President

Prof. Julius Berger

Germany

For more than 40 years it is hardly to imagine the music scene without the cellist from Augsburg. Not just because he is a splendid performer that has been titled “the Prophet of cello” (W.-E.v.Lewinsky) by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung after his second recording of Bachs’ Cello-Suites: Julius Berger enriched the music world in diverse ways, as a performer, a teacher, an explorer and a thinker that doesn’t like beaten paths.

Bergers’ formative teachers were Fritz Kiskalt (Munich, Germany), Antonio Janigro (Salzburg, Austria), of whom he was the assistant for many years, and Zara Nelsova (Cincinnati, USA) . He had close contact with Mstislav Rostropovich, where he took studies initially and with whom he had numerous concert afterwards.

Important impulses for Berger’s artistic life came from collaborations with Leonard Bernstein, Olivier Messiaen, Sofia Gubaidulina and Gidon Kremer, who invited him numerous times to the Kammermusikfestival at Lockenhaus (Austria).

Julius Berger is requested as a solist and an instrumentalist wordwide, recorded various CDs and educates young talents. A lot of his former students are already acting as professors or solo-cellists in well-known orchestras, e.g. the Leipziger Gewandhausorchester.

That Julius Berger does not make a difference between the historical and the contemporary, but rather, in the sense of his teacher and friend Mstislav Rostropovich seeks the contact to living composers and promotes the emergence of new works by assignments and premieres certainly belongs to his great merits. Recent examples include works by Sofia Gubaidulina, Franghiz Ali-Zhadeh, Adriana Hölszky, Manuela Kerer, Krzysztof Meyer, Wilhelm Killmayer, Johannes X. Schachtner, Markus Schmitt, Giovanni Bonato, Hong Jun Seo, and others. In 2014 Julius Berger, together with his wife Hyun-Jung, they have premiered “Two Paths” by Sofia Gubaidulina for two violoncellos and orchestras at the “Seoul International Festival”. The work was performed as a European premiere at the Beethovenfest Bonn 2015.

Julius Berger also made an important contribution to the literature of his instrument by rediscovering and recording the works of Luigi Boccherini and Leonardo Leo as well as the oldest literature for violincello solo by Gabrielli and degli Antonii. He is at the same time editor of most of the works in exemplary Urtext editions.

Recently Julius Berger devoted himself mainly to researching the intellectual background of large standard works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and others. In his series “From the Idea to the Work” at the University of Augsburg, which he initiated, he develops language, sound, and historical references.

For many years, Julius Berger has been the artistic director of the festivals in Eckelshausen (Germany) and Asiago (Italy) and President of the International Instrumental Competition Markneukirchen (Germany).

In 2009, he was appointed a full member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz.

Julius Berger is looking for relaxation in the mountains. He is a passionate photographer and author of poems.

Jury category cello

Prof. Claudio Bohórquez

Germany/Peru/Uruguay

The German-born cellist of Peruvian-Uruguayan descent is one of the most sought-after musicians in his field. As a student of Boris Pergamenschikow, Claudio Bohórquez achieved success at an early age at international competitions such as the Tschaikowsky Youth Competition in Moscow and the Rostropovich Cello Competition in Paris.

This culminated in 2000 with three awards at the first International Pablo Casals Competition held under the auspices of the Kronberg Academy: Marta Casals Istomin presented Claudio Bohórquez with first prize, a special award for the best chamber music, and also the use of Casals’ Gofriller cello for a period of two years. He also won first prize at the International Music Competition in Geneva, an achievement that marked the start of his career as a soloist. Meanwhile he has become a teacher himself: from 2011 to 2016 he was professor at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart, in September 2016 he was appointed to the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" Berlin, where he has been a guest professor since 2003. 

Among others, Claudio Bohórquez has performed with almost all German radio orchestras, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Collegium Musicum Basel, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. In Japan, he performs with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. In the US, Claudio Bohórquez recently gave concerts with the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Renowned conductors Claudio Bohórquez has worked with include Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, Sir Neville Marriner, Eiji Oue, Krzysztof Penderecki, Leonard Slatkin, Tugan Sokhiev, Lothar Zagrosek and David Zinman.

