Stephen Kovacevich

Stephen Kovacevich is one of the most searching interpreters, never afraid to take both technical and musical risks in order to achieve maximum expressive impact. As a pianist he has won unsurpassed admiration for his playing, non-more than from Leopold Stokowski who wrote: “You do with your feet what I try to do with my Philadelphia Orchestra”.

Born in Los Angeles, Stephen Kovacevich laid the foundation for his career as concert pianist at the age of eleven.  After moving to England to study with Dame Myra Hess, Stephen made his European debut at Wigmore Hall in 1961.  Since then he has appeared with many of the world’s finest orchestras and conductors including Hans Graf, Bernard Haitink, Kurt Masur, Simon Rattle and Georg Solti. In addition, he has forged many longstanding professional relationships, most notably with Colin Davis with whom he made numerous outstanding recordings, including the legendary Bartok Piano Concerto No.2 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Recent and upcoming recital highlights include an extensive tour of the Far East, recitals in Paris, Berlin, Boston, Zagreb, Dublin and Cardiff, alongside two live BBC Radio 3 broadcasts from St George’s Hall, Bristol and Wigmore Hall. His recent concerto highlights include a triumphant return to Montreal Symphony Orchestra (under David Zinman), Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra (with Sylvain Cambreling), Malaysian Philharmonic (Jacek Kaspszyk), Orchestre de chambre de Paris (John Nelson) and Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Vladimir Ashkenazy).  Stephen recently performed to a sell-out audience for his recital at the International Piano Series at the Queen Elisabeth Hall in London.  In addition, Stephen is a regular soloist at the Verbier and Lugano festivals.

Stephen is a committed chamber musician who has collaborated with Jacqueline du Pré ( with whom he recorded their celebrated recording of Beethoven’s Sonatas No. 3 and 5), Martha Agerich, Steven Isserlis, Nicola Benedetti, Nigel Kennedy, Lynn Harrell, Gautier Capuçon, Renaud Capuçon, Kyung-wha Chung, Truls Mørk, Emmanuel Pahud, Anna Larsson, Alina Ibragimova, Philippe Graffin, Joseph Suk and the Amadeus, Belcea and-Cleveland Quartets.

Stephen Kovacevich has enjoyed an illustrious long-term relationship with recording companies Philips and EMI.  To celebrate his 75th birthday, Decca has released a Limited Edition 25 CD Box Set of his entire recorded legacy for Philips.  In 2008 Stephen Kovacevich recorded Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations exactly 40 years after his first recording of the work. This Onyx recording won him the 2009 Classic FM Gramophone Editor’s Choice Award and the Top Choice’ by Gramophone Magazine in September 2015, to quote: “his seasoned yet fearless mastery reveals something new with each hearing”.

Lynn Harrell

Lynn Harrell’s presence is felt throughout the musical world. A consummate soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, conductor and teacher, his work throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia has placed him in the highest echelon of today’s performing artists.

Mr. Harrell is a frequent guest of many leading orchestras including Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, and the National Symphony. In Europe he partners with the orchestras of London, Munich, Berlin, Tonhalle and Israel. He has also toured extensively to Australia and New Zealand as well as the Far East, including Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In the summer of 1999 Mr. Harrell was featured in a three-week “Lynn Harrell Cello Festival” with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He regularly collaborates with such noted conductors as James Levine, Sir Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Slatkin, Yuri Temirkanov, Michael Tilson Thomas and David Zinman.

In recent seasons Mr. Harrell has particularly enjoyed collaborating with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist, André Previn. In January 2004 the trio appeared with the New York Philharmonic performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Maestro Masur conducting.

An important part of Lynn Harrell’s life is summer music festivals, which include appearances at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Aspen and Grand Tetons festivals, and the Amelia Island Festival.

On April 7, 1994, Lynn Harrell appeared at the Vatican with the Royal Philharmonic in a concert dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The audience for this historic event, which was the Vatican’s first official commemoration of the Holocaust, included Pope John Paul II and the Chief Rabbi of Rome. That year Mr. Harrell also appeared live at the Grammy Awards with Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, performing an excerpt from their Grammy-nominated recording of the complete Beethoven String Trios (Angel/EMI).

