Igor Gruppman

Igor Gruppman is one of those special artists whose career successfully spans a number of artistic fields. Critically acclaimed for his depth of interpretation and sensitive musicianship, Igor Gruppman enjoys an exciting and multi-faceted career as conductor, violin soloist, and orchestra leader. 

As the Leader of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and a frequent guest Leader of orchestras such as the London Symphony, London’s Royal Philharmonic, and St. Martin in the Fields, Mr. Gruppman has collaborated with and was influenced by some of the most esteemed conductors of his generation including Solti, Gergiev, Rostropovich, Colin Davis, Rattle, Haitink and Yannick Nézet Séguin.

Mr. Gruppman conducts orchestras on four continents. He made his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2006/07 season, conducting a special Easter performance of The Last Seven Words by Haydn and Gubaidulina in the Rotterdam Cathedral. This program was repeated during the Easter Festival in Moscow where Mr. Gruppman shared the podium with Maestro Gergiev. Most recently Mr. Gruppman conducted the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in two critically acclaimed Mendelssohn programs and an all-Mozart program at De Doelen Great Hall in Rotterdam where in addition to conducting the RPHO, Mr. Gruppman gave the Netherlands premiere of Mozart’s recently reconstructed Concerto for Violin and Piano (Op. 315F) with pianist Ronald Brautigam. In 2015/16 Mr. Gruppman combined performing chamber music with the great Emanuel Ax in the first half of the concert and conducting Beethoven Symphony No. 1 in the second. This formula proved to be extremely successful.

Igor Gruppman made his conducting debut with the Mariinsky Orchestra during the 2008 Easter Festival in St. Petersburg replacing at the last moment ailing Valery Gergiev and has appeared regularly with the orchestra ever since. In January of 2010,  Mr. Gruppman was honored as the Artist-of-the-Month by the Mariinsky Theater.  The 2014/15 season saw Mr. Gruppman conducting a series of three programs in St. Petersburg as well as a debut with the Orquesta Classica Santa Cecilia in Madrid at the great Auditorio Nacional de Musica. This engagement led to an invitation from the Orchestra Classica de Madeira at the beginning of 2016, which immediately led to a re-invitaion in 2017.

The 2016/17 season will be an exciting one as Igor Gruppman continues his work with the Mariinsky Orchestra, where he will be conducting two programmes as well as appearing as soloist. The summer of 2016 marks his debut at the prestigious Patras International Music Festival in Greece. Furtheremore, his 4-year residency at the Woodstock Mozart Festival continues, where he appears as conductor and soloist, together with his wife Vesna Stefanovic Gruppman.

The 2016/17 season will also mark the launch of a new orchestra/orchestra leadership academy. The academy will attract the highest level of young professionals from all over the world to Rotterdam for two extensive periods each year. The academy will be focused on performing and learning from the top leaders of the international classical music scene.

In 2017, two DVD recordings, as part of a series, will be released on the VAI label.

In the United States in addition to guest appearances, Mr. Gruppman holds the post of Principal Conductor of the Orchestra at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. These concerts are now regularly broadcast on cable television in the U.S. and abroad.  In recent seasons some of the world’s great artists have appeared with this orchestra, including Renee Fleming, Bryn Terfel and Ida Haendel.

In Asia Igor Gruppman has appeared several times as conductor and soloist with the Seoul Philharmonic.

As soloist, Mr. Gruppman is critically acclaimed for his “rich and beautiful tone, elegant phrasing, drive, passion and virtuosity.”  (Strad Magazine) He continues the proud tradition of his teachers, Leonid Kogan and Jascha Heifetz.  Most recently Mr. Gruppman received glowing reviews for his performances of the Double Concerto by Brahms under the baton of Valery Gergiev and the Second Violin Concerto by Prokofiev under the baton of Yannick Nézet Séguin, both with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mr. Gruppman’s violin solo recordings have met with enthusiastic reception by the international press: Berlioz’ Reverie and Caprice (Naxos); Respighi’s Poema Autunnale (Koch); Miklos Rosza’s Sinfonia Concertante and the Violin Concerto(Koch), which marks the first release of the concerto since the recording by Heifetz for whom this piece was written. Arnold’s Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra won a Grammy Award.  Most recently the long-awaited reconstructed original string version of the Brahms’ F Minor Quintet recorded with the members of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields was released on the Biddulph label.

