International Jury

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.

Offering his audiences a repertoire that extends from Baroque to avant-garde, Braginsky has performed more than 20 world premieres, most of which were commissioned and written for him. Braginsky has performed extensively in the USSR, Israel, England, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, People’s Republic of China, Spain, Cuba, France, and the United States. He also appeared on stage in collaboration with the variety of renowned artists including Yefim Bronfman and Oleg Kagan. Alexander Braginsky and his wife, cellist Tanya Remenikova, were the first artists-in-residence appointed by Churchill College, Cambridge, in 1981. A professor on the faculty of the International Music Summer Course in Vienna, Austria, from 1995 to 2006, Braginsky regularly gives numerous master classes around the world, including International Keyboard Institute at Mannes College and Beijing International Music Festival. Braginsky has recorded for DDF, Sound StarTone and d’Note labels. He has appeared repeatedly on BBC, National Public Radio, RTB-BRT, and other radio stations throughout the world. In 2003 in Vienna he was awarded the Josef Dichler Gold Medal for outstanding achievement. Today, Braginsky teaches at the University of Minnesota School of Music. Braginsky is the founding president and the artistic director of the International Piano-e-Competition.


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

Sara Davis Buechner

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.


With an active repertoire of more than 100 piano concertos ranging from A (Albeníz) to Z (Zimbalist), she has appeared as soloist with the world’s most prominent orchestras in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Ms. Buechner’s numerous recordings have received prominent critical appraisal. Current projects include a multi-CD collection of Bach’s keyboard works in the 1919 edition of Ferruccio Busoni, the complete violin-and-piano music of Joaquín Turina, and the first major recording of piano music by American composer Ray Green.


Ms. Buechner has commissioned new works, and given premieres and prominent performances of important new music and film scores, by Larry Bell, Dorothy Chang, Stephen Chatman, Pierre Charvet, John Corigliano, Richard Danielpour, Ray Green, Miriam Hyde, Dick Hyman, Henry Martin, Jared Miller, Joaquín Nin-Culmell, David Raksin, Miklós Rózsa, Yukiko Nishimura and Wim Zwaag. She is one of the few pianists to actively perform piano scores to silent movies, including notable restorations Battleship Potemkin and Ben-Hur, performed at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. 


Ms. Buechner is a former faculty member of New York University and is currently Associate Professor of Piano at the University of British Columbia. She has presented lectures and masterclasses worldwide, notably at the Juilliard School in New York, the Royal Academy in London, Indiana University, Yong Siu Toh Conservatory in Singapore, National Taiwan Normal University, Senzoku Conservatory in Tokyo and the Kobe-Yamate Gakuen in Osaka, Japan. She has also adjudicated important international piano competitions such as the Concert Artists Guild of New York, Firkušný Competition in Prague, and Asian Chopin Competition in Japan.


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.


He teaches a class of young pianists from all over the world, many of whom have won prizes at international competitions, and holds master classes in Germany and throughout the world. Bernd Goetzke has served as a jury member in many international competitions, including Moscow, Munich, Bolzano, Orléans, Oslo, London, St. Petersburg, Kharkov, Kiev, Salt Lake City, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Warsaw. Since 2000, he has been director of an institute for gifted children, which he founded and which is attached to the Hanover University of Music and Drama and is the only one of its kind in Germany. His concert repertoire includes works by Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann and Debussy, as well as 20th century music.


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). 

Mr. Gothóni appears regularly both as a soloist and conductor, conducting often from the keyboard. He has premiered more than a dozen piano concertos (Tavener, Sallinen, Rautavaara, Curtis-Smith, Glick, etc) and as a conductor he worked a.o. as the principal conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra in 2001-2009 and as the musical director of Northwest Chamber Orchestra in Seattle 2000-2006. Since 2004 he has been the guest conductor of Deutsche Kammerakademie. As chamber musician he performs regularly at important festivals. 


Very close to Mr. Gothónis heart is the contact with young musicians; he has been professor for chamber music in Berlin, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Detmold, Madrid and currently in Karlsruhe, Germany. He also gives master classes worldwide and is invited as juror at the major piano competitions. 


In the 1980s, during Mr. Gothóni's artistic directorship, the Savonlinna Opera Festival expanded to its format of today. In the '90s he was the initiator and artistic director of "The Forbidden City Music Festival" in Beijing and since 2004 he has directed "The Musical Bridge" between Egypt and Finland in Cairo. He has also been successful as a writer of two books with essays about musical phenomenology. 


Mr. Gothóni has been honored with many awards, including the American Gilmore Artist Award in 1994, which is one of the biggest awards in classical music, the Schubert Medal of the Austrian Cultural Ministry and in 2012 he was awarded by Queen Sofia of Spain for his artistic and pedagogical work.


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.

Mr. Perry has won numerous awards including the highest prizes in both the Busoni and Viotti international piano competitions in Italy and special honors at the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris. Since then he has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America to great critical acclaim. Also a respected chamber musician, Mr. Perry has collaborated with some of the finest instrumentalists in the world.


