Ever since the Festival was founded in 1988, this cultural flagship of the Ruhr Circle of Initiatives has evolved to become the most well-known address for professional pianists on a worldwide scale. Celebrated masters of their craft and young rising stars all congregate each year in the Rhine-Ruhr region to present the fascinating, variegated world of piano music to an enthusiastic audience. One of the Festival’s remarkable traits is that it lends particular prominence to young artists who are at the beginning of their careers.
Sergei Redkin began to play the piano at the age of five. At the age of six he began to study music. At the same time he began training in the disciplines of improvisation and composition. In 2004 he gained admittance to Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory at Saint Petersburg, initially in the school for young gifted musicians, then, from 2009, as a regular student in the class of Alexander Sandler. In the meantime he pursued his training in composition under the guidance of Alexander Mnatsakanyan, one of the last great students of Shostakovich. In 2015 he won Third Prize and the Bronze Medal at the XV Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Valery Gergiev subsequently engaged him to concertize with the Mariinsky Orchestra in Paris, New York City, and Mexico; he also invited Redkin to take part in the Prokofiev marathon held in conjunction with Gergiev’s MPHIL 360° Festival in Munich. In 2017, Sergei Redkin was selected by Maki Namekawa, Dennis Russell Davies and Philip Glass as the new Ruhr Piano Festival scholarship holder for the 2017-2018 season. Redkin’s 2018 début performance at the Festival was a part of that scholarship prize.
When she was only fifteen, Jamina Gerl was accepted as a full student at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, where she studied under the guidance of Roswitha Gediga and Eduard Zilberkant. She continued her studies with a full scholarship at the University of Alaska. She received further inspiration from masterclasses with renowned artists including Paul Badura-Skoda, Menahem Pressler, and Jerome Rose. In national and international music competitions in Germany, Italy and in the US, Jamina Gerl has garnered no less than 14 prizes. Engagements have led her to concertize in a number of European countries, as well as in Japan, China, and the United States. 2018 marked the year of her début performance at the Ruhr Piano Festival.
Japanese pianist Mao Fujita studied at Tokyo College of Music under the tutelage of Profs. Minoru Nojima, Kazuko Sumi, and Hiroo Sato. In 2010 he gave his public concert début with the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, followed by appearances with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and Macao Orchestra. In 2017 he won the Clara Haskil International Piano Competitionin Switzerland, along with the Audience Award and the “Prix Modern Times” for the best interpretation of the work composed for the competition: Tenebrae by Nicolas Bacri. Mao Fujita performed his début at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2018.
JUAN CARLOS FERNÁNDEZ-NIETO
Juan Carlos Fernández Nieto performed his concerto début at the age of sixteen with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada (OCG). He holds degrees from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Boris Berman. Juan Carlos has given recitals and concerts in his native Spain, the US, the UK, Germany, Holland, and Central America, performing in major venues including the Steinway Halls of New York and London, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Palau de la Música in Barcelona. Juan Carlos Fernández-Nieto has reaped a series of prizes at international competitions including the Iturbi International Piano Competition, the 56th Jaén International Piano Competition, the CSMTA Young Artists Competition, and the National Piano Competition in León. He was heard for the first time at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2018.
Georgian-German pianist Inga Fiolia’s musical path led her initially to Moscow, where Prof. Alexey Nasedkin taught her in the venerable tradition of the piano school of Heinrich Neuhaus. She continued her studies in Cologne under the tutelage of Vassily Lobanov. As a prizewinner of several important international competitions in Italy, Belgium, and Germany, she has been invited to concertize in the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Russia, Morocco, Austria, Panama, and Switzerland. She performs as soloist with renowned orchestras including Junge Symphonie Berlin, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Georgian State Chamber Orchestra and National Philharmonic, the Bergische Symphoniker, and the South Westphalia Philharmonic. The Ruhr Piano Festival audience had the pleasure of hearing her for the first time in 2018.