Mr. Gruppman is a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory where he studied with Leonid Kogan and Mstislav Rostropovich, followed by studies with Jascha Heifetz in Los Angeles, and now is on the faculty of the Rotterdam Conservatory. Igor and Vesna Gruppman co-founded the Gruppman International Violin Institute in 2002 to select, train and develop the careers of exceptionally gifted violinists around the world, using the latest videoconferencing technology.

Mr. Gruppman plays the 1731 “Julles Garcin” Stradivarius violin generously provided by the Erasmus Foundation.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has established himself as one of the outstanding conductors of his generation, demonstrating remarkable musical depth and integrity. Born in Heinola, Finland, he began his career as a violinist before training as a conductor with Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

An artist of exceptional versatility and breadth, Saraste feels a special affinity with the sound and style of late Romantic music. Equally, he maintains a strong connection with the music of our time, such as that of Dutilleux, Lindberg, Salonen and Saariaho, among others. He conducted world premieres of works by Wolfgang Rihm, Friedrich Cerha, Pascal Dusapin and others. Moreover, he is co-founder of the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, which has a strong emphasis on contemporary music.

Saraste has served as Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne since 2010 and extended his contract in 2015 until the end of the 2018/2019 season. He was Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra from 2006 to 2013, and at the end of his tenure was appointed Conductor Laureate, the very first such title bestowed by that orchestra. His previous positions include the principal conductorships of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (1987-1991), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (1987-2001), after which he was made Conductor Laureate, Toronto Symphony Orchestra (1994-2001), and he also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2002-2005). He has recently held the position of Artistic Advisor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and founded the Finnish Chamber Orchestra, for which he is still Artistic Advisor. He also founded the orchestra´s annual Tammisaari Festival, for which he is Artistic Director.

His guest engagements have led him to the major orchestras worldwide, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and the leading Scandinavian orchestras, among others. In North America he has conducted the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic as well as Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste´s extensive discography includes the complete symphonies of Sibelius and Nielsen with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has made a number of well-received recordings with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra of works by Bartók, Dutilleux, Mussorgsky and Prokofiev for Warner Finlandia, most notably a recording of Dutilleux’s Second Symphony. His recording of Mahler´s 6th Symphony with the Oslo Philharmonic has received widespread acknowledgement. His CDs with WDR Symphony Orchestra for Hänssler have likewise earned him high critical praise, and include Schoenberg’s Pelleas and Melisande, Stravinsky’s The Firebird, Brahms’ Symphonies No. 1 and 3 as well as Mahler’s 5th and 9th Symphony and, most recently, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8. For Kairos, he and the WDR Symphony Orchestra recorded Friedrich Cerha’s Drei Orchesterstücke, again to great acclaim.

Jukka-Pekka Saraste has received the Pro Finlandia Prize, the Sibelius Medal, and the Finnish State Prize for Music. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from York University, Toronto and an honorary doctorate from the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.

