Tomoko Akasaka (Japan, viola)
Tomoko Akasaka won numerous prizes, among them the 1st prize at the 12th Japan classical music competition and the 3rd prize atthe 53th Munich International music competition. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician worldwide. As a soloist she has appeared with the Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Muenchener Kammerorchester, Orchestre de chamber de Genève, Filarmonica banatul timisoara, Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Manheimmer Kammerorchester and Japan Symphony orchestra under the baton of conductors like Seiji Ozawa, Johannes Kalitzke, Raman Kofman, Kazuki Yamada, Gheorghe Costin, Olivier Cuendet and Günther Herbig.
She has recently given a widely acclaimed series of recitals in Japan, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Germany amongst others. The series of Recitals in Geneva and Tokyo has been broadcasted by Swiss Romande, and NHK-TV.
Her chamber music partners included Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Hope, Gidon Kremer, Heinz Holliger, Menahem Pressler, Charles Neidich, Kuss Quartet at international music festivals such as Salzburg Festival Lockenhaus Festival, Bad-Kissingen sommer,Mecklenburg Vorpommern, BBC Proms, Saito-Kinen Festival, Pablo Casals Festival, Luzern and Verbier Festival, Zagreb Chamber Music Festival, Kronberg Cello Festival, Rio de Janeiro Festival, San Francisco Musical days, Schubertiade and others. Tomoko Akasaka has performed at concert venues including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Konzerthaus and Philharmonie Berlin, Royal Albert hall in London, Vienna Konzerthaus, Zurich Tonhalle, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Schloss Nymphenburg Munich, Shanghai Grand Theater,and National Centre for the performing arts inBeijing, Geneva Victoria Hall and Grand Théâtre, Her recent collaboration with the composer György Kurtág has had a profound influence on her work as a musician.
Tomoko Akasaka studied with Nobuko Imai for whom she worked for asan assistant professor at the Geneva conservatory of music. In addition Ms. Akasaka worked as a guest professor at the conservatory of Neuchâtel. Currently she lives in Berlin.
José Gallardo (Argentina, piano)
José Gallardo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the age of 5, he began to take piano lessons at the Conservatory in Buenos Aires. Later, he continued his studies with Prof. Poldi Mildner at the Department of Music, University of Mainz, Germany, from which he graduated in 1997. During that time, he already discovered his predilection/affectation for chamber music. He was musically inspired by artists like Menahem Pressler (Trio Beaux Arts, New York), Alfonso Montecino (Bloomington, Indiana), Karl-Heinz Kämmerling (Hanover, Germany), Sergiu Celibidache (Munich, Germany), and Rosalyn Tureck (New York). José Gallardo received numerous national and international awards, such as: In 1990, he won the first prize at the Westphalian Music Festival in Hamm, Germany. In 1991, he was given the “Johannes Gutenberg” award by the University of Mainz, Germany. In 1992, he won the first prize at the international Piano Contest in Cantù, Como, Italy. Together with cellist Ms. Sung Hyun-Jun he won the first prize and the prize of the international press jury in Trapani, Italy, in 1995. Invitations to numerous musical festivals, such as: Festival of Chamber Music in Lockenhaus, Germany Festival of Asiago, Italy “Music of the World” Festival in Pforzheim, Germany Cello Festival in Kronberg, Germany Castle Festival in Zwingenberg, Germany Days of Culture in Appenau, Germany “Sandstone and Music” in Dresden, Germany Ludwigsburg Castle Festival, Germany Rheingau Musical Festival, Germany Concerts in Europe, Asia, Israel, Oceania, and South America. Chamber musical cooperations with Alberto Lysy, permanent partner of the Israeli percussionist Chen Zimbalista and Linus Roth, Natascha Korsakova, Friedemann Eichhorn, Sung Hyun-Jung, Julius Berger, Martin Dobner et al. He gives concerts in domestic music halls and abroad, amongst these are the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Musikhalle Hamburg, the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden, the Teatro della Pergola Florence and the Wigmore Hall in London. In 2005, several concerts will be arranged in New York and Chicago. Further, CD recordings are planned, amongst others in collaboration with Linus Roth for EMI Classics. He is actively involved in many master courses with Maxim Vengerov, Siegfried Palm, Bernard Greenhouse, Steven Isserlis et al. On the occasion of the 54th anniversary of the Independence Day of the State Israel, he performed at the Philharmony in Berlin together with Chen Zimbalista. Since 1998, he is working as assistant professor at the Department of Music, University of Mainz, Germany.
