Jury

Vladimir Kharin

Professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts, in Vienna. Director of the programme for highly gifted students

Vladimir Kharin

Vladimir Kharin was born in 1974 in Moscow. His education began in the special music school for highly gifted students, at the Moscow Tschaikowsky Conservatory.

At the young age of 11 years old, he gave his first concert, and at the age of 13 he made his debut playing with an orchestra. Many of his concerts were broadcast live on Russian TV and radio.

After graduating in 1992, he studied in the Moscow Tschaikowsky under Evgeny Malinin and Lev Naumov, both representatives of the famous “Neuhausschen Piano School”.

In 1998 he was awarded a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service, which enabled him to study further with Michael Roll and Boris Bloch, at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany. During his studies in Germany, the pianist was sponsored by the Werner-Richard-Dr.Carl Dörken Foundation, and the Annemarie&Fritz Schlesinger Foundation. He was awarded with distinction in both his final exam and his graduate recital. Participation in masterclasses with Vitaly Margulis, Oleg Maisenberg and Dmitri Bashkirov gave an extra edge to his musical education. As the winner of international piano competitions, Kharin has been invited to perform at numerous solo piano concerts, chamber music evenings, and concerts with orchestra in Germany, the CIS countries, France, Italy, Japan and China. On several occasions, he has given recitals at the Ruhr Piano Festival. Vladimir Kharin can be heard on many CDs, for example with the Duisburger Philharmonic under Jonathan Darlington.

Between 2005 and 2010 Kharin taught in the Folkwang-Hochschule, in Essen, Germany. In 2009 he became the director of piano instruction at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, in the programme for highly gifted students. His students have become renowned for winning international piano competitions such as the Pancho-Vladigeroff Competition (Bulgaria), The Steinway-Competition in Hamburg (Germany), The Smetana International Piano Competition in Pilsen (The Czech Republic), The International Competition for Pianists “Ivan Rijavec“ in Idrija (Slovenia), The Chopin Competition in Szafarnia (Poland), The Wiener Pianisten Competition, The International Jenö-Takács Piano Competition for Young Pianists in Oberschützen (Austria) and many others.

Oleg Poliansky

Concert Pianist, Chamber Musician and winner of numerous awards at International Competitions Oleg Poliansky was born in 1968 in Kiev, Ukraine and has won numerous prizes form international competitions. In addition to the Tschaikowsky Competition in 1998 in Moscow, he won in 1986 in Tokio, Japan; in 1988 in Montreal, Canada; in 1997 the “International Duo Competition in memoriam Christian Ferras und Pierre Barbizet“ in Marseille, France; in 1999, the “World Piano Competition“ in Cincinnati, USA; and in 1998 and 2003 “Citta di Cantú” in Italy.

He has performed in some of the world’s most famous concert halls and has played as a soloist alongside renowned orchestras such as the Moscow Soloists, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, the Novosibirsk Symphony Orchestra, the Ural Symphony Orchestra Jekaterinenburg, Budapest Strings, Neue Philharmonie Westfalen, Sinfonietta Hungarica, Junge Philharmonie Köln, Thüringer Philharmonie Gotha, National Orchestra of Malta, KBS National Radio Orchestra of Korea, Stettiner Philharmonic, and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra with Myung-Whun Chung.

His solo recitals have also been very well received by critics and the public alike. He is a regular guest at international festivals in Europe, USA and Asia. Of particular note, are his recordings for various Russian and German radio broadcasters, and his CD project with the cellist Lázsló Fenyö.

Oleg Poliansky is also a prolific chamber musician and has worked with greats such as Pavel Gililov, Henry Sigfridsson, Pierre Amoyal, Sayaka Shoji, Mayuko Kamio, Mayu Kishima, Mikhail Ovrutsky, Natasha Korsakova, Erik Schumann, Leticia Munoz-Moreno, Boris Pergamenschikow(†), Kirill Rodin, Lázsló Fenyö, Tatjana Vassilieva and Dmitri Sitkovetsky.