Nazanin Aghakhani

Nazanin Aghakhani was born in Vienna, Austria, to a family of Persian
heritage, combined with Russian ancestry.
After professional studies of classical piano at the State Conservatory in
Vienna, winning several national competitions as a young soloist and giving
piano-recitals, she continued as a conductor at the University of Music and
performing Arts in Vienna, at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and
finally at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki where she took her Master’s
Degree in opera and symphonic conducting (with distinction) at the Sibelius
Academy in 2008.
Her most inspirational mentors throughout decades shaping here musical
perception were (order of chronological appearance) Karl Barth, Thomas
Christian David, Meira Farkas, Yuji Yuasa, Leopold Hager, Erwin Acel,
Howard Arman, Jorma Panula, Lars-Erik Rosell, Alan Gilbert, Manfred
Honeck, Paul Mägi, Anders Eby, Leif Segerstam, Daniel Barenboim and
Valery Gergiev.
Aghakhani is well recognized for her engagement to building bridges
starting from classical repertory from the late 18th century to the mid 20th
century leading into the fields of contemporary music – collaborating acitvely
with living composers on a regular basis is of great importance to her. She
herself studied also electro acoustic composition with Bill Brunson and
Fredrik Hedelin in Stockholm, which widened her musical and artistic
horizon immensely.
Aghakhani’s recent engagements as a conductor included cooperations with
orchestras and festivals throughout Europe such as Musica Nova Festival,
Salzburger Festspiele, Wien Modern, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Kungliga Operan Stockholm, Norrköping Orchestra Sweden, Kuopio
Symphony Orchestra and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra Finland, RSO Wien
as well as Neubrandenburgische Philharmonie Deutschland.
Aghakhani was chief conductor and artistic director of the Academic
Symphony Orchestra in Munich between 2010 and 2012 – the first woman
appointed in the orchestra’s history. She was also invited as the first and
only woman in history ever in Iran to conduct the Tehran Symphony
Orchestra in 2010.
Besides performing as an orchestral conductor, Aghakhani has recorded
several albums as a pianist introducing her own music in a special
improvisational form. She has been invited as a jury member for
composition competitions and as a guest conducting teacher within Europe
and Asia regularly – also for several years Nazanin Aghakhani has been
giving lectures on leadership.
Future engagements within season 2016/17 will include her debut with the
Royal Philharmonic Stockholm.
During her last performance at the Musica Nova Festival in Helsinki (world
premiere of opera ”Fatal Lesson” by Ville Raasakka), the major Finnish paper
Helsingin Sanomat wrote about the conductor Aghakhani: ”…After Nazanin
Aghakhani had left the concert hall together with all her musicians, the
whole space was still filled with her enormous mental storm and her musical
electricity she had then just created. Her precise beating technique
combined with well-thought phrasing leaves no listener untouched.”

Jorma Panula

Born in Finland, Jorma Panula was the artistic director and chief conductor of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra from 1963 to 1965, the Helsinki Philharmonic from 1965 to 1972 and the Aarhus Symphony from 1970 to 1973. He has been a frequent guest conductor of the Finnish National Opera.
Panula was Professor of Conducting at the Sibelius Academy from 1973 to 1994 and the faculties of the Stockholm Royal Academy and the Copenhagen Royal Academy.Panula studied churchmusic and conducting at the Sibelius Academy. His teachers have been: Leo Funtek, Dean Dixon, Albert Wolff and Franco Ferrara. Aside from conducting, he has composed a wide variety of music. His operas Jaako Ilkka and the River Opera established a genre entitled ”performance opera” for its fusion of music, visual art and the art of daily life.
Panula other compositions include musicals, churchmusic, a violon concerto, jazz capriccio and nummerous pieces of vocal music.
He is now a guest conductor and professor for conducting courses all over the world including Paris, London, Amsterdam, Moscow, New York, Tanglewood, Aspen, Ottawa and Sydney.

Vladimir Ashkenazy

Among the foremost musical figures of our time, Vladimir Ashkenazy was born in Gorky in 1937. He began playing the piano at the age of six and was accepted at the Central Music School at the age of eight. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, having studied with Lev Oborin. He won second prize in the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1955, first prize in the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels in 1956, and joint first prize with John Ogdon in the 1962 International Tchaikovsky Competition. Since then, he has built an extraordinary career, not only as one of the most renowned and revered pianists of our times, but as an artist whose creative life encompasses a vast range of activities and continues to offer inspiration to music-lovers across the world.

Conducting has formed the largest part of his activities for the past 20 years. Formerly Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic (1998–2003) and Music Director of NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo (2004–7), from 2009 to 2013 he has served as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, collaborating on a number of exciting projects including composer festivals, major recording projects and international touring activities. His final concerts, in November 2013, featured Britten’s War Requiem.

Alongside these positions, Ashkenazy has continued his longstanding relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra of which he was appointed Conductor Laureate in 2000. In addition to his performances with the orchestra in London and around the UK each season, he appears with them worldwide – including tours throughout Europe and South America in 2014 – and has developed landmark projects such as Prokofiev and Shostakovich under Stalin in 2003 (a project which he also took to Cologne, New York, Vienna and Moscow) and Rachmaninov Revisited in 2002 at Lincoln Center, New York.

