendelssohn is in motion, as well as Trio tours with Michel Lethiec and Jeremy Menuhin. In 2011, two CD recordings of Classic and Romantic Viola Concertos are planned. 2011 also brings Viviane Hagner, Latica Honda-Rosenberg, Hartmut Rohde and Jens-Peter Maintz together to create the newly formed Joachim Quartett Berlin, a string-quartet which feeds from the immense tradition of the old Joachim Quartet from 1869. Among others he is guest conductor of the Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra LEOPOLDINUM.

As a much sought after chamber musician, he has played with Heinrich Schiff, Itamar Golan, David Geringas, Lars Vogt, Daniel Hope, Janine Jansen, Pascal Devoyon, Frans Helmerson, Michel Lethiec, Nobuko Imaii, Antje Weithaas, Jörg Widmann, Jérémy Menuhin, Peter Hoerr, J-P. Maintz, the Tallich- Quartett, Vogler-Quartett, Vermeer-Quartett. Always being open to new possibilities of conveying the language of music is an important aspect of life for him, which is what led Hartmut Rohde also to work in the spheres of Modern Music with such composers as Aribert Reimann, Wolfgang Rihm, Kristof Maratka, Krzysztof Penderecki, Jörg Widmann and Brett Dean.

Kent Nagano, Georg Alexander Albrecht, Paavo Järvi, Massimo Zanetti, Christoph Prick, Juozas Domarkas , Pavel Baleff and Michael Sanderling are just some of the many conductors with whom he has worked, in such venues as the Berliner Festspiele, Salzburger Festspiele, Ravinia-Festival (Chicago), Oleg-Kagan Festival, Braunschweiger Kammermusikpodium, “Spannungen” Heimbach, Concert du Louvre (Paris), Mahler-Festspiele Toblach (Italy) and Festival Pablo Casals (France), Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Kumho Asiana Festival in Seoul, Beethoven Easter festival Warschau, Kronberg Academy, International Jerusalem Music Festival, Kuhmo Festival and West Cork Music Festival Bantry.

Alongside many Radio recordings with large international broadcasting companies, Hartmut’s CD-recording portfolio has become substantial including recordings with EMI classics, Decca, BMG/Sony, Musikproduktion Dabringhaus + Grimm, Naxos and also the Freiburg Musikforum. In 2003 Hartmut Rohde received the renowned Echo-Classic-Prize and in 2004 the Supersonic Award.

Eminent in the Teaching world, he often gives Master classes in Europe, the USA, Australia and Asia. His students have won prizes in various international solo and chamber-music competitions and hold a number of important orchestral positions including with the Berlin and Munich Philharmonic, Staatsoper Berlin, BBC London, HR and Semperoper Dresden. Since 1997 he is the artistic director of the International Max-Rostal-Competition for Violin and Viola, Berlin, and jury member of many well known competitions such as the International ARD Competition in Munich and the Tertis Viola Competition on the Isle of Mann. Since 2010 He works for the publishers PARTITURA and Hofmeister Publishing Leipzig as a publisher and editor.

Hartmut Rohde plays on instruments from Michael Ledfuss (2002) and a Giuseppe Fiorini (1899).

Website Hartmut Rohde


Auryn Quartet

An outstanding career spanning three decades has made the Auryn Quartet one of the most sought-after and respected ensembles performing around the globe. The Quartet has not changed its personnel over this long period, and continues with its fresh and pioneering approach to all genres of music.
The Auryn’s main mentors were the Amadeus Quartet, and the Guarneri Quartet with which they studied between 1982 and ’87 in Cologne, Germany, and at the University of Maryland, USA. Claudio Abbado was also an important influence on the Quartet’s musical development, under whose baton they performed as string principles in the European Union Youth Orchestra.

The Quartet won its first prizes at the London International Competition and the ARD Munich competition, both in 1982, only one year after the group’s inception. The ensemble also won the main prize at the European Broadcasting Competition in Bratislava in 1989.

Invitations to most international music festivals followed in quick succession: Lockenhaus, Salzburger Festspiele, Edinburgh International Festival, Musiktage Mondsee, Schwetzinger Festspiele, and Stavangar festivals just to name a few. Recent tours have taken the Quartet from the Lincoln Center in New York, to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and also to the Wigmore Hall in London, where they performed a complete cycle of the Beethoven quartets.

