Born in 1974, Henri Sigfridsson has made himself a name as a performer at many outstanding European concert venues. At the Beethoven Competition in Bonn in 2005 he was awarded First Prize, the Audience Prize and the Chamber Music Prize. For many years already, the Finnish pianist has been invited to perform at a number of international music events such as the two Salzburg Festivals, Styriarte in Graz (Austria), the Lucerne Festival, the Kissingen Summer Festival and Lockenhaus Festival. Last not least, he gave his début performance at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2006. As a soloist in piano concertos, Sigfridsson has collaborated with many renowned orchestras; meanwhile, in chamber music, he has shared the podium with violinists Gidon Kremer, Ivry Gitlis, Leonidas Kavakos and Patricia Kopachinskaya, as well as with cellists Mischa Maisky, Sol Gabetta and Johannes Moser. Henri Sigfridsson first studied at the Turku Conservatory and in Erik T. Tawaststjerna’s class at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. In 1995 he joined Pavel Gililov’s class at Cologne Musikhochschule. In April 2011, Sigfridsson was appointed piano professor at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen.
Born in 1987, Andrey Gugnin has been involved in music since the age of seven. He studied with Professor Vera Gornostaeva at Moscow Conservatory, graduating in 2010. The young Russian pianist has already impressed juries and audiences at a great number of international competitions, including the International “Cittá di Cantù” Piano Competition, where he won 1st Prize in 2009. Then, in 2014, Gugnin won the Gold Medal and the Audience Prize at the renowned International Gina Bachauer Piano Competition in Salt Lake City. In 2007 Gugnin made his début CD recording, featuring both Shostakovich piano concertos. By now he has already gained a great deal of experience as a concert pianist, with performances in significant concert halls in more than 20 countries – venues such as the Moscow Conservatory Tchaikovsky Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, Auditorium du Louvre, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Teatro Verdi in Trieste, and Carnegie Hall
Rudi Spring was born in Lindau at Lake Constance in 1962. Composer and Professor Alfred Kuppelmayer gave him his first lessons in music theory, piano and composition, an influence which proved decisive in Spring’s further development as an artist. In 1978 he went on to study organ and piano in Bregenz (Austria), where his particularly sensitive talent as a duo partner became rapidly evident. Cellist Heinrich Schiff soon took notice of him as well: they shared the stage a number of times, and in the early 1980s Spring wrote a number of chamber and orchestra works featuring solo cello. By that time he was already studying composition and piano at Munich Musikhochschule, while serving as organist at the Protestant church in nearby Freising. Spring makes regular appearances as a pianist. In 1999 Rudi Spring was appointed to teach Lied interpretation at Munich Musikhochschule. In 2005, Spring resided as a fellow at the German Academy’s Villa Massimo in Rome. He guested at the Ruhr Piano Festival for the first time in 2008, collaborated on our Education Projects in 2009 with vocalist Salome Kammer, and appeared at the Festival for the third time in 2015.
Ya-Fei Chuang made her first television appearance in her native Taiwan at the age of eight. The bursary of scholarships from several prestigious foundations, Ms. Chang moved to Germany to study at the conservatories of Freiburg and Cologne. In Cologne she won the conservatory’s International Piano Competition when she was eighteen. Later she relocated in the US and concluded her studies at New England Conservatory in Boston. Ya-Fei Chuang now gives masterclasses in the US, Europe and Asia – for instance at Tanglewood Music Festival and at the Salzburg Mozarteum International Summer Academy. She has performed at all the major festivals and concertizes with the most renowned orchestras worldwide. A great number of CD recordings demonstrate her virtuosity, paired with a particularly intense variety of musical expression. For instance, Vol. 23 of the Edition Klavier-Festival Ruhr features Ms. Chuang’s recordings of two Mendelssohn piano concertos with Robert Levin and the Bochum Symphony. Ya-Fei Chuang appears in chamber music recitals with cellist Steven Isserlis, violist Kim Kashkashian and pianist Robert Levin. After having given her Ruhr Piano Festival début performance in 2007, she returned here for her 8th appearance in 2015.
Born in Siberia in 1989, Pavel Kolesnikov currently calls London his home. He studied at Moscow State Conservatory with Sergey Dorensky, at the London Royal College of Music with Norma Fisher and with Maria João Pires at Brussels’ Queen Elizabeth Music Chapel, with support from scholarships granted by the Royal College and the Hattori Foundation. In autumn of 2014, Kolesnikov was named one of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists for 2014 – 2016. Ever since he was awarded 1st Prize in 2012 at the Honens International Piano Competition in Canada, Kolesnikov has been conquering the hearts of music-loving audiences far and wide. The Honens prize has paved the way for a great number of recitals and guest festival appearances at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Louvre Auditorium, Vancouver Recital Society, La Jolla Music Society, Spoleto Festival (Charleston, NC) and Ottawa Chamber Music Festival. He has also performed with the Russian National Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonia Orchestra and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. 2015 marked Kolesnikov’s début appearance at the Ruhr Piano Festival.
