High Caliber, High Integrity
Seven judges, renowned for their own skill and experience, will join non-voting jurists Eduard Zilberkant and Alexander Braginsky to conduct the competition. These seven judges will select the winner of the e-Competition from 24 participants after nine days of competition.
Alexander Braginsky (non-voting co-chair) | United States
Introduced to the piano by his concert pianist mother, Moscow-born Alexander Braginsky began studying the piano at the age of 4. His first teacher, Alexander Goldenweiser, a classmate of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, introduced Braginsky to the nineteenth-century Romantic tradition. After Goldenweiser’s death, he continued to study with Theodore Gutman, another illustrious representative of the “Golden Age” of Russian piano school.
Eduard Zilberkant (non-voting co-chair) | United States
Russian-born Eduard Zilberkant is recognized as one of today's most gifted artists and has an active career as pianist and conductor. Maestro Zilberkant has been received enthusiastically by audiences and press alike throughout Europe, Canada and the United States, performing in such concert halls as The Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Curtis Hall at the Curtis Institute of Music, Artur Rubinstein Hall and Warsaw Philharmonic Hall in Poland, Teatro Sangiorgi in Catania, Sicily, Volgograd Opera House in Russia and Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.
He is a returning guest artist at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City, and has been a guest artist and conductor at some of the world's most prestigious music festivals which include the Ravello Festival in Italy, the Gumi International Music Festival in South Korea, the Corfu Festival Ionian Concert Series in Greece, the Manolis Kalomiris International Music Festival in Samos, Greece, the Assisi International Festival and Orazio Frugoni Music Institute in Italy, the Baracasa Festival of Radio France in Montpellier, France, and the Bellingham Music Festival in Washington.
This year is Maestro Zilberkant’s 13th season as music director and conductor of the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and Arctic Chamber Orchestra. Under his leadership, these orchestras have toured in Alaska, Canada, the continental United States, and Europe.
Maestro Zilberkant is a sought-after guest conductor. He has conducted the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague and on tour to Germany, the orchestra of Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano in Italy, the Martinu Chamber Orchestra in the Czech Republic and Germany, the Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Sicily, the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra in New York City, the Teatro di San Carlo Orchestra, Naples Italy, and the Prague Philharmonic on tour to the Ravello Festival in Italy.
The German newspaper, Schwabisches Tagblatt wrote of his performance of the Dvorak's "New World Symphony", "[Maestro Zilberkant] made an impression for feeling the nuances of the tempo, pauses, and accents...he brought out new colors and romantic feeling with full balance of the sound from the orchestra." After his performance of the Mozart Symphony No. 41 with the Arctic Chamber Orchestra in Anchorage, Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News wrote: "[Maestro Zilberkant] brought admirable intelligence to his reading of the piece...and sculpting the individual lines into a monumental and heroic structure; his weaving of the finale's awesome counterpoint show him to be a musician of significance whom we hope to hear again."
A Fulbright Scholar in Germany, Eduard Zilberkant received a Solisten Diploma from the Freiburg Musik Hochschule. He received the doctor of musical arts degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. Maestro Zilberkant is artist in residence, and chair of the music department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Maestro Zilberkant is also a Yamaha performing artist.
Sara Davis Buechner | Canada
Pianist Sara Davis Buechner is one of the leading keyboard artists of our time. She has been praised on four continents for her “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess” (New York Times), “fascinating and astounding virtuosity” (Philippine Star), and “thoughtful artistry in the full service of music” (Washington Post). “Buechner has no superior” says Japan’s InTunemagazine. Winner of a bouquet of prizes at the world’s great piano competitions -- Reine Elisabeth of Belgium, Leeds, Salzburg, Sydney and Vienna -- she established her early career with the gold medal of the 1984 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and a bronze medal in the 1986 Tschaikowsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. Now residing in Canada, Ms. Buechner enjoys a vibrant international performance and recording career.
Bernd Goetzke | Germany
One of Germany's most sought-after teachers and musicians, Bernd Goetzke studied with Prof. Karl-Heinz Kämmerling at the Hanover University of Music and Drama from the age of 13. Another important phase in his development was his long association with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, who regarded him as his last pupil. He also participated in Beethoven courses given by Wilhelm Kempff and Claudio Arrau, and was awarded prizes at several international competitions in Paris, Milan, Epinal, Athens, Brussels and beyond. At the age of 25 he was appointed Lecturer at the Hanover University of Music and Drama, where he became professor in 1982.