Highlights from an extensive discography of more than 30 recordings include the complete Bach Cello Suites (London/Decca), the world-premiere recording of Victor Herbert’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields led by Marriner (London/Decca), the Walton Concerto with Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI), and the Donald Erb Concerto with Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony (New World). Together with Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mr. Harrell was awarded two Grammy Awards – in 1981 for the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio and in 1987 for the complete Beethoven Piano Trios (both Angel/EMI). A recording of the Schubert Trios with Mr. Ashkenazy and Pinchas Zukerman (London/Decca) was released in February 2000. His May 2000 recording with Kennedy, “Duos for Violin & Cello,” received unanimous critical acclaim (EMI). Most recently, Mr. Harrell recorded Tchaikovsky’s Variations for Cello and Orchestra on a Rococo Theme, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2, and Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Gerard Schwarz conducting (Classico).

Lynn Harrell’s experience as an educator is wide and varied. From 1985-93 he held the International Chair for Cello Studies at the Royal Academy in London. Concurrently, from 1988-92, he was Artistic Director of the orchestra, chamber music and conductor training program at the L.A. Philharmonic Institute. In 1993, he became head of the Royal Academy in London, a post he held through 1995. He has also given master classes at the Verbier and Aspen festivals and in major metropolitan areas throughout the world. Since the start of the 2002-03 academic year, Mr. Harrell has taught cello at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

Lynn Harrell was born in New York to musician parents. He began his musical studies in Dallas and proceeded to the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the first Avery Fisher Award.

In June, 2010  along with his wife, violinist Helen Nightengale, he founded the HEARTbeats Foundation, a 501(c) charity. Based in Los Angeles, the HEARTbeats Foundation strives to help children in need harness the power of music to better cope with, and recover from, the extreme challenges of poverty and conflict, in hope of creating a more peaceful, sustainable world for generations to come. Mr. Harrell serves as a board officer and Artist Ambassador, a capacity that allows him to work directly with children in in need.

He makes his home in Santa Monica, CA

Kolja Blacher

Kolja Blacher studied at the Juilliard School of Music with Dorothy DeLay and with Sandor Vegh in Salzburg. He performed as a soloist all over the world, with orchestras such as Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Symphony, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia and Baltimore Symphony. He has worked with conductors including Kirill Petrenko, Vladimir Jurowski, Dimitri Kitajenko, Mariss Jansons, Matthias Pintscher, Markus Stenz.

Blacher’s programmatic spectrum comprises works for solo violin from Bach to Berio, the classical-romantic core repertoire, and contemporary music for violin and orchestra (including works by Magnus Lindberg, Kurt Weill, Hans Werner Henze and Bernd Alois Zimmermann). Open to new concert experiences, he gave the German premiere of Brett Dean’s „Electric Preludes“ for the six-string e-violin.

In the past five years „Play-Lead“ concerts have become the new focus in Blacher’s artistic activities; as a leader – both as a soloist and from the concertmaster’s chair – he worked regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano, Taiwan Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Festival Strings Lucerne, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Bern and the Orchestra of the ”Komische Oper” in Berlin. This new form of performance practice, increasing sought after, leads him all over the world, from St. Antonio to Kuala Lumpur to Paris.

Additional upcoming highlights in the 16/17 season include projects with Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, St Antonio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and tours with Württembergisches Chamber Orchestra (their CD with the recording of Bernstein’s Serenade will be released in 2017).

Blacher has recorded highly acclaimed CDs (e.g. Diapason d’Or) in collaboration with Claudio Abbado, with whom he has maintained close ties since their time at the Berlin Philharmonic and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. His CD with Schönbergs’s Violin Concerto (with Markus Stenz and Gürzenich-Orchester Köln) was released in Autumn 2013.

Kolja Blacher was a professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg before returning to his hometown of Berlin, where he teaches at the Hochschule für Musik ”Hanns Eisler.” A born and bred Berliner – his father was the Baltic-German composer Boris Blacher – Kolja Blacher lives with his family in Berlin.


He plays a 1730 “Tritton” Stradivari, generously on loan from Ms Kimiko Powers.

