Foreign Guests

Avner Arad – Israeli-born pianist Avner Arad has performed throughout North America and Europe as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. Performance highlights have included engagements at such venues as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Cologne’s Kölner Philharmonie, Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts, and the Kennedy Center. He was a recipient of Carnegie Hall’s Distinctive Debuts Award, first-prize winner of the Koussevitzky Memorial Competition and Young Keyboard Artists International Piano Competition, and twice winner of the Juilliard School’s Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. His critically acclaimed recordings include Bach’s Goldberg Variations, the complete waltzes by Chopin and an all-Schumann CD on MSR Classics label, as well as the complete piano works of Janáček on Helicon Records. After receiving the Sharett Scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Mr. Arad worked with Barry Snyder at the Eastman School of Music. He graduated from the Curtis Institute as a pupil of Seymour Lipkin, and received his master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Rudolf Firkušný and Emanuel Ax.

Sara Davis Buechner – is an American pianist now residing in Vancouver, Canada, where she is Head of Graduate Piano Studies at the University of British Columbia. After studies with Rudolf Firkušný at the Juilliard School, she won prizes in numerous International Piano Competitions including a Bronze Medal at the Tchaikowsky Competition in Moscow. With a repertoire of over 100 piano concertos, she has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s prominent orchestras, and her numerous recordings have received critical appraisal internationally. Ms. Buechner is chief music consultant to Dover Publications and presents lectures and masterclasses worldwide, at venues such as the Juilliard School in New York, the Royal Academy in London, and the Senzoku Conservatory of Tokyo, Japan.
» Internet site

Douglas Buys – Douglas Buys received his bachelors and masters degrees from the Juilliard School as a scholarship student of Rudolf Firkusny. As a teenager he was sponsored by the French government to study in Paris and Fontainebleau with the Casadesus family and Nadia Boulanger. He has appeared in recital and with orchestras in the United States and Europe, most notably in two-piano repertory with Firkusny. Recent concerts have taken him to summer festivals in Vermont and California, and he has given and taught masterclasses and recitals at the San Francisco Conservatory, Boston University, the Universities of California and Idaho . In 1988 Mr. Buys received the Presidential Certificate for Excellence in Teaching at a National Press Club ceremony with George Bush senior. Mr. Buys currently teaches at the New England Conservatory and had previously taught at Duke University and the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Richard Cionco – American pianist, has performed as soloist with many of the world’s orchestras. In Europe, he has performed concerts with the Slovak Sinfonietta and with the North Bohemian Philharmonia as a finalist in the 1993 Prague Spring International Music Competition. He has delighted audiences in major American concert halls as well as in Denmark, Canada, China, Japan, and Taiwan. Mr. Cionco is a graduate of the University of Maryland and The Juilliard School, studying with Rudolf Firkušný, Thomas Schumacher, and Audrey Bart Brown. He was a Teaching Fellow and Assistant to David Dubal at The Juilliard School for four years, and he joined the piano faculty at California State University, Sacramento in 1993. He also teaches and performs at the Orfeo International Music Festival in northern Italy and the Sulzbach-Rosenberg Int’l Music Festival in Germany each summer.
» Internet site

Carlo Grante – The Italian pianist, graduated in Piano performance with Sergio Perticaroli at the Conservatoire of Rome, then he continued his studies in the USA with Ivan Davis, graduating at the University of Miami, and with Rudolf Firkušný at the Juilliard School of New York. Later he moved to London, where he studied with Alice Kezeradze. Carlo Grante is one of the most active and accomplished recording artists of his generation and his concert activity features a wide array of repertoire that includes also works of contemporary composers. Carlo Grante has held concerts in numerous important Italian and foreign musical centres. He played as a soloist with many major Italian and foreign orchestras (e.g. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, Staatskapelle Dresden, Vienna Symphony, Accademia di S. Cecilia in Rome, etc.). Carlo Grante's discography includes more than forty titles, featuring works by Platti, Clementi, Liszt, Busoni, Chopin, Rachamaninoff and is in the process of recording the complete works by Godowsky and the complete Sonatas by Scarlatti (first complete piano recording).
» Internet site