The Auryn Quartet has had many fruitful musical partnerships over the years, with performers such as Menahem Pressler, Tabea Zimmerman, Alexander Lonquich, Sharon Kam, Nobuko Imai, Christian Poltéra, Peter Orth, Michael Tree, Martin Fröst, Liza Ferschtman, Cecile Licad, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Christine Schäfer and many others. The Quartet now runs its own annual chamber music festival in the Venetian town of Este in Italy (Incontri Internazionali) and is Artistic Director of the Musiktage Mondsee in Austria.

The Auryns have a compelling discography, working exclusively with the Tacet company since 2000. The most recent and ambitious recording project is the edition of all 68 Haydn quartets, which was finished in September 2010.

Three complete concert-series of the Haydn quartets, each comprising 18 concerts, were performed by the Auryns in Detmold, in Cologne (West German Radio), and Padova, Italy, in commemoration of the Haydn bicentennial year 2009.

The four musicians of the Auryn Quartet play on wonderful Italian instruments: a Stradivari violin (1722, ex-Joachim), a Petrus Guarneri violin, a Brothers Amati viola (1616) and a Niccolo Amati cello. Since 2003 the Auryn Quartet has been sharing its wealth of experience with musicians of younger generations, in the form of a teaching position at the Music Academy in Detmold, Germany, where they are professors for chamber-music.

Website Auryn Quartet

Ralf Gothóni

Ralf Gothóni

Ralf Gothóni (born in Finland, living in Germany) has a many-sided career as solo pianist, chamber musician and conductor all over the world. He became well-known for his unconventional way of music-making, not only as a pianist, but as a musician with unusual thinking about music and the wholeness of musicianship. He began his studies on the violin at age three and on piano at age five. At 15 he debuted as an orchestra soloist and in 1967, he appeared at the Jyväskylä Summer Festival as the “debutant of the year”.

His performances include appearances at prestigious music festivals – Salzburg, Berlin, Prague, Prades, Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, La Roque de Antheron, Ravinia, Tanglewood and more – and performances with the Chicago, Detroit and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, Berlin and Warsaw Philharmonics, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Many Asian orchestral and with the English Chamber Orchestra among others. He appears annually in numerous concerts both as soloist and conductor, conducting from the keyboard. Gothóni has premiered more than a dozen piano concertos; among them concertos by Sir John Tavener, Aulis Sallinen, Curtis Curtis-Smith, Einojuhani Rautavaara and Srul Irving Glick. He is also regularly heard as guest artist at major chamber music festivals.

Mr. Gothoni has recorded some 100 albums for several labels, including BIS, CPO, Decca, DGG, EMI and Ondine, with whom he produced more than twenty CDs in 90ths. Among the recordings should especially be mentioned his Schubert interpretations, piano concertos by Britten, Villa-Lobos and Rautavaara. In the last years he has recorded several CD:s with music by Alfred Schnittke and Aulis Sallinen, both as soloist and conductor.

Ralf Gothóni was the principal conductor of the legendary English Chamber Orchestra during 2000-09, during 2001–06 he held the music director position of the Northwest Chamber Ochestra, Seattle and in 2004 he was nominated the guest conductor of Deutsche Kammerakademie. Gothóni has held many artistic posts: chief conductor of the Finlandia Sinfonietta (1989–94), principal guest conductor of the Turku Philharmonic (1995–2000), artistic director of the famous Savonlinna Opera Festival (1984–1987), in 1996 and 1998 he was the iniator and the artistic director of the “Forbidden City Music Festival” in Beijing and in 2004 he started a cultural collaboration between Finland and Egypt which is continuing yearly as a “Musical Bridge Egypt-Finland”, where his northern colleagues perform with Egyptian musicians. In 2011 Gothóni startet a simpler Bridge also with Azerbaijan. He has supported classical music also in Israel and in South Africa.

Very close to his heart is the contact with young musicians. He is the artistic chairman of “Savonlinna Music Academy” which is a Summer institute for chamber music, lied and opera. He has held the position of professorship at the “Hochschule für Musik” in Hamburg (1986–96), at the “Hanns Eisler Hochschule” in Berlin (1996–2000), at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki 1992–2007. In May, 2000 he was appointed as a visiting professor at the Royal College of Music in London and in 2012 in Musikhochschule Karlsruhe. From 2006 to 2013 he was the head of the piano chamber music department at “Instituto de Musica Camara, Reina Sofia” in Madrid. Besides giving master classes around the world, he has also spent many summers as a faculty member at the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia, Chicago. In the last years he has also been invited as juror at major international piano competitions.