Zlata Chochieva

Aurora Chamber Music Scholarship 2011

”Zlata Chochieva is a rising world class pianist. The depth of her performances, unique power and maturity are impressive. It seems, she can easily penetrate the secret treasures of composers’ ideas.
I believe Zlata has a tremendous future. Her performance sparkles with unusual clarity and sincerity which is natural only for exceptional talents”.
Tamerlan Khosroev, Member of the Composers Union Russian Federation
”…Amazing easiness and extraordinary inner power”.
Crescendo magazine

Zlata Chochieva was born in 1985 in Moscow. At the age of four she started receiving her basic music education as a pianist in the studio of Nina Dolenko at the Flier Music School.
From 2000 to 2003 she studied the piano under the supervision of Mikhail Pletnev at the Central Special Music School at Moscow State Conservatory (studio of Kira Shashkina).
In 2008 she graduated with the distinction from Moscow State Conservatory under the instruction of Pavel Nersessian. Zlata is currently a postgraduate student, continuing in the studio of the same professor.
Participated in master-classes with world famous professors: P. Gililov, P. Devoyon, D. Bashkirov, P. Badura-Skoda, A. El Bacha, J. Lowenthal and J. Rouvier who is Zlata’s supervisor at the present moment.
At the age of eight Zlata made her debut on the stage of Grand Hall of Moscow State Conservatory, performing Mozart’s concerto No 17 with an orchestra. Ever since then she has been giving recitals and performing with various orchestras in the most well-known concert halls of Moscow, other Russian cities and abroad (Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, etc.).
She has given concerts with numerous orchestras, including Russian National Orchestra (conductor Mikhail Pletnev), ”Danish Tivoli Orchestra” (conductor Terje Mikkelsen), ”The Royal Chamber Orchestra Wallonia” (conductor Paul Goodwin), ”The Munich chamber orchestra”, etc.
Zlata is the winner of ten international piano competitions, including Agropoly Contest (Italy), Shimanovsky Competition (Poland), Gold Medal at the Piano Competition in Copenhagen (Denmark), Frechilla-Zuloaga Competition (Spain), the third prize winner at ”Tivoli piano competition” (Denmark), ”Mozart prize” at ”ARD” contest (Germany), award from ”Russian Performing Art” Foundation in Moscow. She has recently won Alberto Fano Competition in Italy and Silver medal, ”Chopin prize”, ”Public Preference Prize” at The 1st International Piano Competition of Santa Catarina in Brazil.
In 2005 Zlata was named ”Honorable Artist of North Ossetia Republic”, becoming the youngest artist ever in the Republic to be so recognized.
She has recently performed in such halls as the Herkulessaal (Munich), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Tivoli Concert Hall (Copenhagen), Casa da Música (Porto), Belem Cultural Center (Lisbon), the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the Grand Hall of Saint Petersburg Philharmonia among many others.
Her performances have been broadcasted on the radio and TV in Russia and abroad (Italy, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Germany, USA).
Participated in a number of festivals, including ”The Easter Festival”, ”Art-November” in Moscow and ”ARD Festival” in Munich.

”Zlata Chochieva possesses an extraordinary talent and rare personality where modesty, devotion and confidence make a superior artist and person.
She is a complete artist and musician having  no boundaries but amazing possibilities.
I see no reason preventing her from  becoming one of the greatest pianists of contemporary world”.
Per Nystrom, Concert cellist & Artistic director Aurora Chamber Music

”…I believe she is one of those exceptional pianists who can fairly claim advancement in career”.
Pascal Devoyon, Concert pianist

Eszter Haffner



Eszter Haffner, 1969 in Budapest geboren, kam bereits mit 13 Jahren in die Begabten-Klasse an der Budapester Musikakademie zu Professoren wie András Kiss, Ferenc Rados und György Kurtág. Nach dem Abschluß ihres Studiums in Budapest setzte sie dieses an der Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Wien bei Gerhard Schulz und Josef Sivó fort und erhielt 1993 ihr Diplom mit einstimmiger Auszeichnung und dem Würdigungspreis des Kulturministeriums. 1995 absolvierte sie in Holland ein Gaststudium bei Viktor Libermann und Philip Hirschhorn sowie 1987-1995 verschiedene Meisterkurse bei Lorand Fenyves, Sándor Végh, Alberto Lysy, Tibor Varga und Igor Ozim. 1991 feierte Eszter Haffner ihr Debut im Goldenen Saal des Wiener Musikvereins.