Long before Graham Johnson was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1994, he had already became a living institution as vocal accompanist. At the age of seventeen he arrived in London to receive training from his legendary predecessors Gerald Moore and Geoffrey Parsons. At the age of 22, he accompanied a masterclass imparted by tenor Peter Pears, which brought him into contact with Benjamin Britten on the same occasion – an encounter that had a formative impact on his artistic career. Soon he was collaborating onstage with illustrious vocal artists such as Peter Pears, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Brigitte Fassbaender, and Peter Schreier. In 1976, in collaboration with several outstanding vocalists, he formed The Songmakers' Almanac, the goal of which is to explore neglected areas of piano-accompanied vocal music. Over the next decades, Johnson thus learned and performed more than 250 different artsong programmes. Graham Johnson is Senior Professor of Accompaniment at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and gives a great number of masterclasses worldwide. In 2014 he received the Hugo Wolf Medal, not only in honor of his achievements as vocal accompanist, but also to salute his unflagging commitment as music researcher. The Ruhr Piano Festival had already awarded him its Annual Prize in 2001 for his life work. In 2018, Graham Johnson gave his 50th recital at the Festival!
Young soprano Soraya Mafi studied in Manchester, then at the Royal College of Music in London. She attracted the attention of audiences and critics at several vocal competitions; among others, she won the Susan Chilcott Award in 2016, as well as 2nd Prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards in 2015. During her time at RCM she was already making regular appearances onstage; for instance, she performed the title role in Arianna in Creta for the London Handel Festival. Débuts at Grange Park Opera and at the Théâtre du Châtelet soon followed. Soraya Mafi also makes regular appearances in artsong recitals; for instance, she has already given a solo vocal recital accompanied by Graham Johnson in London. She gave her first performance at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2017.
FRANÇOIS LE ROUX
François Le Roux is one of France’s most renowned classical singers. He has set new standards in his flagship role in Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande. His vast repertoire comprises all of the baritone roles in Mozart operas, as well as a great number of roles in Italian opera, Baroque opera, and contemporary musical theater. In artsong recitals his stage partners include renowned pianists such as Graham Johnson, Roger Vignoles, and the late Irwin Gage. In 1996, François Le Roux was named Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; in 1997, the Circle of French Music Critics selected him as Musician Personality of the Year. His book Le chant intime on the subject of French artsong interpretation was awarded the 2004 René Dumesnil Prize of the French Academy of the Arts. Parallel to his career onstage, Le Roux is deeply committed in passing on his art and his knowledge to the younger generation of singers. He has been teaching at the Saint-Jean-de-Luz Maurice Ravel Academy since 2006. He gives masterclasses on a regular basis worldwide and is artistic director of the Francis Poulenc Academy in Tours. 2018 marked the third occasion upon which François Le Roux performed at the Ruhr Piano Festival.
Soprano Sarah Fox was educated at Giggleswick School, London University, and the Royal College of Music. She is a winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award and the John Christie Award. Roles at Covent Garden Royal Opera House have included Micaela/Carmen, Zerlina/Don Giovanni, and Woglinde/Der Ring des Nibelungen. Sarah Fox has also performed at the opera houses of Munich, Barcelona, Cincinnati and Glyndebourne, as well as at Salzburg Festival and Aix-en-Provence Festival. 2018 was the year she first performed at the Ruhr Piano Festival.
At the age of 13, Théo Fouchenneret was admitted to Paris CNSM Conservatory, where he studied with Alain Planès and Hortense Cartier-Bresson. Concert engagements have led him to perform in a number of major venues in France, Italy, China, Japan and Taiwan. He has been invited to make appearances at outstanding French festivals including La Roque D’Anthéron and La Folle Journée, and he collaborates onstage with chamber music partners including Victor Julien-Laferrière, Svetlin Roussev and Romain Descharmes. In October 2013 he won First Prize at the International Gabriel Fauré Competition. In 2014 he co-founded the Messiaen Ensemble, which is currently in residence at the Singer-Polignac Foundation in Paris. In 2018 he gave his début performance at the Ruhr Piano Festival.
Violinist Mi-sa Yang studied at Paris CNSM Conservatory and has already won a number of awards: First Prize in the Junior Category at the International Yehudi Menuhin Competition in the year 2000, along with Third Prize and the Special Jury Prize at Sendai International Music Competition in 2001. Mi-sa Yang gave solo appearances with renowned orchestras such as the London Mozart Players, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and the New Japan Philharmonic. With Adam Laloum and Victor Julien-Laferrière she has founded the piano trio “Les Esprits”, and they have performed together at venues including Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and the Rheingau Music Festival. Since 2014 she has been a member of the Ardeo String Quartet, with which she has performed at the Konzerthaus in Dortmund, in the Cologne Philharmonie, in Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Vienna. 2018 was the first occasion on which she appeared at the Ruhr Piano Festival.
