Saleem Ashkar made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 22 and has since worked with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Orchestra, and the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester in Berlin. He performs regularly with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim and Riccardo Muti, and has toured extensively with Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus in appearances including the Proms and Lucerne Festivals. Highlights of the current and future seasons include performances with Bamberg Symphoniker, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Spanish National Orchestra, and a three-week tour in Australia including a third re-invitation to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Ashkar is Ambassador to Music Fund (www.musicfund.eu), which supports musicians and music schools in conflict areas and developing countries.
For 60 years Alfred Brendel has enjoyed a distinguished international career. He was the first pianist to record Beethoven’s complete piano works, and has performed regularly at the world’s music festivals, and with leading orchestras and conductors. He has received honorary degrees from many universities including Oxford, Cambridge and Yale, and was awarded an honorary KBE in 1989. In 1992 Brendel received the Hans von Bülow Medal from the Berlin Philharmonic and was granted Honorary Membership of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in December 1998. He has received countless awards including the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award at the MIDEM Cannes Classical Awards, the Leonie Sonning Prize, the Robert Schumann Prize, the 2002 South Bank Show Classical Music Award, the 2008 Karajan Prize and the 2010 Gramophone ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award. Brendel is Patron of the Oxford Piano Festival.
Internationally recognised as one of today’s most acclaimed pianists, Yefim Bronfman’s commanding technique, power and exceptional lyricism are consistently acknowledged by the press and audiences alike. Born in the Soviet Union, Bronfman immigrated to Israel in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi at Tel Aviv University. Yefim Bronfman became an American citizen in July 1989. In the US he studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music. This season he will return to the orchestras of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago among others. In Europe he will tour in recital and with orchestras in cities including Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, and Leipzig. Among his most recent CD releases is the 2014 GRAMMY® nominated Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2 commissioned for him and performed by the New York Philharmonic (Da Capo). Among his awards are the Avery Fisher Prize and the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in piano performance.
Born in New York, Richard Goode has been hailed for music-making of tremendous emotional power, depth and expressiveness, and has been acknowledged worldwide as one of today’s leading interpreters of Classical and Romantic music. His 2016/17 season includes a return to the Edinburgh International Festival, recitals at the Wigmore and Royal Festival Halls, Lincoln Centre, Carnegie Hall and his debut at Stockholm‘s Concert Hall. He will also return to the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer for performances in Budapest and on tour in the US. Goode has made more than two dozen recordings, his latest recording of the five Beethoven concertos with the Budapest Festival Orchestra/Iván Fischer received exceptional critical acclaim. Goode has won multiple awards, including the Young Concert Artists Award, the Avery Fisher Prize, and a GRAMMY®.
Ian Jones is a Professor of Piano and Deputy Head of Keyboard at the Royal College of Music. His career as a Steinway Artist has taken him to all five continents for concerts and broadcasts, including acclaimed performances in London with the Royal Philharmonic and National Symphony Orchestras. His world première performances and recordings of music by British composer Rebecca Clarke have received enthusiastic attention. On the recent release of his CD, Chopin: Summer in Nohant, Classic FM Magazine drew comparison with Rubinstein and Arrau, whilst BBC Music Magazine described his playing as having ‘a lyrical elegance and unselfconscious purity of expression’. He is Artistic Director of the World Piano Teachers Association International Piano Competition, a frequent juror at other international piano competitions and performs and conducts masterclasses in many countries, most recently in the USA, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Serbia, Russia and China.
Described as one of the leading pianists of his generation, John Lill’s career spans over 55 years, during which time he has given over 4,000 concerts. Lill studied at the Royal College of Music and with Wilhelm Kempff and at 18 performed Rachmaninov’s third piano concerto under Sir Adrian Boult, immediately followed by his much-acclaimed London début at the Royal Festival Hall. In 1970 he won the Moscow International Tchaikovsky Competition. Since then he has given concerts in over fifty countries. John Lill’s repertoire includes more than eighty concertos, and he is acclaimed as a leading interpreter of Beethoven, whose complete sonata cycle he has performed in the UK, USA and Japan. In Britain he regularly appears with all the major symphony orchestras. Lill has been awarded many Honorary Doctorates and Fellowships from British Universities, Colleges and Academies. He was awarded the OBE in 1977 and the CBE for his services to music in the 2005 New Year’s Honours’ List.
Marios Papadopoulos is the Festival’s Artistic Director. Since his London début in 1974, his career as a pianist and conductor has been worldwide. His prolific output as a recording artist includes Beethoven Piano Sonatas, performances of Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Wind with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, works by Mussorgsky – including Pictures at an Exhibition – piano works by César Franck, and the 24 Preludes and Fugues by Shostakovich. In 1998, he founded the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he is Music Director. He holds a doctorate in Music from City University and is a Fellow by Special Election of Keble College, Oxford. He became an Honorary Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 2010 and was awarded the City of Oxford’s Certificate of Honour in 2013. Papadopoulos was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2014 New Year’s Honours List for services to music in Oxford.
