Thomas Riebl

Born in Vienna in 1956, Thomas Riebl studied with S.Führlinger, Peter Schidlof and Sandor Vegh.

He has won prizes at the International Competitions in Budapest (1975) and Munich (ARD) in 1976, and in 1982 won first prize and the Ernst Wallfisch Memorial Award at the International Naumburg Competition New York

He has appeared as a soloist at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Concertgebow Amsterdam and Wiener Musikverein.  He has performed with numerous leading orchestras including the Chicago, Berlin and Vienna Symphony, the Bavarian and Finish Radio Symphony Orchestras, and with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Horst Stein, Edo de Waart, Andrew Davies and Sylvain Cambreling.

He has been invited to many of the major international music festivals.

His chamber music partners have included Jessey Norman, Andras Schiff, Oleg Maisenberg, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Gidon Kremer, Benjamin Schmid, Thomas Zehetmair, Joshua Bell, Tabea Zimmermann, Natalia Gutman, Boris Pergamenschikow, Steven Isserlis, Sabine Meyer,  the Juilliard String Quartet and the Hagen-Quartett.

From 1972 – 1979 he was a member of the Franz-Schubert-Quartett, Vienna (first.prize at the competition of the European broadcast cooporations in Stockholm in 1974);

subsequently he became a founder member of the Vienna String Sextet (1979 – 2004), which  performed worldwide and recorded several CDs for EMI and pan classics.

Since 1983, Thomas Riebl has been a professor at the  University Mozarteum Salzburg and has

given numerous master classes worldwide. Many of his students won international competitions and became professors at music universities or members of leading orchestras, string quartets and other chamber music groups.

He is artistic director of the Internationale Sommerakademie Bad Leonfelden, Austria and has recorded for  RCA, pan classics and Hyperion Records.

Tatjana Masurenko

”A magnificent violist!” (Deutschlandfunk), ”The recording is a tremendous experience” (Rondo), ”Technically and musically outstanding” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) – these are just a sample of the overwhelmed comments made by the musical press when reporting on violist Tatjana Masurenko. She has been an established soloist and chamber musician in the international music scene now for more than 15 years. Her expressive and passionately distinctive way of making music gives her an unmistakable profile, and distinguishes her as one of the leading interpreters in her field.

The viola is the greatest love of her life. With the same resoluteness that she showed at the age of ten, consistently fighting to keep ”her” viola, which at that time was far too big for her, she champions for her instrument just as much today, with each and every concert. ”The day will come when the viola emerges from the shadow of the violin and cello. Audiences will come to realise how close this instrument is to the human voice, and how infinitely rich and wonderful it can be ”, said Tatjana Masurenko once at an interview. ”Masurenko (…) is among those virtuosi of the viola who have considerably extended the scope of the instrument over the past few years. Important for her is not just that the viola achieves quality in the discant, which was reserved earlier for the violin alone, but rather in fathoming out more deeply the variety of expressions the instrument is capable of; and of coming up with expressive colours, which are neither possible for the violin or the cello, but which seem to be specific to the alto instrument,” said Norbert Ely in the Deutschlandfunk radio programme, ”Die neue Platte”, in 2003.

Tatjana Masurenko stems from a Russian jazz musician’s family. At aged five she was given her first violin lessons. Five years later she changed to the viola. She studied in St. Petersburg, first at the special music school for highly talented children and later at the State Leningrad Conservatory.

In 1991 she came to Germany. She found her new incentives in master courses given by Kim Kashkashian. From there she went on to complete her studies at the Conservatory of Music in Detmold under Nobuko Imai. Her encounters with Boris Pergamenschikow, György Kurtag, and Brigitte Fassbaender also had a particularly strong influence on her artistic development.

Tatjana Masurenko has won numerous international prizes and awards, e. g. at the International Viola Competition in Markneukirchen, Germany, at the Lionel Tertis Competition in England, and the Yuri Bashmet Competition in Moscow.