In 2010 und 2011 he was at the centre of an extraordinary project in which the works for piano and orchestra by Liszt, and all the piano concertos by Prokofjew were performed in Kiev with the National Symphony Orchestra, and in Europe with various other orchestras.

Amongst his teachers were Aleksander Aleksandrow at the Gnessin Institute in Moscow; Sergej Dorensky at the Moscow Conservatory and Pavel Gililov at the Music College in Cologne. Oleg Poliansky has been living in Cologne since 1993, and since 2007, he has been the professor of piano in the Music Dozent College.

Oleg Poliansky

Classical Pianist and Pedagogue - Royal Danish Academy of Music

team-3
Irina Mints

Concert Pianist, Piano Teacher and Author of Instructional Books – from Germany

Irina Mints

Concert Pianist, Piano Teacher and Author of Instructional Books – from Germany 


Irina Mints is a concert pianist and piano teacher from Germany and has been highly successful in educating young pianists. She is a co-author of the book “Hello, Piano”, the piano method book for beginners.

Since 2008, her students have won over 200 prizes and scholarships in renowned competitions in Germany Italy, USA, Poland and Austria, including


  • International Steinway Piano Competition in Hamburg (Germany),
  • International Carmel Piano Competition in Carmel (USA)
  • International Competition “Chopin for the Youngest” in Antonin (Poland),
  • International FEURICH Competition in Vienna (Austria),
  • International Competition for young musicians in Città di Barletta (Italy), 
  • International Chopin Piano Competition for young pianists Rzeszow (Poland),
  • International Piano Competition Golden Key in Frankfurt am Main (Germany),
  • International Piano Competition in Görlitz/Zgorzelec (Germany/Poland), 
  • National Small Schuhmann Competition in Zwickau (Germany)
  • National Bach Competition in Köthen (Germany)
  • National Mendelssohn Competition in Kronberg (Germany)
  • National Competition “Jugend musiziert” 2015“ in Hamburg and “Jugend musiziert” 2017 in Paderborn (Germany)

Her students have appeared in Carnegie Hall in New York, the Royal Albert Hall and St. John’s Smith Square in London, in the Musikverein in Vienna and the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg.

Irina Mints was born in Charkiw, Ukraine and has been living in Germany since 1995. At the age of five years old she took her first piano lesson and discovered her calling.  


She studied at the Music College and the University for Music and Performing Arts in Charwik. She studied piano under Prof. Sergei Polusm, and took masterclasses with Prof. Regina Horowitz (sister of the world-famous pianist Vladimir Horowitz). She won various awards during this time for her performances as a soloist and accompanist for classical and romantic music. In 1985 she graduated with four fields of expertise: concert pianist, soloist in chamber ensembles, accompanist and piano teacher.


She began to teach piano at the age of 20 – and that has remained her greatest passion to this day. As a pianist, she performed at concerts and international festivals such as the Residenz-Festspielen in Darmstadt, Germany, den Nibelungen-Festspielen in Worms, the Philharmonie in Charkiw, the Gorki-Theater in Berlin, the Stahlburger Theater in Frankfurt am Main and the Goethe-Theater in Bad Lauchstädt, Germany.


Irina Mints gives masterclasses in Europe, China and USA and has been a member of the jury at many national and international piano competitions in the Ukraine, Europe, and the USA. She has been running her own private music school “Minz” in Friedberg, Germany, since 2002. Many years of experience in performance and teaching mean that she gives lessons of the highest quality. She is also a member of the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA), for Germany.

Music begins where words end

Christian Kliber is a classical pianist and pedagouge, born in Copenhagen in 1980. At 16, he won 1st prize in Berlingske Tidende Classical Music Competition and subsequently won the Steinway Piano Festival twice in a row. Furthermore he won the top prize at the International Greta Erikson Piano Competition (2000). He then studied piano performance with the top celebrity pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and Prof. Niklas Sivelöv at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. In 2010 he co-founded the Copenhagen Piano School, which has since helped many talents and piano amateurs grow and develop their pianistic skills.