Menahem Pressler, founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio, has established himself among the world’s most distinguished musicians with a career that spans over seven decades. Now, at ninety-three, he continues to captivate audiences as a performer and pedagogue, performing solo and chamber music recitals to great critical acclaim while maintaining a robust teaching career. Pressler has been hailed as ‘Master Pedagogue’ and has had prize-winning students in all of the major international piano competitions. He has received multiple awards, including both Germany and France’s highest cultural honours, the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters and the Yehudi Menuhin Prize for the Integration of Arts and Education. In 2016 he was made Life President of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra in acknowledgment of outstanding contribution to the Oxford Piano Festival. He also holds four honorary doctorates. Recent orchestral engagements include performances with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, among others.
Paul Roberts is a rare combination of performer, teacher and author. As a leading exponent of French impressionism he has received high praise for his Debussy recitals and recordings and has recently released a disc of piano music by Ravel and Liszt. His seminal books on Debussy and Ravel, Images and Reflections and Debussy, are known around the world (‘the richness and colour of his involvement makes his books an endless source of reference and delight’ - Gramophone). He is now working on his fourth book, Reading Liszt. Roberts is a frequent guest at music conservatories worldwide, including Julliard, Peabody, Stockholm and Sydney, and has been Artist in Residence at the festival of Portland Piano International in Oregon for fourteen years. Roberts is a Professor of Piano and Honorary Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the founding director of the international piano summer school, Music at Albignac, in France.
Sir András Schiff was born in Budapest and studied with Elisabeth Vadász, Pál Kadosa, György Kurtág, Ferenc Rados, and George Malcolm. Having worked with most of the major international orchestras and conductors, Schiff now performs mainly as a conductor and soloist, notably with his own Capella Andrea Barca and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He has recorded numerous CDs, and received the International Classical Music Award 2012 for ‘Geistervariationen’ (ECM). A life-long love of chamber music led to the Artistic Directorship of the ‘Musiktage Mondsee’ and the founding, with Heinz Holliger, of the ‘Ittinger Pfingstkonzerte’. He has been awarded many international prizes and honours, most recently the ‘Ordre pour le mérité’. Schiff is the President of the Oxford Piano Festival and a Special Supernumerary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford.
Colin Stone’s career as a performer began in the late 1980s. He was encouraged by Sir Charles Groves at the finals of the 1985 Young Concert Artist’s Trust and went on to win the Royal Over-Seas League piano competition in 1986. A subsequent début at the Wigmore Hall and numerous broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 helped to establish his growing reputation and has led to performances around the world. A number of acclaimed recordings followed, both of solo repertoire and chamber music with the London Mozart Trio which he founded in 1989. He is now in demand for concerts and masterclasses in many parts of the world. He has taught at the Chetham’s International Summer School for Pianists and acted as Artistic Director of the Harrow International Summer School for Pianists. Stone is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music.
Charlotte Tomlinson is a Performance Coach who helps musicians manage performance anxiety, deal with issues such as memory and focus, and much more. Her approach has been developed from her own experience of teaching and performing as a classical pianist, alongside a strong background in personal growth, psychology and bodywork techniques. As a duo pianist and chamber musician Charlotte has travelled the world. She has been an accompanist for all the London music colleges, for BBC Young Musician of the Year and has broadcast for national and international radio. She has worked as a vocal coach for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Charlotte interviewed 43 top musicians on film about how they manage performance stress and was interviewed for BBC TV Proms Extra (2015), as an expert in performance anxiety. She is currently writing a book for school children about managing performance anxiety in exams.
Dame Fanny Waterman was born in Leeds. She studied with Tobias Matthay, and later as a scholar at the Royal College of Music with Cyril Smith. She is Life President and Founder Director of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, of which she remained as Chairman and Artistic Director until her retirement at the age of ninety-five in September 2015. For the last thirty years she has been highly sought after as a jury member of international competitions and to give masterclasses worldwide. She has served as Vice President of the World Federation of International Music Competitions and is Vice President of EPTA. In 2010, Dame Fanny was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, the Honoured Guest at the Women of the Year Lunch in London and has been the castaway on Desert Island Discs.
An imaginative and electrifying performer, Zhang Zuo (“Zee Zee”) began her musical training in Germany at the age of five. Upon returning to her native China, she became one of the most sought after young artists in the nation. Zee Zee studied at the Shenzhen Arts School, the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School. Her awards include first prize at China’s First International Piano Concerto Competition and prizewinner at the 2013 Queen Elizabeth Competition. As a BBC New Generation Artist, Zee Zee appeared with the BBC Philharmonic and BBC Ulster Orchestra with whom she performed a live, televised concert for the BBC Proms. She has also appeared with the BBC Symphony, LA Philharmonic and Hong Kong Philharmonic, among others, and has worked with conductors including Paavo Järvi and Marin Alsop. Aside from her solo career, Zee Zee is a passionate chamber musician.