Cellist Victor Julien-Laferrière studied at Paris CNSM Conservatory with Roland Pidoux, in Vienna with Heinrich Schiff, and at the Salzburg Mozarteum with Clemens Hagen. In 2017 he won First Prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, after already having won First Prize and several Special Prizes at the Prague Spring Festival Competition in 2012. In 2018 he was selected as Best Instrumental Soloist at the Victoires de la Musique (the French equivalent of the “Grammys”). Victor Julien-Laferrière has appeared with renowned orchestras including the Brussels Philharmonic, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the Slovakian State Philharmonic. His chamber music recordings with pianist Adam Laloum have already garnered two Diapason d’Or awards. He gave his début performance at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2018.
Pianist Benjamin Moser gave his début performance at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2011, and is now performing here for the sixth time in 2018. He studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich under the guidance of Michael Schäfer, and at Berlin University of the Arts with Klaus Hellwig. Benjamin Moser attracted international attention in June 2007 as a prizewinner in the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, where he was awarded the prize for the best interpretation of Tchaikovsky, as well as the Audience Prize. In January of that year he also won First Prize in the International Young Concert Artists Audition in New York, which gave rise to a number of recital performances in Paris, Washington D. C., and New York City. He has concertized with the Munich and Bamberg Symphonies, as well as with Leipzig MDR Radio Symphony Orchestra. His chamber music partners include Nicolas Altstaedt, Julian Steckel, Danjulo Ishizaka, Andrej Bielow, and his brother, cellist Johannes Moser.
Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman received her formal training from Herman Krebbers at the Amsterdam Conservatory, Ida Kavafian at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and David Takeno in London. Each season, she is entrusted with several performances at Amsterdam Concertgebouw, ranging from solo recitals to concertos with orchestra. She appears with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, and Israel Symphony Orchestra. Her chamber music partners include Nicolas Altstaedt, Nobuko Imai, Enrico Pace, and Elisabeth Leonskaja. In 2006 she was awarded the Dutch Music Prize; in 2007 she was named Artistic Director of the Dutch Chamber Music Festival in Delft. The Challenge Classics label has released a number of her recordings. Liza Ferschtman performed at the Ruhr Piano Festival for the first time in 2018.
The namesake of the delian::quartett is the Greek god Apollo, who was worshipped as god of the fine arts, the muses and especially music, and also named Delian after his place of birth, the island of Delos. Ever since 2007, when it was founded, the doors of major music venues and important festivals opened for the delian::quartett. The echo of the ensemble’s first concerts catapulted them practically overnight to the center of the international
concert scene. Their debut at the Berlin Philharmonie in 2009 sparked off genuine torrents of enthusiasm; the Quartet was received with standing ovations already after the opening piece. Since then the ensemble has
performed, acclaimed by audiences and the press alike, in major concert seasons and venues all over Europe and – as artistic ambassadors of the Goethe Institute – in Africa. Apart from cultivating existing string quartet literature from the Baroque age to the present day, one of the delian::quartett’s major commitments is the enlargement of string quartet repertoire. Thus they have premièred a great number of new works. The quartet’s artistic partners include outstanding musicians such as Gilles Apap, Measha Brueggergosman, Gérard Caussé, Stella Doufexis, Bruno Ganz, Per Arne Glorvigen, the Henschel Quartet, Sergey Nakariakov, Menahem Pressler, and Anatol Ugorski. The ensemble's unconventional programmes, brimming with interconnections among works, draw the attention of critics and audiences. The delian::quartett soon shed their shooting star image to
become regarded as a highly esteemed quartet from the first draw of chamber music ensembles on an international level. Ever since 2017, the members of the delian::quartett have also been Pirastro Artists in partnership with that renowned maker of strings for bowed instruments. Adrian Pinzaru plays a violin by Giovanni Battista Rogeri, generously provided by Christine Anderson; Andreas Moscho’s violin is by Giovanni Francesco Pressenda,
on generous extended loan from the Paderborn families Lödige and Jacoby. The delian::quartett performed for the first time at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2018; it appears on this recording by courtesy of OehmsClassics.