Dudana Mazmanishvili was born in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, in 1980, and received her first piano lessons at the age of three from her mother, pianist Tamar Apakidze. When she was eight, she gave her public début with the Georgian State Orchestra, and at age 14 she performed the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra. In 1998 she moved to Germany and started studying in the class of renowned piano professor Elisso Virsaladze at Munich Musikhochschule. She went on to perfect her craft in New York City under the tutelage of Jerome Rose, and gave her Carnegie Hall début in 2006. Dudana Mazmanishvili has won a series of prizes at international piano competitions, including the Busoni Competition in Bolzano, the Washington International Piano Competition und the Nicolai Rubinstein Competition in Paris. Oehms Classics released her first disc featuring works by Bach, Busoni, Liszt und Rachmaninov, selected by Bavarian Classical Radio 4 as “CD of the Month”. 2015 marked Dudana Mazmanishvili’s first appearance at the Ruhr Piano Festival.
Robert Levin studied with Stefan Wolpe in New York and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Upon graduation he was invited by Rudolf Serkin to head the theory department of the Curtis Institute of Music; Levin was also Resident Director of the Conservatoire Américain in Fontainebleau from 1979 to 1986 before taking up a professorship in the piano department of Freiburg Musikhochschule. He is President of the Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig, and currently Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. As a result of intense study of the original sources, Levin has published scholarly and musically well-informed completions of a number of works left unfinished by Mozart: for instance, the Requiem and the Mass in C Minor. He has performed worldwide and has made a number of recordings, including complete cycles of the Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos. Robert Levin is one of those rare double musical talents who are truly capable of combining theory and practice. More than just a piano-playing musicologist or a theorizing instrumentalist, Levin invariably merges virtuoso aplomb with well-informed scholarship in performances that captivate audiences far and wide. That has also clearly been the case in the great number of concerts, recitals and lectures Levin has given at the Ruhr Piano Festival ever since his first appearance here in 2006.
Born in 1988 in Edvard Grieg’s home town of Bergen in Norway, Joachim Carr studied with the renowned Czech professor Jiri Hlinka at Barratt Dues Institute of Music in Oslo. He is currently perfecting his outstanding capabilities under the tutelage of Eldar Nebolsin at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin. He has further expanded his excellent training horizons by actively participating in masterclasses given by the likes of Leif Ove Andsnes, Menahem Pressler and Christopher Elton. Thanks to several outstanding prizes, Carr attracted the attention of the international piano scene: in Vevey, Switzerland, he was awarded the young music critics’ Coup de Coeur Prize in 2013; then, in 2014, he won the renowned International Edvard Grieg Piano Competition in Bergen. He has concertized as a soloist and chamber musician in well-known venues such as Wigmore Hall, Konserthus in Oslo and the Berlin Philharmonie. 2014 marked Carr’s first guest appearance.
Benjamin Moser had his first piano lessons at the age of six. Very early on, he was admitted as a university-level piano student to study in the piano class of Michael Schäfer at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich before going on to Berlin to study with Klaus Hellwig. Moser won a great number of competitions, including the International Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York in 2007. That same year he was among the prizewinners at the renowned Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition, where he garnered the prize for the best interpretation of Tchaikovsky as well as the Audience Prize. “The young pianist from Munich is an artist of compelling musicianship, always placed in the service of the music as written”, noted the daily Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. Benjamin Moser appears in piano recitals and as a soloist with renowned orchestras, collaborating with conductors such as Andris Nelsons, Wojciech Rajski and Fuad Ibrahimov. Our audience has known him well ever since his acclaimed début at the Ruhr Piano Festival in 2011, recorded and released as one of the CD’s featured in Vol. 28 of the Edition Klavier-Festival Ruhr.
CHI HO HAN
Chi Ho Han, born in Seoul in 1992, gave his first public concert at the age of eleven. When he was sixteen he moved to Germany, where he studied in the class of Arnulf von Arnim at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. Since 2012 he has been a pupil of Arie Vardi at Hannover Musikhochschule. Chi Ho Han is the laureate of several important competitions: in 2009, the young Korean pianist won 3rd Prize at the Vienna Beethoven Competition, then 2nd Prizes at the Dortmund International Schubert Competition in 2011 and at the Beethoven Competition in Bonn respectively, and 1st Prize and the Audience Prize at the KlavierOlymp Piano Competition in Bad Kissingen in 2013. At the renowned ARD International Music Competition in 2014, the First Prize in the piano category was left vacant, but Chi Ho Han won the 2nd Prize along with the Audience Prize. Chi Ho Han has already made guest appearances at a number of music festivals and renowned international concert venues: in Seoul, Beijing, Dublin, Zurich and Vienna, for instance. In fact, he has once previously performed at the Ruhr Piano Festival – in 2011, as one of the young student talents selected to participate in our ExtraSchicht piano marathon.