Claudio Martinez Mehner began his music studies at an early age at the “Real Conservatorio Superior de Madrid” in Madrid with Amparo Fuster, Pedro Lerma and Joaquín Soriano. In addition to his piano studies, he participated in the Spanish National Youth Orchestra as a violist and in the Chamber Orchestra of the German School as a violinist, violist and harpsichord player. He finished his bachelor degree in 1989. He continued his studies at the “Tchaikovsky-Conservatory” in Moscow and the “Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía” in Madrid with Prof. Dmitri Bashkirov, afterwards at the the “Hochschule für Musik” in Freiburg, Germany (Master of Performance, finished 1994), the “Fondazione per il Pianoforte” in Como, Italy; and the “Peabody Conservatory” in Baltimore, US (Artist degree studies) with Vitalij Margulis and Leon Fleisher. In addition, he participated in masterclasses given by Murray Perahia, Fou Ts’ong, Alexis Weissenberg, Karl-Ulrich Schnabel, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Mstislav Rostropovich, among many others. Lately he has received invaluable advice by Prof. Ferenc Rados in Budapest, Hungary. At the ages of 13 and 15 Claudio Martínez Mehner won first prize with special mention in the German competition “Bundeswettbewerb Jugend musiziert”. He was a finalist in the International Piano Competition “Paloma O’Shea” in Santander (1990), Spain, and won first prizes in the international competitions “Pilar Bayona” in Zaragoza, Spain (1992), “Fondation Chimay” in Belgium (1993), and “Dino Ciani” in Milano, Italy (1993). As a soloist he performed in most major cities in Europe, United States, Russia, Central America, Japan and Korea, with orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic, the Moscow Philharmonic, Filarmónica of the Teatro Alla Scala, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonic, Italian Swiss Radio Orchestra, Norddeutsche Rundfunk, Filarmonia Hungarica and most of the major Spanish orchestras. Claudio Martínez-Mehner is an avid chamber music player and has performed with many ensembles in Europe and Asia. Presently he is piano professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel, Switzerland and at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, Germany. He teaches masterclasses in Europe, Asia and the USA.
Dang Thai Son is a Vietnamese pianist and an internationally acclaimed musician whose career gained momentum after he won the 1st Prize and Gold Medal in the 10th International Frédéric Chopin Competition in Warsaw, in October 1980. It was the first time an Asian pianist had won the main prize in a highly prestigious music competition. Dang Thai Son was born on 2 July 1958 in Hanoi. It was there that he undertook piano studies with his mother. ‘Discovered’ by Isaac Katz, a Russian pianist who visited Vietnam in 1974, he continued his education at the Peter Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow under Vladimir Natanson and Dmitri Bashkirov. Winning the International Frédéric Chopin Competition marks the beginning of Dang Thai Son’s international career, during which he has staged concerts in over forty countries and in such renowned music halls as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (New York), the Barbican Centre (London), La Salle Pleyel (Paris), the Herculessaal (Munich), the Musikverein (Vienna), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Sydney Opera House (Sydney), and the Suntory Hall (Tokyo). Ha has cooperated with many conductors, among them Sir Neville Marriner, Pinchas Zukerman, Mariss Jansons, Iván Fischer, Vladimir Spivakov, Dmitri Kitaenko, James Loughran, Jiři Bĕlohlávek, Hiroyuki Iwaki, Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, Pavel Kogan, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Sakari Oramo, and John Nelson. As a chamber musician he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Octet, the Smetana String Quartet, Barry Tuckwell, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Pinchas Zukerman, Boris Belkin, Josef Suk, and Alexander Rudin. He has also played piano duets with Andrei Gavrilov. He is frequently a jury member at the prestigious piano competitions, including the Cleveland International Piano Competition (USA), the Concours Clara Haskil (Switzerland), the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition (Japan), the International Rachmaninoff Piano Competition (Russia), Piano Masters of Monte Carlo, the Sviatoslav Richter International Piano Competition (Russia), the International Frédéric Chopin Competition (Poland), the International Carl Bechstein Piano Competition (Germany), and the Heitor Villa-Lobos International Guitar Competition (Brazil). Dang Thai Son records with Deutsche Grammophone, Melodya, Polskie Nagrania, CBS Sony, Analekta, and Victor JVC. In October 2009 he recorded Chopin: Complete Mazurkas, a two-CD album with Victor Entertainment Inc. (Japan). Dang Thai Son is a Professor of New England Conservatory of Music in Boston , USA and Oberlin Conservatory of Music , Ohio , USA