Claudio Bohórquez is a guest at numerous festivals. Among them are the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, the City of London Festival, the Penderecki Festival in Warsaw and the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival. Appearances in the United States have included performances at the Tanglewood, Ravinia and Aspen Festival as well as the Hollywood Bowl. He participated in the chamber music festival Lockenhaus in Austria and at Gidon Kremer's festival "Les Musiques" in Basel. As a passionate chamber musician, he has performed together with Jörg Widmann in Bilbao/Madrid, and with Viviane Hagner and Jonathan Gilad at the Beethoven Marathon at Konzerthaus Berlin.

The past seasons have led the artist to many festivals, including: a. to the Rheingau Music Festival with the Columbian Youth Philharmonic under Andrés Orozco-Estrada, to the Dresden Music Festival with a Chamber Music Project together with the violinist Philippe Quint and the pianist Boris Giltburg, to the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Rheingau Music Festival. The upcoming season includes, among others, the Elbphilharmonie debut on November 8, 2018 and an Elgar cello concert with the Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg on February 15, 2019.

In addition to numerous CD recordings, radio recordings and television appearances Claudio Bohórquez worked as an interpreter for the soundtrack of Paul English by to the film "Ten Minutes Older - The Cello", which was shown in theaters worldwide. Together with the painter Klaus-Peter Kirchner, Claudio Bohórquez developed the installation project "Raum für Pablo Casals" in homage to this great cellist. He was part of the ECHO-winning album "Four Seasons" (2017) of Daniel Hope, released by Deutsche Grammophon. In July 2018 Berlin Classics will release a new CD with the sonatas of Johannes Brahms and some bonus tracks together with Claudio Bohórquez's duo partner Péter Nagy.

Since the season 2017/18 Claudio Bohórquez is Artistic Director of the Festival Winnenden.

Claudio Bohórquez plays a G. B. Rogeri violoncello presented to him by the Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg.

Prof. Csaba Onczay

Hungary

Prof. Marcin Zdunik

Poland

Polish cellist, soloist and chamber musician. His repertoire ranges from renaissance to contemporary music, he improvises, composes and performs his own arrangements.

Marcin Zdunik has been invited to perform at prestigious festivals - The BBC Proms Festival in London, Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano and Chopin and his Europe in Warsaw. Giving solo concerts in many European countries, the USA and Korea Marcin Zdunik has co-operated with many renowned ensembles, e.g. the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Prague Chamber Orchestra, the European Union Chamber Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and distinguished conductors, such as Andrey Boreyko, Antoni Wit and Tadeusz Strugała. He regularly shares the stage with reputable musicians - Nelson Goerner, Gerard Causse, Krzysztof Jabłoński, Krzysztof Jakowicz, Jose Gallardo and Modigliani Quartet. He performed with Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet and Tatjana Grindenko at the festival Chamber Music Connects the World in Kronberg.

He has performed as a soloist at many renowned concert halls, e.g. the National Philharmonic Concert Hall in Warsaw, the Rudolfinum in Prague, Carnegie Hall in New York, Cadogan Hall in London, Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, the Hermitage Theatre in St. Petersburg, Konzerthaus Dortmund and the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava. In the season 2016/17 he held the title of „Artist in Residence” of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw.

In 2007 Marcin Zdunik won the first prize at the VI Lutoslawski International Cello Competition in Warsaw (Poland). He was also awarded the Grand Prix for an outstanding performance of Lutoslawski’s Cello Concerto and received nine other prizes. In 2008 he represented the Polish Radio in Bratislava (Slovakia) at the International Forum of Young Performers (IFYP) organized by the European Broadcasting Union where he won the 2008 New Talent title.

In 2010 he got Polish TV Culture Award, Gwarancje Kultury and Fryderyk Music Award 2010 for the album: Haydn, Denisov „Cello Concertos”. More recently he recorded complete Robert Schumann’s works for cello and piano (2014, with Aleksandra Świgut), Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s “Fantasia for cello and orchestra” (2015, with Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra and Andres Mustonen) and a duo album „Bach Stories” including works by Johann Sebastian Bach and improvisations related to them (with Aleksander Dębicz, Warner Classics 2017). In 2022 he got awarded a prestigious Fryderyk Prize for two of his latest CD’s: Words of Mystery. Music for cello and choir album recorded with Camerata Silesia choir under the baton of Anna Szostak and Paweł Mykietyn Cello Concerto with the Symphony Orchestra of National Forum of Music in Wrocław directed by Bassem Akiki. Another of his recent recordings - complete Chopin Chamber Music performed with pianist Szymon Nehring and viola player Ryszard Groblewski was warmly received by the critics in Europe.

