EINAR STEEN-NØKLEBERG (Norway) - website
Einar Steen-Nøkleberg is a leading Norwegian pianist, having made continuous international appearances and more than 50 recordings. He studied with Nicolai Dirdal and Hans Leygraf. His international career has included repeated solo recitals in London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow, Mexico City, New York, Hamburg and Copenhagen. He toured the U.S.A. and the former Soviet Union several times. Concerto appearances include the London Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Copenhagen Royal Chapel, the China Philharmonic, Beijing, the Yumiori Philharmonic Orchestra and the NHK in Tokyo and the Oslo and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestras in Norway.
Among other prizes and distinctions, some of the most important are the German Hochschulwettbewerb, the Norwegian Piano Competition in 1972, the Norwegian Critics' Prize for Best Performance in 1975 (for the interpretation in Grieg's Piano Concerto at the Bergen Festival), the Norwegian Recording of the Year in 1976 for a recital of Norwegian Baroque Composers, the Lindeman Prize ("Performer of the Year") 1984, the Grieg Prize in 1985 (Bergen) and 1992 (Oslo). He is a Knight of the St. Olav Order, appointed by the King of Norway for his activities for Norwegian music in general.
Among other prizes and distinctions, some of the most important are the German Hochschulwettbewerb, the Norwegian Piano Competition in 1972, the Norwegian Critics' Prize for Best Performance in 1975 (for the interpretation in Grieg's Piano Concerto at the Bergen Festival), the Norwegian Recording of the Year in 1976 for a recital of Norwegian Baroque Composers, the Lindeman Prize ("Performer of the Year") 1984, the Grieg Prize in 1985 (Bergen) and 1992 (Oslo). His recording of the Grieg concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra was chosen by the BBC Saturday Review as the best version of this much-recorded concerto. He is a Knight of the St. Olav Order, appointed by the King of Norway for his activities for Norwegian music in general.
"Listening to these recordings gave us a musical shock not heard from any other strong pianistic personalities. With delicate nuances Einar Steen-Nøkleberg brings out the inner charm of Grieg's music. His brilliant and sensitive interpretations are magic and put him above the earlier recordings of these works."
Diapason CD Review, Paris February 1996 - (Nine Stars of Nine Possible)
"Einar Steen-Nøkleberg has tremendous sensitivity to Grieg's multiple nuances of mood, colour and character throughout the discs. His playing brims in turn charm, pathos, nostalgia, simplicity, drama and whatever else is needed -invariably appropriate, straightforward, unaffected and vivid. The Holberg Suite has a performance of unparalleled vigour and charm. It's almost impossible to imagine this music better interpreted."
BBC Music Magazine, London, March 1996 - review of Grieg Piano Music, Vols 1 - 4 / (Five Stars out of Five Possible)
AMARAL VIEIRA (Brazil) - website
Born in São Paulo in 1952, Amaral Vieira is one of the most versatile and complete Brazilian musicians of his generation. After musical studies in Brazil with Souza Lima and Arthur Hartmann, he joined the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Paris where he was mentored by Lucette Descaves and Olivier Messiaen. Graduated from the University of Music in Freiburg, Germany, Vieira was invited by the British Council to perfect his knowledge in London with the Hungarian pianist Louis Kentner.
His phonographic achievements, as a composer and/or performer, count more than 120 titles (published in LPs, Cassettes and CDs), presenting a vast repertoire (with particular emphasis on Liszt) which includes his own compositions, which exceed 500 works. These recordings are being distributed in Brazil, Europe, Japan and the United States.
He received numerous distinctions: 10 awards as a pianist, 17 as a composer, and more than 50 in recognition of his artistic work in Brazil, France, Germany, England, Hungary and Japan. Amaral Vieira received the title of Professor Emeritus from the Soka University of Japan. He held the presidency of the Brazilian Society of Musicology in the triennium 1993/1995, and in 1998 the composer took office of the Presidency of the Brazilian Society of Contemporary Music, having finished his term in December 2001. He was President of the Dramatic and Musical Conservatory Foundation of São Paulo from 2001 to 2008. Besides Brazil, his concert tours have included almost all countries of Europe, South America, Middle East, China, Japan and Taiwan.
Among his honors, Vieira has been the recipient of the Arthur Honegger International Composition Award, a Grand Prix International (Fondation de France), Hungary's Liszt Award, and Japan's Min-On Award. His work has more than 160 compositions. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Music and holds 10 prizes as a performer and 16 awards has a composer. He has performed more than 72 recordings, focused on Liszt's work and on his own compositions.