She regularly appears as a guest soloist at concerts with well-known conductors and orchestras in Europe, Russia and Asia. So is often invited by the NDR Radio Philharmonic, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong Symphony and the St. Thomas Choir Leipzig, under conductors like Marek Janowski, Eiji Oue, Herbert Blomstedt, Georg Christoph Biller and Peter Oundjan. In addition, a great deal of dedication is given to her regular chamber music performances with partners such as Lars Vogt, Christian Tetzlaff, Steven Isserlis, Jörg Widmann, Heinrich Schiff, Gidon Kremer, and the Vogler Quartet.

Tatjana Masurenko has also been a welcomed guest at prominent international chamber music festivals, like Musiktage Mondsee (Austria), the Heimbach Chamber Music Festival „Spannungen” (Germany), the Marlboro Music Festival (USA), Mozartwoche Salzburg (Austria), West Cork Festival (Ireland), the Elverum Music Festival (Norway), and Istanbul Music Festival (Turkey).

Her recordings received many prizes, such as for Hartmann – Viola Concerto: Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Supersonic Award, and Diapason découverte. Her CD, ”British Viola Concertos” had great resonance in magazines like The STRAD, Das Orchester, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Recordings have also been made with many big radio stations, e. g. Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Deutschlandfunk, BBC, and Russian Classic Radio. Some of the numerous chamber music performances have also been released on disc by EMI Classics, SONY Classical and Wergo.

As well as her concert activities, Tatjana Masurenko has also taken on a professorship for the viola at the ”Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” Conservatory of Music and Theatre” in Leipzig, Germany’s oldest music conservatory. She gives regular master classes around the world and she is the artistic director of the International Viola Campus in Iznik (Turkey) and the Leipziger Viola Ensemble, furthermore initiator of the viola masterlcass in The Mendelssohn House Leipzig. Tatjana Masurenko plays a viola that was made P. A. Testore in 1750.

Peter Langgartner

The Austrian violist, Peter Langgartner, studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Jürgen Geise and Sandor Vegh, and after receiving his diploma (1980, excellent distinction, Young Artists Award by Austrian State) in Bern with Max Rostal and at Musikhochschule Köln with Peter Schidlof and Amadeus Quartet, and also with and William Primrose. After finishing his his studies, Peter Langgartner played from 1982 to 1984 solo viola at the Venice Opera; from 1996 to 2000 solo viola in Camerata Academica Salzburg with Sandor Vegh and Roger Norrington; and from 1985 to 2001 in Pro Arte Quartet, Salzburg. At present he appears on all major stages in Europe. His solistic tours include: Paganini-Anniversary in Italy 1982, with Ruggiero Ricci, USA Tour in 2000 with Camerata Academica Salzburg, concerts in Austria, Italy, Spain Germany with Vienna Soloists. He has taken part in numerous chamber music making with different musicians as Thomas Zehetmair, Benjamin Schmid, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Sabine and Wolfgang Meyer, Olli Mustonen and so on at several festivals in Europe, Japan and USA. He is Artist in Residence at Allegro Vivo Festival, Austria. Peter Langgartner has a special interest in modern music (first performance in Austria of Morton Feldman The Viola In My Life, with Ensemble Continuum and Joel Sax, New York, first performances of Georg Friedrich Haas and Gösta Neuwirth Viola works) and in ”musica bastarda – new ways of performing music”: music cabarets (”The Very Only History of Clean Playing And Dirty Talking”), special projects (”Byron in 2005” [year changes often], ”Three Pianos And One Viola”, etc.)

His CD recordings has appeared on BMG, RCA Victor and Ambitus labels.

Since 1986 Peter Langgartner has been Professor for Viola and Chamber music at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg.

Pål Solbakk

Pål Solbakk (Norway) is a versatile musician, with experience ranging from baroque to contemporary, free-jazz to tango bands, and has participated in more than 40 recordings in different genres. He is artistic director of Nord-Trøndelag Chamber Orchestra, co-founder of Long Island String Quartet, and have been following the Aurora journey from the start as a member of Aurora String Quartet. He is a teacher at Musikakademi Vänersborg in Sweden and Toneheim in Norway.