Ashkenazy also holds the positions of Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra, with which he tours each year, and Conductor Laureate of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the NHK Symphony Orchestra. He maintains strong links with a number of other major orchestras, including The Cleveland Orchestra (of which he was formerly Principal Guest Conductor) and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (Chief Conductor and Music Director 1988–96), as well as making guest appearances with many other major orchestras around the world.

Featuring an extensive repertoire that ranges from Bach to Bartók, Vladimir Ashkenazy’s Decca discography comprises a vast number of recordings, many of which have been crowned with prizes. He received Grammy® awards among others for Beethoven’s Piano Concertos with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti (1973), for Beethoven’s Sonatas for Violin and Piano with Itzhak Perlman (1978), a Ravel programme of solo works (1985) and Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues (1999).

To mark his 70th birthday in 2007, Decca issued a number of CDs and DVDs – both newly recorded and reissued from Ashkenazy’s enormous Decca discography – which embrace his work as one of the most acclaimed pianists of his generation as well as over 25 years as a conductor. A programme of music for two pianos by Debussy and Ravel, recorded with his son Vovka Ashkenazy, was released in 2009; 2010 saw the release of Bach’s Six Partitas, which Vladimir Ashkenazy has recorded for the first time. A disc featuring Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No. 1 and his Variations on a Theme of Chopin was issued in 2011, followed by another acclaimed piano duo recording – this one of Russian works – with Vovka Ashkenazy. A disc of lesser-known Rachmaninov solo works appeared in February 2013, with August bringing a new recording of Rachmaninov piano trios with violinist Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay and cellist Mats Lidström. Further releases in 2013, marking Ashkenazy’s 50th anniversary as an exclusive Decca artist, included a 50-CD “original jacket collection” of his key recordings as pianist and conductor, a 2-CD selection entitled “The Art of Ashkenazy” and digital-only anthologies of Chopin and favourite encores.

2014 already saw the release of the album “Walking in the Air”, in which Vladimir Ashkenazy (joined by Vovka Ashkenazy for two-piano works) plays music by his longtime friend Howard Blake – including pieces dedicated to the pianist – as well as an 11-CD set containing Rachmaninov’s complete works for piano. The release of a solo Bach album, in which Ashkenazy plays works including the French Overture and the Italian Concerto, is scheduled for October 2014.

Ashkenazy has also been involved in several television projects, such as Music After Mao, filmed in Shanghai in 1979, and Ashkenazy in Moscow – a series of programmes marking his first visit in 1989 to the country of his birth since leaving the USSR in the 1960s. He has developed educational programmes with NHK TV including the 1999 Superteachers, in which he works with inner-city London school children, and in 2003–4 a documentary based around his Prokofiev and Shostakovich under Stalin project.

Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki

Multi-award winning Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki is one of the world’s leading and most distinguished musicians of his generation.


Works like the Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima (1960), St. Luke Passion (1966), Cello Concerto No.2 (1983) written for Mstislav Rostropovich, Polish Requiem (1984), Symphony No.3 (1995), Violin Concerto No.2 written for Anne-Sophie Mutter (1995), Symphony No.7 The Seven Gates of Jerusalem (1997) and the Double Concerto (2012) written for Janine Jansen and Julian Rachlin, to name a few, are now considered masterworks of our time.


Aside from composition, Krzysztof Penderecki has developed an outstanding career as a conductor over the years. He was guest conductor of both the NDR Hamburg and MDR Leipzig sinfonieorchesters, Artistic Director of the Casals Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1992-2002), and Artistic Advisor to the Beijing Music Festival. Since 2003 he has held the position of Artistic Director of the Sinfonia Varsovia with whom he has developed a wide range of projects. He also regularly works with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Iuventus – both of which he has recorded several albums with – Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Sinfonietta Cracovia, and Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2014 Anna Schmidt filmed a long documentary film on Penderecki music and life ‘Paths through the Labyrinth’.