Eszter Haffner war Stipendiatin der Alban-Berg-, der Martha-Sobotka, der Erasmus-, der Janecek- und der Ziehrer-Stiftung in Wien, sowie des PE Förderkreises in Mannheim. Sie ist Preisträgerin zahlreicher internationaler Wettbewerbe: u. a. Koncz János Violinwettbewerb in Szombathely (1980), Concertino Praha (1982), Jugend musiziert (1984), Internationaler Kammermusikwettbewerb in Trapani (1989), Internationaler Kammermusikwettbewerb in Caltanissetta und Trapani (1990), Stefani Hohl Violinwettbewerb in Wien (1992). 1991 wurde ihr für ihre künstlerische Tätigkeit die österreichische Staatsbürgerschaft verliehen.

Sie wirkte bei unzähligen Musikfestivals wie Menuhin Festival Blonay, Festival Sion, Prussia Cove Festival, Brighton Festival, Römerberg Festival, Gendarmenmarkt-Festival, Bates Festival, Montana Festival, Kezar Falls Festival, Brahms Tage Mürzzuschlag, Neuberger Kulturtage, Bregenzer Festspiele, Schubertiade, St. Gallen Festival, Klangbogen Wien Porto Gruaro Festival, Cervantino Festival Mexico, Festival Tamaulipas Mexico, Festtage Rapottenstein, Haydn Festspiele Eisenstadt, Styriarte Graz, Macau Festival, Vienna Festival Hongkong, Taipei Festival, Casals Festival in Prades und Villa Musica/Rheinland-Pfalz mit.

Als Solistin und Kammermusiker (Violine und Bratsche) trat Eszter Haffner mit Künstlern wie Gerhard Schulz, Thomas Kakuska, Valentin Erben, Clemens Hagen, Wolfgang Schulz, Alexander Lonquich, Alexei Lubimov, François Benda, Pamela Frank, Christian Altenburger, Leonard Hokanson, Altenberg Trio, Haydn-Trio, Franz Bartolomey, Artis Quartett, Stefan Vladar, Lars Anders Tomter, Patrick Demenga, Wiener Streichsextett, Ulf Rodenhäuser, Martin Ostertag, Melvyn Tan, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Markus Schirmer, Bruno Pasquier, Philliphe Mueller, Michel Lethiec, Hartmuth Rhode, Michaela Martin, Arto Noras, Wladimir Mendelssohn, Nicolas Chumachenco, Hagai Shaham, Ulf Wallin und Dirigenten wie Marko Letonja und Adam Medveczky auf.

Als Pädagogin sammelte Eszter Haffner Erfahrungen an der Wiener Universität für Musik, als Vertragslehrerin und Assistentin in der Klasse von Gerhard Schulz, sowie regelmäßig bei Violin- und Kammermusikkursen (a. u. Neuberger Kulturtage, Casals Festival in Prades, Villa Musica/Rheinland-Pfalz, Masterclass Montana, Bates College, in Bozeman, Honkong, Taiwan und an der Toho Universität Tokio).

Seit 2002 ist sie Professorin an der Kunstuniversität Graz und ab September 2011 auch an der Danish Royal Academy of Music in Kopenhagen. 1993 gründete sie mit Teresa Turner Jones und Rudolf Leopold das Haffner Trio und hat mit diesem Ensemble bereits mehrere CDs mit Werken von Martinu, Kodaly, Schönberg, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms und Mozart aufgenommen. Weiters spielte sie Mozarts Sinfonia concertante (mit Bettina Gradinger) und im Auftrag der Oesterreichischen Nationalbank eine CD mit Schubert, Schumann und Eisler (mit Christian Schuster) ein.

Sie spielt die ”ex Hamma Segelmann”-Violine von Michelangelo Bergonzi (Cremona, 1750) aus der Sammlung der Oesterreichischen Nationalbank.

Ulrika Knutson



”Ulrika Knutson är en av de senaste decenniernas mest inflytelserika och betydelsefulla kulturförmedlare. I en rad olika former och medier har hon inspirerat och upplyst det svenska folket om kulturens goda alltsedan 1980-talet. Hennes verbala och stilistiska skicklighet, bildning, goda omdöme och karismatiska person har gjort henne till en kulturell centralgestalt.