Eduardus Halim – pianist and teacher, born in Indonesia. Studied at the Juilliard School under guidance of Sascha Gorodnitzki and Rudolf Firkušný. Additionaly, he was to become the last private student of the legendary piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz (himself a friend and admirer of Mr. Firkušný). Winning the Young Concert Artists International Auditions 1989. Eduardus Halim has been hailed as a pianist whose virtuosity is only matched by his distinctive artistry. Eduardus Halim's distinctive approach to the piano is matched by a charismatic personality. Eduardus Halim is currently a „Sasha Gorodnitzky Chair“ professor at the Artist Faculty of New York University.
» Internet site

Anya Laurence – Canadian pianist Anya Laurence studied with Maestro Firkusny privately in New York City for five years. At the end of that time she gave her Carnegie Hall recital debut. Following this, Anya became assistant to the director at the Landowska Center in Lakeville, Connecticut. Moving back to Canada she then became Artist-in Residence at the University of Guelph in Ontario. During that time she toured with the actor, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr, playing sonatas composed by his father, the great violinist, and Efrem Jr. Anya has had four books published, and has written twice about Rudolf Firkusny for Clavier Magazine. She also writes for the internet at Suite 101, where she has articles about Maestro Firkusny and Sara Davis Buechner. Anya is the wife of the Rev. Andreas Thiel,who had a concert career before entering the ministry. They live in St.Marys, Ontario, Canada.

Donna Lee – The American pianist, made her solo debut in 1990 with the National Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed in Asia, Europe and throughout the US, with recent performances in Hong Kong, Beijing, China and Puerto Rico. Donna Lee earned her doctorate from Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, her Masters from The Juilliard School, and her bachelor of music degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied with prominent artist-professors Julian Martin, Rudolf Firkušný and Thomas Schumacher. Donna Lee is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Piano Division at Kent State University, she also co-directs the Piano Institute at Kent State and artist-faculty at Kent/Blossom Chamber Music in Ohio and Brevard Music Center in North Carolina.

Ulrich Schmid has established a distinguished career as cello soloist throughout Europe and the United States. Born in Bern, Switzerland, he was accepted at a young age into the masterclass of Paul Tortelier at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. He studied with André Navarra at Musikhochschule in Detmold, Germany and later became his assistant before he began teaching his own cello class at the same university. He held the position of principal cellist with the Bielefeld Philharmonic (Germany) as well as with the orchestra of the State Theater in Darmstadt (Germany). A recipient of the renowned Diploma d'Onore in Siena (Italy), Ulrich Schmid performs on the magnificent Italian master cello built by Testore in 1760. His compact disc recordings of the concerti by Bloch, Villa-Lobos, Honegger, Stamitz and Mozart (Bassoon Concerto) have enhanced his excellent reputation.

Annlynn Miller - is widely acclaimed as an extraordinarily dynamic and sensitive concert pianist. Her all-encompassing repertoire of solo and chamber music and her extensive recordings have enabled her to captivate audiences in major cities throughout the United States and Europe.Annlynn Miller was born in New York City and pursued her musical education at the Juilliard School of Music and Sarah Lawrence College. It was Rudolf Firkusny who recommended further studies with Professor Bruno Seidlhofer at the Vienna Musikakademie. Before accepting the position Professor of Piano at the Richard-Strauss-Conservatory in Munich, Annlynn Miller had been invited to participate in the legendary Beethoven master class in Italy of Wilhelm Kempff . She later established her piano class, renowned for its many prize winners, in Switzerland, where she now resides.
» Internet site of Duo Miller-Schmid

Dora Nováková – Wilmington – pianist of Czech origin, daughter of Czech composer Jan Novák, studied piano playing with Vitaly Margulis at Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg and with Rudolf Firkušný at Julliard School in New York. She has performed in the USA, Europe and Japan. She has made recordings for the music publishers Audite and VDE Gallo and many radio and TV channels. Her pedagogical experience already began at Julliard School in New York. Since 1990 Dora Nováková-Wilmington has been teaching at Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. Dora Nováková-Wilmington held master classes e.g. in Rovereto, Italy, and Oomuta, Japan.