Zdunik studied with reputable musicians - Julius Berger (Augsburg University) and Andrzej Bauer (F. Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw). He also graduated from the University of Warsaw earning the master’s degree in musicology. He is currently a member of instrumental faculty at the Music Academy in Gdańsk (Poland) and at the Fryderyk Chopin Music University in Warsaw (Poland). He holds a title of professor since April 2021.

Prof. Valentin Erben

Austria

Valentin Erben was born in 1945 in Pernitz, lower Austria. Since 1947 his family lived in Augsburg, Germany. His mother, a pianist, and his father, an amateur violinist and cellist, often invitides friends and musicians to make housemusic together.

This way Valentin Erben got in contact with music very early. He received his first „cello“ – it was a converted viola – at the age of four years. After his first steps with the cello, shown by his father, he started taking lessons in the age of eight years with Paul Freidel, who was the principal cellist ot the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and a student of Julius Klengel.

Influenced by many beautiful musical experiences and meetings – for example numerous concerts at the Hercules Hall in Munich, including unforgetable impressions like listening to Rudolf Serkin, the Veghquartett as well as the representatives of the great french cello tradition like Pierre Fournier, Maurice Gendron and Paul Tortelier. He also made a trip to Pablo Casals in the french Pyrenees. Because of all these impressions, Valentin knew that he want to become a cellist.

1960 Valentin Erben began his cello studies with Walter Reichardt at the Munich Academy of Music. In July 1963 he attended a masterclass at Siena. This experience was very important for his future: he met the famous cellist and pedagogue André Navarra.

1964 he finished his degree at the Academy in Munich and then contiued his studies in Vienna with Tobias Kühne, a former student of Navarra. In February 1965 he performed Schumann cello concerto in the Great Hall of the Wiener Konzerthaus.

From 1965 to 1968 Valentin Erben studied with André Navarra at the Conservatoire in Paris, which was a very important time for him. He also studied chamber music with Jean Hubeau and Joseph Calvet. He received the „Premier Prix“ for cello and chamber music.

In September 1968 he won the international cello competition ARD in Munich.

Back to Vienna, in spring of 1969 he was co-founder of the Alban Berg Quartet. A union of four musicians that should mark the international string quartet scene for almost 40 years.

From 2004 to 2007 Valentin Erben was a also a member of the Lucern Festival Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado.

In June 2013 Valentin Erben retired from the University of Music in Vienna., where he has tought for over 40 years.

Valentin Erben plays the famous cello by Matteo Goffriller 1722 - "Ex - Pierre Fournier" and "Ex - Yoyo Ma" – kindly on loan from Merito String Instruments Trust GmbH. 

To a busy schedule of concerts as a soloist and chamber musician, additionally he gives musica lectures, masterclasses in chamber music, collaboration with composers, singers and dancers.

Prof. Josef Schwab

Germany

Prof. Hae Guen Kang

South Korea

Prof. Gustavo Tavares

Brazil/Norway

Cellist Gustavo Tavares is a Doctor of Musical Arts and a versatile musician, playing frequently with classical as well as jazz and popular artists.

He has performed throughout his home country, Brazil, and in some of the most famous concert halls and festivals around the world. He has appeared as a soloist as well as a conductor with many orchestras, including the Orchestra d’Archi Italiana, the National Theater Orchestra in Brasí­lia, and the Johannesburg Philharmonic.

He has been described as “one of the most important Brazilian names in the classical music of our time” (Correio Braziliense, 3.27.2005) and is considered a specialist on Latin American music. In 1995, together with clarinettist Paquito d’Rivera and pianist Pablo Zinger, he created the ensemble Triangulo, which according to American critic C. Berg helped “redefine the basic assumptions of chamber music.” With this ensemble he has presented a diverse Latin American music repertoire for audiences throughout the world, and the ensemble recorded several CDs. One of the ensemble recordings was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001, and yet another was listed as “Record of the Year, 1997″ by the Brazilian newspaper”O Estado de São Paulo.”

Also active as an arranger, his work has been performed and recorded by artists such as YoYo Ma and the Buenos Aires String Quartet. He has been a student of Antonio Janigro at the Stuttgart Musik Hochschule, in Germany, where he graduated with the highest marks in 1986, and, while working towards his Doctorate, was also Bernard Greenhouse’s assistant at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Gustavo Tavares enjoys teaching and this activity has brought him in contact with talented young musicians, not only in well established conservatories and festivals of many countries but also in poor neighborhoods of Africa and the Americas.