En allsidig musiker med erfarenhet från allt mellan frijazz och barockmusik, rock och tangoband, och har medverkat på över 40 CD-inspelningar i olika sammanhang. Har efter avslutad utbildning 1998 varit tilknuten kammarorkestern Camerata Nordica och har varit gruppledare i flera andra nordiska orkestrar. Spelar ofta med Oslo Barockorkester och Det Norske Kammerorkester. En mycket efterfrågad pedagog som bland annat undervisar musiker genom Barratt Dues talangprogram i Oslo. Pål är även violast i Aurora String Quartet.

Nobuko Imai

Professor i viola at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève
Nobuko Imai is considered one of the leading contemporary viola players. After completing her studies at the Toho School of Music in Japan, Yale University and the Juilliard School in the USA, she won top awards at the international competitions in Munich and Geneva. She combines her international solo career – which has brought her together with orchestras of worldwide renown – with numerous performances as a chamber musician. Her chamber music partners include Gidon Kremer, Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, András Schiff, Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman.

Nobuko Imai was formerly a member of the famous Vermeer Quartet and is today a member of the Michelangelo Quartet. She has more than ten years’ teaching experience at the Academy of Music in Detmold. She currently teaches at the Conservatory in Amsterdam and is Artistic Adviser at Casals Hall in Tokyo, where she has spent many years in charge of the festival ”Viola Space”.

Maxim Rysanov

Maxim Rysanov has established himself as one of the world’s best and most charismatic viola players. He performs in major concert halls worldwide with renowned conductors, orchestras and chamber partners.

Highlights of last season two performances at the BBC Proms Festival in London, closing the festival as the Concerto soloist with the BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (performing his own arrangement of the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations with Jiří Bělohlávek) at the iconic Last Night of the Proms, which is watched and heard by millions worldwide.

Other highlights of the past season include the FRANKFURT RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (Philippe Herreweghe), the NDR PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (Eivind Gullberg Jensen), the GURZENICH ORCHESTRA (Sir Mark Elder), the DANISH NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (Michael Schoenwandt), the NETHERLANDS RADIO PHILHARMONIC (Alexander Lazarev), the EUROPEAN UNION YOUTH ORCHESTA (Matthias Bamert),
The ULSTER ORCHESTRA (Paul Watkins), ORQUESTA DE CASTILLA Y LEON (Vasily Petrenko), the PRAGUE RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (Juraj Valcuja), the SHANGHAI SYMPHONY (Long Yu) and the GUANGZHOU SYMPHONY (Lin Daye).

For the coming season Maxim is looking forward to projects with the BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, the TAMPERE PHILHARMONIC, NEDERLANDS PHILHARMONIC, RESIDENTIE ORKEST, the RTE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, ORQUESTA SINFONICA DE EUSKADI among others. Maxim also works regularly with the renowned LITHUANIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA and has been invited to direct a series of concerts including two appearances at the MELBOURNE FESTIVAL this year.

Maxim is also a keen chamber musician, and this coming season includes concerts in the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan as well venues closer to home in Europe. He also continues as artist-in-residence at the new and prestigious Valladolid concert hall in Spain. His chamber partners include Piotr Anderszewski, Leif Ove Andsnes, Katya Apekisheva, Kristine Blaumane, Michael Collins, Alice Coote, Augustin Dumay, Martin Frost, Janine Jansen, Jacob Katsnelson, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Viktoria Mullova, Eldar Nebolsin, Alexei Ogrintchouk, Julian Rachlin, Maxim Vengerov, Denis Matsuev and Ashley Wass.

Maxim has long been recognised by the international music scene and his list of prizes affirm that status. These include the Classic FM Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Award 2008 and the BBC New Generation Award 2007-2009 as well as the Geneva (2005), Lionel Tertis (2003) and Valentino Bucchi (1995) competitions.

His enthusiasm for new music has generated collaborations, which have extended the viola repertoire. This includes several chamber and concerto works by Dobrinka Tabakova. Other composers who have written specifically for Maxim include Richard Dubugnon, Artyom Vassiliev and Elena Langer. He also gave the posthumous premiere this year of the Viola Concerto by Valentin Bibik (1940-2003).