Alan Weiss – was born in New York City. Hailed as “one of the outstanding pianists of his generation” by his teacher and legendary Czech pianist Rudolf Firkušný. Under the guidance of Firkušný’s deep musicianship he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School. Additionaly, he was invited by Maestro himself to record along with him the complete works for four hands and two pianos by W. A. Mozart for the VOX label. A prize winner in numerous piano competitions ( such as Naumberg and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Competition), he established residence in Belgium and has since established his career with numerous recitals and concerts in his native United States, England, continental Europe, South America, as well as in the Middle and Far East. His recordings of Brahms and Alkan for the Brilliant label have been unanimously praised. Mr. Weiss is piano professor at The Lemmens Institute in Leuven, Belgium, and Utrecht Conservatory, Holland. He is frequent guest artist (solo, chamber music performances, and masterclasses) at various festivals around the world, including the various ‚Progetti‘ of Martha Argerich in Buenos Aires, Beppu (Japan) and Lugano, where he will perform the Anton Rubinstein 4th Piano Concerto with thr RSI Orchestra on June 15th, 2012..
» Internet site


Czech Guests

Renata Ardaševová is sought-after solo and chamber pianist, she has performed in Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Switzerland,Turkey, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Latvia and other countries. Critics acknowledge mainly her inner energy and emotive performing of the music as well as sound qualities and sense for a form and structure of interpreted compositions. Unique is also her co-operation with her no less successful husband Igor Ardašev, with whom she started their joint concert activities with an artistic name ,,Duo Ardašev" - performing four hands and on two pianos. Impulse for this activities were given by an offer of the Supraphon company to record complete four hands piano works by A. Dvořák. Besides his Slavonic dances, Legends and a cycle Ze Šumavy, they also recorded for the company an original four hands version of a cycle Má vlast by Bedřich Smetana. Besides her frequent concert activities Renata Ardaševová devotes herself to teaching at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts.

Prof. Jindřiška Bártová is a professor and a head of the Music and humanistic department at Music Faculty of JAMU. Focal point of her professional interest is at the music of 20th century; she has written about this topic many studies in a professional Czech and foreign press. In a music environment of Brno she`s also well known as a publicist and a music critic. She published a monographs Jan Kapr, Miloslav Ištvan, Camerata Brno and a publication Režijní přístupy k operám Leoše Janáčka v Brně (The Directorial Approaches to Leoš Janáček operas in the city of Brno). She is a member of consultative committees of several Czech universities.

Prof. PhDr. Josef Kovalčuk, a theatre dramatury and a theorist, he had worked in theatre HaDivadlo in Brno and in the National theatre in Prague. He had participated in reestablishing the Theatre Faculty of JAMU and for four years he acted as its dean. Nowadays he is a vice-dean for scientific and research activities, he is a leader of the direction and dramaturgy studio and as a a dramaturgy he co-operates with the theatre Divadlo Husa na Provázku in Brno. With a personality of Rudolf Firkušný he met via his father-in-law prof.PhDr. Robert Smetana, DrSc., who in 20s and 30s was Firkušnýs very close friend. In year 1978 R. Smetana wrote down his memories on Rudolf Firkušný in co-operation with Marie Kasíková Firkušná.

Michal Mašek belongs to the biggest talents of piano play from his childhood. In 16 years he recorded Bach`s Goldberg variations as a first Czech. He won many international competitions, and was awarded with the prize ,,Talent of the year” for his Bach`s concert record with Jiří Bělohlávek and Prague Philharmonia. He had been cooperating on concerts and studio works with legendary violinist Josef Suk for a long time, his records of Beethoven`s ,,Emperor” concert and Martinů`s recital were internationaly awarded many times.. Beacuse of health reasons that caused him an inability to perform concerts publicly, he devoted himself to merchandising, marketing and PR acitivities. Nowadays he succesfuly connects these abilitites as a producer while organizing his own original cultural projects.