Upcoming and recent highlights includes performances with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (closing concert of the Prague Spring Festival), Orquesta Nacional de España, Staatskapelle Weimar, Dresdner Philharmonie, Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Sao Paulo and a return to the Festival Casals.


Over the years Penderecki has garnered numerous awards both as composer and conductor, including Grand Art Prize from the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia (1966), Prix Italia (1967), Sibelius Gold Medal (1967), Polish Composers’ Association Prize (1970), Prix Arthur Honegger (1977), Sibelius Prize of the Wihuri Foundation and National Prize of Poland (both in 1983), Premio Lorenzo il Magnifico (1985), three Grammy Awards (1987, 1998 and 2001), University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition (1992), Prize of the International Music Council/UNESCO (1993), Music Prize of the City of Duisburg (1999), Cannes Award as ”Living Composer of the Year” (2000), Premio Príncipe de Asturias (2001), Romano Guardini Prize of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria (2002) and the Praemium Imperiale (2004).


Since 1990 Penderecki has held the Grand Cross for Distinguished Services of the Order of Merit in Germany and Chevalier de Saint Georges. In 1995, he became a member of the Royal Academy of Music in Dublin and in 1998 a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He was made Commander of the Three Star Order in Riga, Latvia in 2006 and is a member of the Order of the White Eagle in Poland. Krzysztof Penderecki is honorary doctor and honorary professor of numerous international universities.

Kurt Masur

KURT MASUR is well known to orchestras and audiences alike as both a distinguished conductor and humanist. In September 2002, Mr. Masur became Music Director of the Orchestre National de France in Paris. Effective with the beginning of the 2008/2009 season he will assume the title of Honorary Music Director for Life of the Orchestre National de France ensuring his close and active involvement with this Orchestra for many more years to come. From 2000-2007 he was Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic. From 1991-2002 he was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic; following his eleven year tenure he was named Music Director Emeritus, becoming the first New York Philharmonic music director to receive that title, and only the second (after the late Leonard Bernstein, who was named Laureate Conductor) to be given an honorary position. The New York Philharmonic established the ”Kurt Masur Fund for the Orchestra”, which will endow conductor debut week at the Philharmonic in perpetuity in his honor. For many seasons, Maestro Masur served as Gewandhaus Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, a position of profound historic importance. Upon his retirement from that post in 1996, the Gewandhaus named him its first-ever Conductor Laureate. Since 1992 he has held the lifetime title of Honorary Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Since 1989, when he played a central role in the peaceful demonstrations that led to the German reunification, the impact of his leadership has attracted worldwide attention. In 1995 he received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany; in 1996 he was awarded the Gold Medal of Honor for Music from the National Arts Club; and in 1997 he was awarded the titles of Commander of the Legion of Honor from the Government of France and New York City Cultural Ambassador from the City of New York. Subsequently, in July 2007, Maestro Masur was upgraded by the French government to Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, a rank that is rarely given to foreign citizens. On April 19, 1999, in Wroclaw, Poland, he received the Commander Cross of Merit of the Polish Republic, one of the country’s highest honors. In July 2004 the board of the Beethoven House Bonn appointed Maestro Masur unanimously to become chairman of the Beethoven House, the composer’s birthplace. In March 2002 the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Johannes Rau, bestowed upon him the Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and in September 2007, the President of Germany, Horst Köhler, bestowed upon him the Great Cross of the Legion of Honor with Star and Ribbon. In September 2008 Maestro Masur received the Furtwängler Prize in Bonn, Germany. Mr. Masur is also an Honorary Citizen of his hometown Brieg. In October 2004 the city of Münster bestowed upon Maestro Masur the Freedom Prize.

A frequent guest with the world’s leading orchestras, Kurt Masur made his United States debut in 1974 with the Cleveland Orchestra; also that year he took the Gewandhaus Orchestra on its first American tour. He made his New York Philharmonic debut in 1981. Maestro Masur returns every season to the United States to conduct the major American orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. In Europe, Maestro Masur works with such orchestras as the Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Orchestras of Teatro La Scala and La Fenice, the London Philharmonic and many others.

In July 2007, Maestro Masur celebrated his 80th birthday in an extraordinary concert at the BBC Proms in London where he conducted joint forces of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France.