The list of his compositions includes three chamber operas, chamber music, songs, the chamber cantata “The Ox and its Sephard” (recorded by Ondine) and a Concerto Grosso version of it for violin, piano and strings. In April 2003 his chamber orchestra arrangement of Hugo Wolf´s Italian Songbook got its premier in Stuttgart. And in 2014 his Chamber Concerto “Peregrina” for viola and chamber orchestra was premiered in Hamburg.

Ralf Gothoni is also an essayist; his first book about the phenomenology in the music “The Creative Moment” was published with great success in 1998. His second book, “Does the moon rotate” was published in 2001 and the third “The Spider” in 2014. English translations will be published in 2016.

Mr. Gothoni has been honored with several awards, including the Gilmore Artist Award in 1994, which is one of the biggest awards in classical music, Schubert Medal of the Austrian Ministry of Culture and the Order of Pro Finlandia. In 2012 Mr Gothòni was awarded in Madrid by Sofia, the Queen of Spain.

Website Ralf Gothóni

Jürgen Franz

Jürgen Franz

Jürgen Franz studied flute with Vladislav Brunner in Frankfurt and with Jean Claude Gérard in Stuttgart . Further studies brought him to Maxence Larrieu and Sir James Galway.

Jürgen Franz became a member of the Bielefeld Philharmonic Orchestra and was first flute in the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra.  Since August 2000 he is a member of the radio orchestra NDR in Hamburg with such conductors as Christoph von Dohnany, Christoph Eschenbach, Günter Wand†.

Jürgen Franz also played Soloflute in the philharmonic orchetsra from ” La Scala di Milano” with conductors like Ricardo Muti,  M. Rostropowitsch and Yuri Terminirkanow.

As a guest he played in the Berlin philharmonic with the conductors Claudio Abbado, Maris Jansons and Bernard Haitink Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim and Zuin Mehta.
Since 2002 he is a member of the Richard Wagner Festivalorchestra in  Bayreuth .

As a soloist he has been a guest in CD  and radio productions and he has toured through  Germany , France , the USA , Estland, Japan and Switzerland . In December 2006 he was invited as soloflutist with the “Symphonica Toscanini Foundation Orchestra” from Lorin Maazel.

Jürgen Franz played with colleges like Sir James Galway, Maxence Larrieu and Davide Formisano and he is a frequently guest at the flute festivals all over europe. At music-festivals he plays all sorts of solo and chamber music literature, mostly with piano, guitar, organ, strings and orchestra.

As a teacher Jürgen Franz is professor at the Musikhochschule Hamburg and at the Hamburg Conservatory. He also gives international masterclasses in USA , Japan, Brasil and China.

Jürgen Franz is a Ha ynes Artist and plays an all 19,5kt goldflute from Wm.S. Haynes.

Website Jürgen Franz

Tanja Becker-Bender

Tanja Becker-Bender

Tanja Becker-Bender was early on awarded top prizes at the international competitions in Geneva, Tokyo, Houston, Gorizia and Genoa. As a soloist, she performes under the baton of Kurt Masur, Gerd Albrecht, Lothar Zagrosek, Uriel Segal, Fabio Luisi, Hartmut Haenchen, Hubert Soudant, Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi and Carlos Miguel Prieto with renowned orchestras such as the Tokyo Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, and Houston Symphony, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart of the SWR, Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin, and the Vienna, Zurich and Prague Chamber orchestras, as well as the English Chamber Orchestra. She is a regular guest at international chamber music festivals.

Her latest CDs for Hyperion Records – Paganini “24 Capricci“, Schulhoff Works for Violin and Piano, Reger Violin Concerto, Respighi Works for Violin and Piano – were awarded numerous distinctions by the international press (Editor’s Choice, Gramophone and Classic FM, Disc of the Month, BBC Music Magazine, “Outstanding Award”, International Record Review, “Star of the Month”, Fonoforum). Working with contemporary composers is of special importance to her, leading to collaborations with Peter Ruzicka, Cristóbal Halffter, Peteris Vasks and Michael Gielen, as well as premieres of works by Alexander Goehr, Rolf Hempel and Benedict Mason. During this season, a CD of the Hindemith Sonatas will be released, played together with pianist Péter Nagy, and performances or recordings of Concertos by Strauss, Busoni and Ligeti will be a special focus.

Tanja Becker-Bender studied with the leading quartet musicians of the world, with Wilhelm Melcher (Melos Quartet) in Stuttgart, with Günter Pichler (Alban Berg Quartet) in Vienna, and with Rober Mann (Juilliard String Quartet) in New York. Important impulses came through Eberhard Feltz and Ferenc Rados.