Maxim’s first solo commercial CD burst onto the recording scene with a Gramophone Editor’s Choice award; his next two releases gained the same accolade and a fourth reached the top of the I-Tunes charts in the USA. His debut disc on the BIS label, a first disc of Bach Solo Suites was universally well received. In 2011 his recording output takes several leaps forward with a concerto disc with the SWEDISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA and Muhai Tang on Bis (released in September 2011), which has been widely acclaimed by the media including Editors Choice of the month in the Strad Magazine and a 5-star review in the Telegraph. Additional discs to come out of the recording studio this season are a second volume of Brahms chamber music (Onyx), Bruch chamber music (Bis), and a project with the BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA on Chandos (Britten works for viola and orchestra with Edward Gardner). Further discs in the pipeline are a recital disc of French Miniatures (Bis), a disc of Beethoven Duos and Trios (Onyx), as well as the debut disc of Dobrinka Tabakova on ECM where Maxim features as both soloist and conductor.

Originally from the Ukraine, Maxim has made London his home. He is delighted to have a Giuseppe Guadagnini viola (1780) on extended loan from the Elise Mathilde Foundation

Lawrence Power

Lawrence Power
(Viola) Biography:

”What a fine vehicle is here provided for the virtuosity of Lawrence Power….(he) put on a fabulous display of technique, projection, sensitivity and authority.”

David Fanning, The Daily Telegraph, 13 October 2008

Lawrence Power first gained international recognition as the first British winner of The William Primrose International Viola Competition. Now much in demand as a recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician, he is deeply committed to exploring and extending the viola repertoire with recent premieres of works by the likes of Kaefer, Toovey, Turnage, Matthews, Watkins and Beamish.

Since his London solo debut with The Philharmonia, he is highly sought after in the UK and abroad, appearing as soloist with orchestras such as the London Symphony, BBC Symphony, English Chamber, Scottish Chamber, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Verbier Festival Chamber, New Zealand Symphony, Lucerne Festival Strings, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Philharmonisches Staatsorchester in Mainz. In addition to his solo career, he is much in demand as a chamber musician, as violist in both the Nash Ensemble and the Leopold String Trio. He is a frequent guest at international music festivals such as Verbier, Vancouver, Oslo, and Edinburgh, Aldeburgh and Cheltenham in the UK.

His discography includes the world premiere recording of concertos by York Bowen and Cecil Forsyth, Brahms Viola Sonatas and Trio, concertos by Walton and Rubbra and York Bowen’s complete works for viola and piano with Simon Crawford-Phillips (all for Hyperion Records), and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Maxim Vengerov for EMI. A recording of Hindemith’s sonatas for Viola and Piano with Simon Crawford-Phillips was released in June 2009 and was chosen by Gramophone magazine as ”Editor’s Choice”.

Lawrence Power plays a rare viola by the Bolognese maker Antonio Brensi from c.1610 and is fortunate to have had the support of the Nigel Brown instrument scheme in order to secure its purchase.

Highlights of the 09/10 season include concertos with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Bournemouth Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Stavanger Symphony, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, an extensive European tour with the Jerusalem String Quartet and a return to the Verbier Festival. A new Macmillan concerto commission with the London Philharmonic Orchestra will also be premiered.

Lars Anders Tomter

Lars Anders Tomter is one of today’s most outstanding violists. The Giant of the Nordic Viola (The Strad) was born at Hamar, Norway. He began to play the violin at the age of eight and also took up the viola. Both instruments he studied with Professor Leif Jørgensen at the Oslo Music Conservatory and the Norwegian State Academy. He then continued his studies with Professor Max Rostal and with Sándor Vegh. He was awarded a special prize for his interpretation of Bartók’s Viola Concerto at the International Viola Competition in Budapest in 1984 and then went on to win the Maurice Vieux International Competition in Lille in 1986.

Lars Anders Tomter’s international solo career started in 1987/88 when he toured extensively in the United States and Germany with the prestigious Norwegian Chamber Orchestra under its director Iona Brown. Since then his appearances as a viola soloist has been greeted with the highest public and critical acclaim throughout Europe and the United States, from the Vienna Musikverein to major venues in Scandinavia, Madrid, Budapest, Berlin, Bonn, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Paris, Prague, Rome, London, New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Lars Anders Tomter has performed with orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, City of Birmingham Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Dutch Radio Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, the Hungarian State Philharmonic, KBS Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Danish National Radio and Swedish Radio Symphonies.