Education is very important to Maestro Masur. He often conducts youth orchestras and gives master classes. During the 2007/2008 season, Maestro Masur will return for master classes to the Manhattan School of Music in New York and to Bonn to continue his course on the art of conducting Beethoven that started during the 2006/2007 season.

Maestro Masur’s first recording together with the ONF of Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 2 and 6 came out on the label Naive in March 2004. Subsequently, Maestro Masur and the ONF brought out on CD Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5; two Shostakovich discs featured his 7th Symphony and his two Violin Concertos with the young Armenian violinist Sergey Kachatryan, again on the Naïve label. Mr. Masur made more than thirty recordings with the New York Philharmonic for Teldec Classics International, two of those winning ”Record of the Year” awards from Stereo review (Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, Babi Yar, and Mahler’s Ninth Symphony). For Deutsche Grammophon, he, the New York Philharmonic, and Anne-Sophie Mutter recorded a Grammy nominated album of Brahms and Schumann and most recently Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and two romances. Mr. Masur has made well over 100 other recordings with numerous orchestras, including the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky. With the London Philharmonic, the orchestra and the Maestro created their own record label and recently released recordings of Shostakovich Symphonies No. 1 and 5 and the War Requiem by Benjamin Britten.

Born in Brieg, Silesia, in 1927, Mr. Masur studied piano, composition, and conducting at the Music College of Leipzig. In 1948 he was designated Orchestra Coach at the Halle County Theater, and later became Kapellmeister of the Erfurt and Leipzig Opera theaters. He accepted his first major orchestral appointment in 1955, as Conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic. He returned to opera in 1958 as General Director of Music at the Mecklenburg State Theater of Schwerin. From 1960 to 1964 Mr. Masur was Senior Director of Music at Berlin’s Komische Oper, collaborating with influential director-producer Walter Felsenstein. In 1967 he was appointed the Dresden Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor, a post he held until 1972. In his capacity as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Kapellmeister, he led nearly a thousand performances between 1970 and 1996 and more than 900 concerts on tour.

Maestro Masur has been a professor at the Leipzig Academy of Music since 1975 and holds honorary degrees from the Breslau Academy of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Indiana University, The Juilliard School, Leipzig University, the Manhattan School of Music, the University of Michigan, Westminster Choir College, SUNY Binghampton, and Yale University. In 2008 Maestro Masur celebrates 60 years as a professional conductor.

You can find more information about Maestro Masur, his life and activities on his home page: www.kurtmasur.com.

Shiyeon Sung

The South Korean conductor Shiyeon Sung is characterised by a natural authority, a collegial and inspiring rehearsal approach and the ability to find the right nuance on the fine line between passion and ratio. With the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra, whose chief conductor she has been since January 2014, she will go on tour in Europe for the first time in the summer of 2015. Together, they will appear at the Philharmonie Berlin, in Wiesbaden and at the Musik Festival Saar amongst others. Shortly afterwards, she will conduct the National Symphony Orchestra Washington at the Wolf Trap Festival.

When James Levine appointed her as his Assistant Conductor at the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2008, she already had a reputation as one of the most exciting emerging talents on the international music circuit: shortly before, Shiyeon Sung had won the International Conductors‘ Competition Sir Georg Solti and the Gustav Mahler Conductors‘ Competition in Bamberg. During her three-year tenure in Boston, she began a close collaboration with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted their season opening concert in 2007. In 2009, the orchestra established an Associate Conductor’s position especially for her, which she held until 2013.

In the meantime, the list of orchestras with whom Shiyeon Sung has worked is remarkable. Renowned European orchestras such as the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin and the Bamberg Symphony are included as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which she led in a spectacular debut concert with Martha Argerich and Tongyeong International Music Festivall orchestra. In June 2010, Shiyeon Sung conducted the highly successful re-opening concert of the legendary Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. The Argentinian press enthusiastically praised the young conductor’s “virtuoso ability”. At the Stockholm Opera, she conducted Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orpheus und Eurydike amongst others.