Already in 2006, she was appointed professor at the University of Music in Saarbruecken, and since 2009, she has been teaching as a professor at the University of Music and Theatre in Hamburg.

Website Tanja Becker-Bender


MidoriWe are pleased that also Midori will participate for the first time at the 9th International Mendelssohn Festival! Today Midori is recognized as an extraordinary performer, a devoted and gifted educator, and an innovative community engagement activist. Named Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Southern California in 2012, Midori works with her students at USC’s Thornton School, where she is also Jascha Heifetz Chair. She adds a guest professorship at Japan´s Soai University and substantial periods of time devoted to community engagement work. What started with just individual personal appearances by Midori in classrooms and hospitals has blossomed over the last 22 years into four distinct organizations: Midori & Friends, Partners in Performance, Orchestra Residencies Program and Music Sharing.

Midori´s enthusiasm for playing and supporting the music of our time has blossomed into a significant and ongoing commitment. Over the years she has commissioned works for a great variety of forces. Over all, the individuals Midori has sought out to create new repertoire for the violin represent an impressive array of some of the most talented of today´s composers, including Rodion Shchedrin, Krzysztof Penderecki, Brett Dean, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Michael Hersch, Peter Eötvös and Johannes Maria Staud.

Midori was born in Osaka in 1971 and began studying the violin with her mother, Setsu Goto, at a very early age. Zubin Mehta first heard Midori play in 1982, and it was he who invited her to make her new legendary debut at the New York Philharmonic´s traditional New Year´s Eve concert, on which occasion she received a standing ovation and the impetus to begin a major career.

Today Midori lives in Los Angeles. In 2000, Midori received her bachelor´s degree in Psychology and Gender Studies at the Gallatin School of New York University and in 2005 earned her Master´s degree in Psychology. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by Yale University.

Midori (Website): www.gotomidori.com

Ab Koster

Ab KosterAb Koster was born in The Hague, Holland as the son of a Dutch hornist. He completed his studies at the Royal Conservatoire in his hometown with the honor of “Prix d’Exellence”. He then continued his studies at the Folkwang Universität der Künste in Essen with Hermann Baumann, who named him one of the “leading hornist of his generation”.

Starting in 1977, Ab Koster held the position of principal horn in the NDR-Sinfonieorchester in Hamburg, Germany until 1990. In order to accept the many invitations as a soloist and chamber musician, he left the orchestra in 1990. He exhibits his excellent soloistic mastery not only on the modern valved horn but also on the historical natural horn. The many years of collaberation with Jean-Pierre Rampal, Gustav Leonhardt, and Frans Brüggen (“Orchestra of the 18. Century”) as well as many solo performances, records, radio and TV recordings in various countries earned him an outstanding international reputation. Concert tours have led him to almost all countries in Northern, Western, and Eastern Europe as well as in the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Taiwan.

For years, Ab Koster belongs to the small circle of soloists who are sought after world-wide, on the natural horn as well as on the valved horn. In addition to this, he holds a professorship at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg. His interpretation of the concertos by Mozart and Strauss are particularly celebrated all over the world.

Ab Koster (Website): http://www.ab-koster.de/en/
Ab Koster (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004581912679/

Itamar Golan

Itamar GolanItamar Golan was born August in 1970 in Vilnius, and is of Israeli parentage. Golan immigrated to Israel with his parents when he was one. He studied piano with Lara Vodovoz and Emmanuel Krazovsky and gave his first recital at the age of seven.

From 1985 to 1989, a scholarship awarded by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation enabled him to continue his education in the United States at the New England Conservatory, where he was taught by Leonard Shure and Patricia Zanda. He also studied chamber music with Chaim Taub.
Golan then launched his career as a soloist and chamber pianist in the United States and Israel. His fame has grown as he has established himself as a chamber musician in high demand, paired with the virtuoso Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov, as well as Barbara Hendricks, Shlomo Mintz, Mischa Maisky, Matt Haimovitz, Tabea Zimmermann, Ida Haendel, and Julian Rachlin, among others. He is regularly invited to perform at the most famous concert halls and festivals, including those at Ravenna, Chicago, Tanglewood, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Verbier, and Lucerne. He also plays as a soloist with the Israel Philharmonic and the Berliner Philharmoniker under conductor Zubin Mehta.

Between 1991 and 1994, Golan taught at the Manhattan School of Music. Currently, he is professor of chamber music at the Conservatoire de Paris.