Ralf Gothóni | Finland
Ralf Gothóni has a worldwide career as pianist, chamber musician, conductor, composer and pedagogue. He became well known for his unconventional way of music-making, and the exof his musicianship. His tight concert schedule have included major festivals (Berlin, Edinburgh, Salzburg, La Roque de Antheron, Prades, Prague, The Proms, Ravinia, Seoul etc.), orchestras (Bayerischer Rundfunk, Berlin and Warsaw philharmonics, Detroit, Chicago and Toronto Symphonies etc.) and recording studios (c. 100 recordings for international labels).
Alexander Kobrin | Russia/United States
Alexander Kobrin is the winner of numerous international piano competitions - notably the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and was a winner of the renowned Busoni, Hamamatsu, and Glasgow International Piano Competitions. He has received numerous special awards for his brilliant technique, his musicality, and his emotional engagement with the audience through music.
Alexander Kobrin is touring extensively in Europe, Asia, and the US. His appearances have featured recitals and performances in major halls worldwide, including the Louvre Auditorium and Salle Cortot in Paris, Wigmore Hall and Albert Hall in London, Munich Herkulesaal and Berliner Filarmonia Hall in Germany, Kennedy Centre in Washington, Avery Fisher Hall in New York, the Great Hall at the Moscow Conservatoire, Sheung Wan Civic Centre in Hong Kong, as well as the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore, Sala Verdi in Milan, and many others.
He has collaborated with many of the world's major orchestras such as New York Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, Belgrade Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Verdi, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Moscow Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Berliner Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Birmingham Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Swedish Radio Symphony, KBS Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Fairbanks Symphony, Columbus Symphony Orchestras, and many others.
Alexander has also collaborated with numerous leading conductors including Mihail Pletnev, Mihail Jurovsky, Mark Elder, Vassiliy Sinaisky, James Conlon, Claus Peter Flor, Alexander Lazarev, Vassiliy Petrenko and Yuri Bashmet, amongst others. Alexander has also made appearances and given masterclasses at Bass Hall for the Cliburn Series and the Washington Performing Arts Society, followed by performances at La Roque d'Antheron, the Ravinia Festival, BBC Proms, the Beethoven Easter Festival, the Hannover Prize Winners Series, Turner Sims, the Enescu International Festival in Bucharest, Festival Musique dans le Grésivaudan, as well as at the International Piano Series and the Busoni Festival,and at the renowned Klavier-Festival Ruhr.
Other engagements included recital tour of Italy including cities such as Milan, Rome, Florence, Bolzano, Verona, Palermo and others.
John Perry | United States
John Perry, distinguished artist and teacher, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Eastman School of Music where he was a student of Cecile Genhart. During those summers, he worked with the eminent Frank Mannheimer. Recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, he continued studies in Europe for four years where he worked with Wladyslav Kedra, Polish concert artist and professor at the Akademie für Musik in Vienna, and Carlo Zecchi, renowned conductor, pianist, and head of the piano department at the Santa Cecilia Academy of Music in Rome.
Dang Thai Son | Vietnam
An outstanding international musician of our time, Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son was propelled to the forefront of the musical world in October 1980, when he was awarded the first prize and gold medal at the 10th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. It was also the first time that a top international competition was won by an Asian pianist.
Eleanor Wong | Hong Kong
Professor Eleanor Wong pursued her musical studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, on an Associated Board Scholarship with Frederic Jackson and Max Pirani. Besides winning numerous prizes and awards, Wong was one of the few students who graduated with both the graduate diploma (G.R.S.M.), and the recital diploma as well as top honours: the Walter Macfarren Gold Medal and Majorie Whyte Memorial Award for the most outstanding students. As a Boise Scholar, Ms. Wong studied in Paris with Vlado Perlemuter and later in New York with Artur Balsam. Winner of the silver medal at the Viotti International Competition Italy, Professor Wong broadcasted on RTHK, WNYC (New York), BBC (UK), and overseas services. She has also given recitals extensively in the United Kingdom (including the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room in London), China, and the United States. Professor Wong is also recognized as one of the foremost piano pedagogues with many of her pupils winning top prizes in international and local piano competitions. Being one of the most sought-after teachers, she frequently hosted lectures and workshops on piano pedagogy and has given master-classes in China, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Uruguay and the U.S.A.. Professor Wong is also a frequent juror for various international piano competitions and festivals. Presently, Professor Wong is an artist in residence and senior lecturer at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She is also a visiting professor at the Shenzhen School of Arts and Wu Han Music Conservatory, and is also an honorary professor of the Tian Jin Music Conservatory. She’s also a Steinway Artist, Co-Director of the Hong Kong Summer Music, and the chairperson of the Piano Teachers' Association in Hong Kong. In 2008, Professor Wong was elected as one of the “Outstanding Leaders” in Singtao Daily, Hong Kong for her contributions to the musical world.