Born in Pusan, South Korea, Shiyeon Sung won various prizes as a pianist in youth competitions. From 2001 to 2006, she studied orchestral conducting with Rolf Reuter at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin and continued her education with advanced conducting studies with Jorma Panula at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

Johannes Gustavsson

Johannes Gustavsson is one of Sweden’s leading young conductors. He is a versatile artist and conducts both symphonic and operatic repertoire on a high level with numerous leading Scandinavian orchestras and opera companies including Swedish Radio Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, The Royal Swedish Opera, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Opera, Oslo Philharmonic and he conducts orchestras all over Sweden, Finland and Norway on a regular basis. Gustavsson has an extensive repertoire and he has premiered more than 30 orchestral works written by Nordic composers.

Since 2009 Johannes Gustavsson has been one of Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra’s regular conductors, and from August 2010 he has been appointed First Guest Conductor with Västerås Sinfonietta. Nordic Chamber Orchestra in Sundswall, Sweden has appointed him artistic advisor from Autumn 2010.

Gustavsson has recorded Anders Eliasson: Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra and Sinfonia per Archi with the Swedish Radio Orchestra, released on the CPO label. In 2010 a new recording will be released on the same label: Eliasson: Quo Vadis with Michael Weinius, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and The Swedish Radio Choir.

Johannes Gustavsson has received several awards and prizes. He is the first recipient of ‘Swedish Conductors’ Award and the first to receive ‘Herbert Blomstedt’s Conductors Award’. He has won prizes in the Solti competition, Frankfurt and the Toscanini competition in Parma and Taormina, Italy.

Johannes studied viola and took his diploma in conducting at the Norwegian Academy of Music after studies with Lars Anders Tomter, Ole Kristian Ruud and Olav Anton Thommessen. Additional studies with Simon Streatfeild and Jorma Panula.

Born in Sweden in 1975.

Leif Segerstam

Leif Segerstam (born in 1944), conductor, composer, violinist and pianist, is one of the most versatile musical talents in the Nordic countries. He studied at the Sibelius Academy in 1952-1963 and completed diplomas in violin and conducting. After completing degree in conducting at Juilliard Music Academy in New York in 1965, Segerstam spent three years conducting the Finnish National Opera.

Leif Segerstam continued his career in Stockholm’s Royal Opera in 1968, first as a conductor and after a couple of years as the artistic director. In the beginning of the 1970’s he also worked with the German Opera in Berlin and with the Finnish National Opera. He was guest conductor in the Metropolitan, Covent Garden and La Scala as well as in Munich’s, Hamburg’s and Cologne’s Opera and at the Salzburg Festival. In the 1980’s it was time for Vienna State Opera and Copenhagen’s Royal Opera. At the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland Segerstam has conducted for years, and in Stockholm’s Royal Opera he worked as the chief conductor from 1995 to 2000. Acknowledged work among opera continues as the Malmö Opera’s chief conductor and from 2015 as the honorary conductor.

Segerstam appears regularly as guest conductor with symphony orchestras around the world. In 1975-1982 he was the chief conductor of the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra, in 1977-1987 the chief conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and in 1983-1989 Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatsharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, later orchestra’s lifetime “Ehren Gastdirigent”. 1988-1995 Segerstam worked as chief conductor of Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and is now orchestra’s honorary conductor. He was the 11th chief conductor of Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra during 1995-2007, and continues collaboration as orchestra’s Emeritus Chief Conductor. From 2012 on Segerstam has worked as the chief conductor of Turku Philharmonic Orchestra.

The numerous recordings by Leif Segerstam with different orchestras have received wide international reputation. His large-scale composing production includes over 280 symphonies, violin concertos, piano concertos and various other instrumental concertos and lot of chamber music and vocal music.

From autumn 1997 to spring 2013 Leif Segerstam was Acting Professor of Conducting at the Sibelius Academy. The Nordic Music Committee awarded Segerstam the 1999 Nordic Council Music Prize for his work as a tireless champion of Scandinavian music. In spring 2003 Segerstam received Svenska Kulturfonden’s prize for his meritorious action in the field of music. In 2004 Leif Segerstam was awarded the annual State Prize for Music in Finland and in 2005 the highly esteemed Sibelius Medal. In 2014 the President of Finland granted Segerstam the title of Professor.