Richard Pohl – pianist and doctoral student (PhD) at the music faculty of JAMU. The topic for his thesis and research is life and work of Rudolf Firkušný. As performer he specializes mainly in chamber music and collaborates with both opera soloists and instrumentalists. He's done also several first performances of works by contemporary Mexican, American and Czech composers. He's faculty member at Pavel Křižkovský Art High School and works as the official accompanist for the International Vocal Competition in Zdar nad Sazavou and International Singer's Masterclasses of Peter Dvorsky and Dagmar Livorova in Znojmo. Additionaly, he is manager of his own agency Melodia Art Management, supporting young performing artists and organizing mainly various benefit cultural events.

PhDr. Jiří Šafařík is connected with the city of Kroměříž, where he has been working at P. J. Vejvanovský Conservatory for forty years as a teaching professor of the History of Music. A center of his professional interest is mainly in the music of the Renaissance and the Baroque. In years 1961 - 1991 Jiří Šafařík led the Moravian madrigalists choir as its choirmaster and artistic director - during this period of time the choir had performed in many European countries, e.g. in Austria, Italy, former West Germany, France and others. The choir had performed wide repertoire from Renaissance vocal polyphony compositions to contemporary authors, such as Rudolf Růžička, Miloš Štědroň, Jan Novák or Petr Eben. Jiří Šafařík is the author of the three-volume History of Music publication, released within years 2002 - 2006, and also the author of the only monography about Rudolf Firkušný published in the Czech Republic (MU Brno, 1994).

PhDr. Miloš Štědroň, CSc., is teaching professor at Philosophical faculty of Masaryk university in Brno. He devotes himself mainly to research of Janáček`s works, he is author of more than 50 expert studies with Janáček`s theme, besides this activity he devoted himself to critical work in Janáček`s works releases. Special field of his interest is reconstruction and realisation of Janáček`s unpublished works. Among else he is author of book called Leoš Janáček and the music of 20th century, (Brno, 1998). He is also known and respected as composer of classical music.

Prof. Alena Veselá is strongly connected with Music faculty of JAMU, where she worked for almost 50 years since 1952, as teaching professor, than as head of Piano department (1986–1990) and then as rector of the university (1990–1997). She helped with recovering of activities of local music-contributing interest group (Spolek přátel hudby) and she holds the many posts in cultural field. She recieved many awards, for instance the Golden medal of Masaryk university and JAMU, two prizes of city of Brno (1979 and 2011) etc.

Pavel Wallinger is well known for his abundant artistical activities. Almost 20 years he has been holding a post of concert master of the Brno Philharmonic, he devotes himself to intensive chamber music performances with Czech and foreign ensembles (he is concert master of Czech virtuosi orchestra, a guest concert master in Camerata Bern chamber orchestra). He also bestowed his name to a string quartet, of which he is a founder and which shortly after its establishment (1985) made very successful whole-world breakthrough thanks to many competition successes. Important are also his solo activities: Pavel Wallinger as a soloist performed accompanied by well known Czech music ensembles (Brno Philharmonic and many others). Last five years he hands down his rich intepretation experience to young generation as a teacher at JAMU.

Bledar Zajmi – Bledar Zajmi, the Principal cellist of the Orchestra of National Theatre in Prague was born in Tirana, Albania in 1973. After graduating at the musical arts highschool in Tirana (Prof. Xhovalin Lazri), he wins the scholarship for the Academy of Music in Prague, where he studies during 1992-1997 and graduates with honors (Prof. Rudolf Loida). In 1997, he also took part in the masters class at „Summer Music Academy“ in Semmering, (prof. Josef Chufro). Since 2011 Mr. Zajmi is a doctoral student (PhD) at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts of JAMU in Brno. In 1999, he wins the 2nd prize and the jury’s Special Prize for the best interpretation of the competition piece played in the, “Palma d’Oro” International chamber music ccompetition in Finale Ligure, Italy. In 2004, he wins silver and 3.prize in another International chamber music Competition , “Rovere d’Oro” in San Bartolomeo al Mare,Italy. He peformed solo and chamber music concerts in many countries in Europe, Japan, South Korea, China, Brazil and Israel where he received positively highly rated critics from the artistic press. Throughout his career to this day, he has been able to build a rich discography, playing with various chamber music groups and he regularly records for the Czech radio and television. He plays an instrument „Clarus“ by the czech violinmaker Jan Slípka.


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