VOVKA ASHKENAZY (Russia / Iceland) website
Vovka Ashkenazy, who is of Russian and Icelandic parentage, made his debut in London at the Barbican Centre in 1983 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Richard Hickox, performing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto. Since then, his career has taken him all across Europe, and to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Americas. He has participated in the Marlboro Festival in Vermont, as well as the Edinburgh and Spoleto festivals. Orchestras he has appeared with include nearly all the major British orchestras as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Australian Chamber, the Berlin Symphony, the Berne Symphony and the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestras. Conductors he has worked with include his father, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Semyon Bychkov, Martin Fischer-Dieskau and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, the Sydney Opera House, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Festival Hall, London.
Vovka Ashkenazy is very active as a chamber musician and has recorded a CD of Italian music for clarinet and piano with Dimitri Ashkenazy, his brother, with whom he toured Japan in 1997, 2000 and 2002. He has also performed and recorded with his father, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and their recordings on DECCA include Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Rachmaninoff’s Suite for Piano Four Hands, Schumann’s Andante and Variations for Two Pianos, Two Cellos and Horn, a 2009 release of a CD with French music for two pianos, and a 2011 release of a two-piano CD entitled Russian Fantasy, which includes transcriptions by Vovka Ashkenazy of Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances, as well as Mussogsky’s Night on the Bald Mountain. A further two-piano recording, with music by Howard Blake, came out in 2013.
Alongside his concert activities, Vovka Ashkenazy also devotes his time to teaching and master classes. He was Professor of Piano at the Conservatoire Gabriel Fauré in Angoulême, France, from 1998 until 2007, when he moved to Switzerland. In addition to his post at the International Piano Academy in Imola, he also teaches on the Master of Advanced Studies in Performance and Interpretation at the Conservatory of Italian Switzerland (CSI) in Lugano.
ALEKSANDAR SERDAR (Serbia) - website
Aleksandar Serdar...clearly thoughtful musician with imagination and personality - Gramophone, February 1999
Aleksandar Serdar was born in 1967 in Belgrade, Serbia. He graduated in 1988 from the “Academy of Arts of Novi Sad”, and received in 1992 his Master of Music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore where he studied with Leon Fleisher for five years. Later and continued studies with Sergio Perticaroli at the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome.
Aleksandar Serdar won several international Awards including Monza, Carlo Zecchi, Vercelli-Italy, Palm Beach and Cincinnati in the USA , Arthur Rubinstein in Tel Aviv (4th prize), to mention a few. Aleksandar Serdar played in Italy (Conservatory hall in Milano, Palermo, Venezia, Roma, ), United States (namely Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington DC), France (Paris-Musée d’Orsay, Auditorium du Louvre, Théâtre du Châtelet, and Festivals such as La Roque-d'Anthéron, Sully-sur-Loire, St.Riquier, Piano aux Jacobins, Radio France Montpelier), Switzerland (at the prestigious Zürich Tonhalle), Russia (at the Saint Petersburg Festival and Moscow), Israel, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia (in Ljubljana, Bled Festival, Celje, Velenje, Gorizia), Croatia (Zagreb and Dubrovnik Summer Festival), Brazil, Peru, Portugal (Lisbon Festival "Folle Journée"), Morocco, Lebanon (Al Bustan Festival in Beirut), Thailand, Japan, Canada, Luxembourg, Germany (Münich, Nürnberg, Hamburg-Schleswig Holstein Festival).
Aleksandar Serdar played with such orchestras as the Dresden Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Bremen Philharmonic, Slovenian Philharmonic, Slovenian Radio Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic, San José Philharmonic, Cincinnati Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lille, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Belgrade Philharmonic, Zagreb Philharmonic, Athens Philharmonic, Vancouver Island Symphony, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Santa Cecilia and conductors such as Marcello Viotti, Erich Kunzel, Emil Tabakov, Mendi Rodan, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Milan Natchev, Jeansuk Kahidze.
Aleksandar Serdar’s first CD, released by EMI Classics, in 1988 arouse strong interest from promoters and the press. His second double disc has been released in Luxembourg in December 2004. He has recorded recently a first CD for the Serbian discographic house PGP with baroque repertoire. His next release is Brahms' Concerto Νo. 2 with Belgrade Radio Orchestra. From 1999 Aleksandar Serdar is a senior professor at the Academy of Music in Belgrade and appears as a Jury member at the national and international piano competitions. Currently, Serdar is a Professor of Piano at the Music Academy of the Ljubljana University and at the Academy of Arts in Belgrade.
DINO MASTROYIANNIS (Greece) - website
"You are a true Apostle of my music" - Mikis Theodorakis
"Dino Mastroyiannis belongs to the group of eminent Greek pianists." - Roberto Szidon
"Ihre Leistung technisch wie musikalisch durchaus dem internationalen Niveau entspricht." - Paul Badura-Skoda
"Dino Mastroyiannis est un musicien vrai et très sensible." - Konstantin Ganev
“This pianist is well known as ‘The Music Ambassador of Greece’. We would also add that this title is rightly chosen…” - Newspaper “DAN” (Montenegro)
"Riscoprendo il Mozart più segreto" - newspaper "Libertà" (Italy)