Conductors with whom he has worked together include among others Vladimir Ashkenazy, Dennis Russell Davies, Daniele Gatti, Manfred Honeck, Arvid Jansons, Okko Kamu, Dmitri Kitaenko, Ken Ichiro Kobayashi, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ulf Schirmer, Muhai Tang, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Hans Vonk. Lars Anders Tomter is a regular guest at important festivals such as Schleswig-Holstein, Lockenhaus, Kissingen Summer, BBC Proms, Mondseetage, styriarte as well as at a number of festivals in Scandinavia. In addition, he is artistic director of the Norwegian Risør Chamber Music Festival. He has a large repertoire including all major contemporary works, and he has recorded for Simax, Naxos, Virgin Classics, NMC, Somm and Chandos. Lars Anders Tomter is a Professor at the State Academy in Oslo, supervising a number of Norway’s most talented string players. He plays a Gasparo da Salo viola dated from 1590.

Kim Kashkashian

Violist Kim Kashkashian has established herself as one of the most accomplished artists of her generation. Inspiring world-wide critical acclaim, she has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as ”an artist who combines a probing, restless musical intellect with enormous beauty of tone.” The New York Times has joined in these accolades, praising her ”rich, mellow timbre and impressive artistry.”

In recent seasons, Kim Kashkashian has appeared as soloist with the major orchestras in New York, Berlin, Vienna, London, Milan, Munich and Tokyo including performances with Ricardo Chailly, Christoph Eschenbach and Riccardo Muti. She has performed recitals at the Metropolitan Museum and the 92nd Street ”Y” in New York City, in Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Cleveland and Los Angeles.

In her quest for new directions and forms, she has developed working relationships with such composers as Gubaidulina, Penderecki, Kancheli, Kurtág, Mansurian, Pärt ,Berio and Eotvos Current  chamber music partnerships include duos with pianist Robert Levin  and percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky.

Ms. Kashkashian has performed with the Tokyo, Guarneri, and Galimir Quartets and toured with a unique quartet which included violinists Gidon Kremer and Daniel Phillips and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Ms Kashkashian’s discography on the ECM label encompasses her wide range of interests,from the concertos of Bartok,,Kurtag,Eotvos,Kancheli,Berio,Penderecki,and Mansurian to the complete sonatas of Hindemith,Brahms  Shostakowitch and Bach viola da gamba,as well as new works for viola and percussion,and transcriptions of ancient Armenian song.

Her extensive teaching activities have included professorships at the University of Indiana  and  in Freiburg and Berlin, Germany. In September 2000, she began teaching viola and chamber music at the New England Conservatory in Bosto

Highlights of the 2007 -2008 season include recitals in Rome, Paris ,Berlin, New York and Wash.DC   Concerto appearances include Bartok with Cleveland Orchestra and at the Salzburg Festival , the world premier in Boston of the Mansurian concerto and the North American premier of the Olivero concerto.

Ms Kashkashian was trained at the Peabody Conservatory,where she  studied with Waltrer Trampler and Karen Tuttle.

Jean Sulem

Jean Sulem studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Serge Collot where he has obtained a 1st Prize in 1980. From 1981 to 1990 he was the principal viola of the Ensemble Intercontemporain under the direction of Pierre Boulez.

He is very active in performing and defending new repertoire for his instrument and several composers have written works for him. He is also a founding member of the Rosamonde String Quartet formed in 1981. As a soloist and as a chamber music player he has appeared in many international festivals in Europe, America, Russia, Japan, Korea and Australia and has recorded more than thirty CDs.Since 1990 he is Professor of viola and chamber music at the Paris Conservatoire. He is also Professor at the Tibor Varga Music Academy in Sion (Switzerland) since 1990 and at the Cervo Summer Academy (Italy) since 1996. He is regularly invited to give master-classes in Europe, America and Asia and to serve as jury member in international competitions. Several of his former students play in top string quartets or occupy leading positions in European orchestras.