Ilya Maximov is the winner of the G.B. Viotti International Piano Competition in Vercelli, Italy. He is a top prizewinner at more than fifteen international competitions, including Maria Canals International Piano competition (Spain), Hilton Head International Piano Competition (USA), Jose Iturbi International Piano Competition (Spain) and at the Scottish International Piano Competition. He performed at the world’s most esteemed concert halls and festivals in Europe, Asia and America including Salle Cortot in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, Chamber Hall of Berlin Philharmonie, Morinomiye Piloti Hall in Osaka, Suginami Kokaido in Tokyo, Esplanade Hall in Singapore, Theatre A. Roldán in Havana, Palau de la musica in Valencia, Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Real Academia de Bellas Artes in Madrid and La Sapienza in Rome. In December 2017 Ilya Maximov released his first solo album with works by S. Taneev, S. Rachmaninoff and S. Prokofiev. He regularly performs as a soloist and with various orchestras such as Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Teatro Carlo Felice Orchestra, Wuhan Symphonic Orchestra, Singapore Youth National Symphonic Orchestra, Raanana Symphonette Orchestra, Orchestra Simfònica del Valles, Bach Chamber Orchestra, Havana National Symphonic Orchestra, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra among others. He collaborated with such conductors as Justus Franz, James P Liu, Misha Katz, Darrell Ang, and James Ross. Ilya graduated from Conservatori Superior del Liceu in Barcelona, Royal College of Music in London and Universitat Mozarteum Salzburg where he studied with renown pianists and pedagogues Stanislav Pochekin, Dmitri Alexeev and Pavel Gililov. Alongside his solo career Ilya teaches at Universitat Mozarteum Salzburg.
Hubert Rutkowski’s musical interpretations are influenced by his thorough study of the particular ‘piano school’ aesthetic attributed to the late 19th century. Therefore, it is the pianistic tradition of Frederyk Chopin, Theodor Leschetizky, and subsequently influenced pianists such as Karol Mikuli, Moritz Rosenthal, Raul Koczalski and Artur Schnabel, that forms the basis of his artistic identitiy. He won the International Chopin Piano Competition in Hannover (2007). He also received the “Medalla per Unanimitat” distinction at the International Maria Canals Piano Competition in Barcelona (2006). In 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Berenberg Cultural Prize in Hamburg. The pianist is a graduate of the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, the class of professor Anna Jastrzębska-Quinn. In 2005-2010 he completed postgraduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, in the class of professor Evgeni Koroliov. For quite some time Hubert Rutkowski has been passionate about historical pianos from the 19th century. Both in his capacity of a pianist and a piano teacher he has been working with the collection of historical pianos at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. In 2013 he recorded the early piano works of Debussy on the 1880 Erard piano for Piano Classics (CD). The 1847 Pleyel piano recording of Chopin‘s piano works followed in 2018. Another significant moment in Hubert Rutkowski’s career was the recording of piano works by Julian Fontana, Chopin’s friend and pupil, as well as of piano pieces by Theodor Leschetizky for Acte Préalable Label (2007, 2008). In the Chopin Year 2010, he released an album “Pupils of Chopin“ on the Naxos Label, featuring with piano works composed by Chopin’s students. Since then, he has been performing in Europe, Asia, Latin American and the USA, including at festivals such as the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, Piano Festival in Husum Castle, Mozart Festival in Warsaw, Ars Longa Festival in Moscow, Paderewski Festival in Los Angeles, Artur Rubinstein Festival in Łódź, and at the Paderewski International Music Festival in Warsaw. He has also performed with eminent soloists and conductors, including Lilya Zilberstein, Alexei Lubimov, Łukasz Borowicz, Martin Haselböck, Jamie Phillips and José Maria Florêncio. Hubert Rutkowski is the artistic director of the Chopin Festival in Hamburg, as well as the director of the Theodor Leschetizky International Piano Competition at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg. He has been a professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg as one of the youngest professors in Germany since 2010, and he became the head of its piano department in January 2014.