Ulrika Knutson inledde sin verksamhet på 1980-talet. 1988 blev hon programledare för TV:s stora satsning Kulturen, 1991 för Filmkrönikan. 1993–2002 var hon kulturredaktör på tidningen Månadsjournalen. 2009 utsågs hon till ordförande för Publicistklubben. Hon är numera verksam som kritiker och krönikör i Expressen och i SR:s kulturradio. 2004–2005 innehade hon JMG:s gästprofessur i praktisk journalistik. Till Ulrika Knutsons mest uppmärksammade böcker hör Kvinnor på gränsen till genombrott. Om Fogelstadkvinnorna (2004). Hon har mottagit flera priser och utmärkelser som Stora journalistpriset 2001, Gerard Bonniers stipendium för kulturjournalistik 2005, Längmanska kulturfondens stora kulturpris 2009, Jolopriset 2010 samt Karin Gierows pris 2011.”

Rachel Roberts



Rachel Roberts is one of the UK’s leading violists and performs internationally as soloist and chamber musician. As soloist she has collaborated with conductors Christoph von Dohnanyi, Andras Schiff, Richard Hickox and Martyn Brabbins performing concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Koln Kammerorchester, Kammerphilharmonie Graubunden in Switzerland and the Manchester Camerata Chamber Orchestra amongst others. She was the featured viola soloist in the BBC TV documentary “The Passions of Vaughan Williams” with Richard Hickox and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and has performed Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante alongside violinists Christian Tetzlaff, Antje Weithaas and Benjamin Schmid in Germany, Switzerland and London.

Rachel Roberts enjoys a busy schedule of chamber music. She has appeared as chamber musician at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam;  Musikverein (Grand Saal) Vienna; Alte Oper, Frankfurt; Wigmore Hall; Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall, St.John’s Smith Square and King’s Place. Rachel is a regular guest at international chamber music festivals including Salzburg Festival, Wiener Festwoche, Schubertiade – Schwarzenberg, Heimbach – Germany, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Hamburg “Oestertone”, Lofoten – Norway and Stift – Holland. As chamber musician Rachel has collaborated with Lars Vogt, Christian Tetzlaff, Joshua Bell, Isabelle Faust, Lisa Batiashvili, Renaud and Gautier Capucon, Steven Isserlis and Pekka Kuusisto.

Prizes for her chamber music recordings include the Diapason D’or, the „Supersonic Award’ of Pizzicato magazine, Luxembourg, CD of the month in Fonoforum Magazine, Germany, and BBC Chamber Choice in Gramophone Magazine. Rachel Roberts has recorded chamber music for labels Hyperion, Champs Hill Artists, Signum Classics, cAVI in Germany and Deutsche Rundfunk

Highlights of 2014/15 include a second solo CD release with pianist Lars Vogt, chamber music performances alongside Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis, an appearance with the Tetzlaff String Quartet, live BBC Radio 3 recitals with the London Conchord Ensemble, and the release of their new disc featuring Mozart’s ‚Kegelstatt’ Trio. In May 2015 she will perform Brahms Piano Quartets in Belgium with Steven Isserlis, Denes Varjon and Henning Kraggerud. Looking ahead to 2016 sees a chamber music tour to Japan with Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt and Tania Tetzlaff.

Rachel Roberts is violist with the ‚London Conchord Ensemble’, hailed by Gramophone Magazine as „London’s new Supergroup“ with whom she regularly records and performs. The group’s next Wigmore Hall appearance will be April 19th, 2015. The group is resident at Eton College, Windsor, and regularly gives masterclasses there. This year the group will enjoy it’s first festival at the UK’s ‘Rathfinny Vineyard’.

Rachel Roberts is Professor of Viola at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has given masterclasses at the Britten Pears Young Artists Programme, Dartington International Summer School, Chethams School of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In summer 2015 Rachel Roberts will give masterclasses at Germany’s „Hitzacker“ festival, and the Aurora Chamber Music Festival in Sweden. She holds the esteemed Institute of Education qualification: Professional Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education, and recently became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.