Christian Kliber

Classical Pianist and Pedagogue - Royal Danish Academy of Music

Mag.A Regina Renzowa Jürgens

She was born in Brno / CZ and sang from the 2nd year of life. After completing her Matura at the Gymnasium in Brno, she studied singing and singing pedagogic at the Leoš Janáček Music Academy in Brno. She successfully completed her studies in 1982 and debuted with the role of Desdemona (Otello von G.Verdi) at the opera of the Theater in Troppau / CZ, followed by a solo engagement at the State Theater in Moravian Ostrava / CZ. For political reasons she was no longer allowed to work as a soloist and has accepted a choir at the National Theater in Prague. However after 5 months she left Czechoslovakia and went to Germany. There she had her foot in 1987 at the Opernchor der Oper Frankfurt / M. caught. She has become a soloist of the Radio Orchester of Hesse Radio und Television, and has sang concerts under the direction of Peter Falk. She has won prizes in several singing competitions (Bregenz 1991, Hamburg 1992, Vienna 1993). From 1992 onwards, she became a sololist of the City Ttheater Kaiserslautern and was given a guest performance at the State Theater in Wiesbaden, Darmstadt and other cities in Germany. From the season 1996/7 until 2001/2 she was to be seen in the title and main roles at the Volksoper in Vienna. Sang under the direction of Prof.L.Hager, Prof.R Bibl, B.de Billy, Asher Fisch, A.Eschwé and others. Numerous tours to Japan, all Asia and performances with RSO BR, TV ORF, ARD and ZDF joined. From 2002, she was a soloist of the National Theater in Brno, where she sang the double role of the Marietta / Marie in Korn-gold's The Dead City at the E.W.Korngold Festival in 2002 and won the National Prize THALIE 2002. He then worked with RSO Prague and performed at the Prague Spring 2004 Festival, soloist roles at the Pilsen Opera in 2006-2011 and Master Class in Beijing 2006-2009. Since 2011 she has been teaching voice and classical singing at the State Conservatory in Brno / CZ. Their students were singing at various charity and education concerts in Vienna. She also gives private lessons in Vienna in the piano gallery Feurich Wien.

Prof. Mag. Helga Meyer-Wagner

Born and raised in Vienna, the renowned teacher studied at the University and Academy of Music (today University for Music and Performing Arts). Under the name Helga Wagner she enjoyed an international carreer as opera and concert singer: 1966 as alto singer at Wiener Volksoper, 1969-1976 as mezzo-soprano at Landestheater Linz, where she changed to dramatic sopranist. Years of various performances in Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland followed until 1997 (Wiener Staatsoper, Wiener Volksoper, Salzburger Festspiele, Bregenzer Festspiele, Hamburg, Duesseldorf, Wuerzburg, Kassel, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Basel, Zurich, Prague etc.)

Singer:
Her repertoire in the opera contains about 100 parts in three vocal registers. As she changed her voice register during her carreer, she sang different parts in some operas like Ottavia and Poppea in Monteverdis L'incoronazione di Poppea, Marcellina and Countess in Mozarts Le Nozze di Figaro, Ulrica and Amelia in Verdis Un ballo in maschera, Oktavian and Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier (Cavalier of the Rose) as well as Elektra and Klytemnestra by Richard Strauss. She had amazing success in the contemporary opera as Katja Ismailowa in Lady Macbeth by Mzensk, Schostakowitsch, Schönbergs Erwartung and Mathis der Maler (Expectation and Mathis the Painter), Cardillac by Hindemith, Melusine and Das Schloss (The Castle) by Reimann.

Teacher:
1990 – 1993 at the drama school of Wiener Volkstheater, since 1992 at Konservatory of the City of Vienna (today KWU), since 1993 in the departements for voice solo and music pedagogy (today Institute Antonio Salieri) at the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna. 1995 she implemented the discipline Ensemble Practice at the conservatory: Students worked out musical and scenic opera sections and performed them in schools. The young school audience reacted enthousiastic on this opera experience, proofed by noumerous feedbacks. Until today she is frequently invited to realise her proven project in workshops and summer classes to prepare young talents for the real situation in opera establishment.