He also enjoys an international reputation as a teacher, presenting master classes throughout the world. He often is a jury member at some of the most prestigious international piano competitions. His students have been prize winners in most major competitions and include two first-prize winners in the Rubinstein, four first-prize winners in the Music Teacher's National Association national competition, and first-prize winners in the Naumburg National Chopin competition, the Cleveland Competition, Beethoven Foundation Competition, the Federated Music Clubs, and the YKA, AMSC, and YMF competitions, and finalists in the Chopin International in Warsaw, the Van Cliburn, the Queen Elisabeth, Leeds, Dublin, Busoni, Viotti and the Three Rivers competitions.


Mr. Perry is professor at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, professor of piano at California State University Northridge in Los Angeles, visiting artist faculty at Boston University, and professor emeritus of the USC Thornton School of Music. In addition, he recently founded a music school, Southern California Music Institute in Los Angeles, where he serves as Artistic Director. During the summer he is artist professor at the Lake Como International Piano Academy, the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, the Sarasota Music Festival in Florida, the Orford Music Festival in Quebec, the Morningside Music Bridge Program in Calgary, Alberta, the Internationaler Klaviersommer Cochem, Germany, the International Music Festival in Perugia, Italy, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, Montecito International Music Festival in Santa Barbara, and the Southern California Music Institute Summer Festival in California. In January he is main guest artist at the Sydney Piano Festival in Australia. His recordings are available on the Telefunken, Musical Heritage Society, CBC, ACA and Fox labels.


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.

He began piano studies with his mother in Hanoi. Discovered by the Russian pianist Isaac Katz, who was on visit in Vietnam in 1974, he pursued his advanced training at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia with Vladimir Natanson and Dmitry Bashkirov.


Since winning the Chopin Competition, his international career has taken him to more than 40 countries, into such world-renowned halls as Lincoln Center (New York), Barbican Center (London), Salle Pleyel (Paris), Herculessaal (Munich), Musikverein (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Opera House (Sydney) and Suntory Hall (Tokyo).


He has played with numerous world-class orchestras such as St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Czech Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, Baden-Baden Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Warsaw National Philharmonic, Prague Symphony, NHK Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Hungarian State Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Russian National Symphony, as well as Virtuosi of Moscow, Sinfonia Varsovia, Vienna Chamber, Zurich Chamber, Royal Swedish Chamber Orchestras, and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. Also, he has appeared under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner, Pinchas Zukerman, Mariss Jansons, Pavvo Jarvi , Ivan Fisher, Frans Bruggen, Vladimir Spivakov, Dimitri Kitaenko, James Loughram, Jiri Belohlavek, Hiroyuki Iwaki, Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi, Pavel Kogan, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Sakari Oramo and John Nelson.


In the field of chamber music, he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Octet, the Smetana String Quartet, Barry Tuckwell, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Pinchas Zukerman, Boris Belkin, Joseph Suk, and Alexander Rudin, and he has played duo-piano with Andrei Gavrilov.


Other career highlights include a New Year's Day concert (1995) with Yo Yo Ma, Seiji Ozawa, Kathleen Battle, and the late Mstislav Rostropovich in a major international event produced by the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation NHK; in January 1999, a gala concert opening the Chopin year, where he was the only foreign artist invited to appear as soloist with the Warsaw National Opera Theatre Orchestra; concerts in Isaac Stern's last festival in Miyazaki, Japan in 2001, which included three performances with Pinchas Zukerman; a special performance in 2005 as the only guest artist at the opening gala concert of the 25th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he was also a member of the jury; and on Chopin's 200th birthday, March 1, 2010, he played at the gala concert the Concerto in F-minor with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century under the direction of Frans Bruggen at the Warsaw National Opera Theatre.


Dang Thai Son is frequently invited to give master classes around the world - such as the special class in Berlin in October 1999, where he taught alongside Murray Perahia and Vladimir Ashkenazy, who extended the invitation. Since 1987 he has been a visiting professor at the Kunitachi Music College (Tokyo), and currently he teaches at the Universite de Montreal (Canada). He has sat on the juries of such prestigious competitions as the International Chopin Piano Competition (Warsaw), Cleveland (USA), Clara Haskil (Switzerland), Artur Rubinstein (Tel-Aviv), Hamamatsu (Japan), Rachmaninoff (Russia), Piano Masters of Monte Carlo, Sviatoslav Richter (Moscow), C. Bechstein (Germany), and Villa-Lobos (Brazil), Vladimir Viardo (Dallas), and Jeunesses Musicales International Piano Competition (Montreal).


Dang Thai Son has recorded for Deutsche Grammophone, Melodya, Polskie Nagrania, CBS Sony, Analekta, Victor JVC and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.


Mr. Dang's latest recordings of "Selection of Nocturnes," with the Chopin National Institute in Poland, recorded on a 1849 Erard piano and a Steinway piano are available worldwide.


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.