Helga Meyer-Wagner is founder and president of EVTA-Austria (Bund Österreichischer Gesangspädagogen/Federation of Austrian Voice Pedagoges) and editor of the spezial interest magazine vox humana, published in cooperation by BDG and EVTA-Austria. For her merits on the mediation of cultural values she was honoured with the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art in 2014.

Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin

Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin was born in 1968 in Moscow and is a renowned Austrian pianist and composer. In 2007, the premiere of her violin concerto Mahagony was performed in Carnegie Hall with David Bowlin as soloist and the Bulgarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, directed by Stefan Linev. In 2009 the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave the premiere of her work Kastena in the Chamber Series at the Art Institute Chicago.

Premieres of her works have been held in: Musikverein, Wiener Konzerthaus, Merkin Concert Hall New York, Austrian Culture Forum New York, Chicago Cultural Centre, Parliament of Canada, Villa Massimo, Nordic House Faroe Islands, Flagey Brussels, Megaron Athene, State Opera Donetsk, Sibelius Academy, Palacio da Justica Manaus, Komitas Chamber House Yerevan und Klaus-von-Bismarck Köln, as well as at numerous Festivals: Aspekte Salzburg, Klangspuren, Kiev-MusicFest, ppIANISSIMO Sofia, International Review of Composers Belgrade.

For the Mozart Year 2006, she was commissioned to compose the piece Annäherung, which was presented as a part of the VIVA! Mozart exhibition in Salzburg museum, with over 219,000 visitors.

Interpreters of her works include such names as Johannes Kalitzke, David Fulmer, Katinka Kleijn, Artem Nyzhnyk, Hayk Melikyan, Alexander Janiczek, Per Rundberg, Dimo Dimov, Orchestras and Ensembles such as ICE – International Contemporary Ensemble New York, RSO Wien, Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, Pazardjik Symphony Orchestra, Zaporozhye Symphony Orchestra, öenm Salzburg, Wiener Collage, die Reihe, Cantus Zagreb. She has received commissions from Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, Wiener Konzerthaus, WDR, ORF, Aspekte Salzburg, Ensemble PHACE, HAMS Competition Chicago.

She was awarded the Austrian state award "Outstanding Artist Award in Music" in 2013 for her composition Elimo. Further Prizes include: Austrian State Scholarship for Composition (2001, 2006, 2010), a subsidy from the City of Vienna, Aaron Copland Fellowship MacDowell Colony/USA, Wiener Symphoniker Stipendium, Theodor-Körner Preis, Winner of the Young Composers Project – ICE, a year’s Scholarship,Salzburg.

Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin studied composition with Boguslaw Schaeffer and piano with Alfons Kontarsky at Mozarteum Salzburg. Before this, she had studied piano with Dimo Dimov and Boyan Vodenitcharov at the State Music Academy in Sofia, and also with Sergei Solodovnik at the Music College Ippolitov-Ivanov in Moscow. She lives in Vienna and since 2002 has been professor of piano, composition and chamber music at the Prayner Conservatory in Vienna.

Elena Cobb

In contrast to many other piano teachers who also compose music, Elena Cobb quickly realised that it would be up to her to actually publish her works. The book Higgledy Piggledy Jazz for Piano, was her first publication, which was also released in China. Within only a few years, the name elenacobb.com had developed a reputation for high quality material.

A milestone was reached upon the foundation of the British publisher EVC Music Publications Ltd, founded by Elena Cobb. Here she published a variety of inspirational piano pieces for concerts, competitions and festivals – all adapted to suit the new generation of virtuosi of all levels. Since summer 2016, all teaching material by EVC Music Publications Ltd. has been distributed worldwide by Alfred Music UK.

Pieces by EVC are often used in public concerts and are commonly part of the repertoire at international piano competitions in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia. They are often heard in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, such as Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall London and the Royal Albert Hall.

Elena Cobb

Concert Piano Teacher, Composer and Music Publisher

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