Alexander Gebert (Poland/Germany, cello)
He was born in 1977 to a family of musicians in Warsaw. When he was three years old, they moved to Finland, where in 1982 he started to study cello with Timo Hanhinen at the Turku Conservatory. Later he became a student at the Sibelius Academy in the classes of Csaba Szilvay, Victoria Yaglig, Kazimierz Michalik, Marko Ylönen and Heikki Rautasalo. From 1995 through 1998 he received a Polish state scholarship to study at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw. After his graduation there he continued his studies with Philippe Muller at the Paris Conservatory and on a DAAD scholarship with Natalia Gutman in Stuttgart. In 2002 he was granted a three-year scholarship from the Groupe Banques Populaires in Paris. Alexander Gebert won his first international contest at the age of 16. In 1997 he came in second at the Lutoslawski Competition in Warsaw, and the year 2000 saw him win Third Prize at the Antonio Janigro Contest in Zagreb, Second Prize and Audience Prize at the International Geneva Cello Competition (where he played with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Heinrich Schiff conducting), and First Prize at the Valentino Bucchi Contest of Rome subsequently. He has widely performed both as a soloist and as a chamber musician at many prestigious venues (Kuhmo Festival, Oleg-Kagan-Musikfest, Festival de Deauville, Ravinia Festival, Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus). Among his chamber music parters were Eduard Brunner, Ana Chumachenko, Bernarda Fink, Ilya Gringolts, Alois Posch, Henri Sigfridsson, Elina Vähälä, Meta4 Quartett and Bennewitz Quartett. In 2004 he was invited to join the Altenberg Trio Vienna. Since its “official” debut during the Salzburg Mozart Week (January 1994), the Altenberg Trio Wien has in far more than 1000 performances earned the reputation of one of the most daring and consistent ensembles in this category: its repertory comprises – in addition to a large number of works from directly related fields (piano quartets & quintets, duos, triple concertos, vocal chamber music) near to 200 piano trios, among them many pieces which the Altenberg Trio suggested and first performed itself. Simultaneously with its foundation, the ensemble became trio in residence of Vienna´s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, annually performing a cycle in the Brahms Saal of Musikverein. Its regular activities also include artistic directorship of the music festival at Schloss Weinzierl, that place so important in music history, where the young Haydn composed his first string quartets. In 2007 Alexander Gebert began a collaboration with the pianist Anna Magdalena Kokits. Since its founding the duo has given two annual concerts in the Musikverein Wien. Other performances soon followed in Austria, as well as in Finland, Poland, Germany, Hungary and Belgium. Apart from the classical repertoire for cello and piano, Anna Magdalena Kokits and Alexander Gebert are interested in rarely heard or forgotten works. Thus in the summer of 2011 they will be recording a CD for Gramola with the sonatas of four Jewish composers that had to emigrate from Austria in 1938. The works included will be those by composers Hans Gál, Karl Weigl, Ernst Toch and Erich Zeisl. Another important place in the duo´s activity is occupied by the living contemporary music. The duo each year comissions a new work: in 2010 they gave the first performance in the Musikverein of “The Garden of Desires” by Richard Dünser, which was written for them and later published by Edition Peters. In 2011 Anna Magdalena Kokits and Alexander Gebert will give the first performance of the 2nd Sonata for piano and cello by Akos Banlaky and in the next season two other premieres in the Musikverein Wien of works by Helmut Schmidinger and Tomasz Skweres will follow. Alexander Gebert gives numerous masterclasses internationally, and teaches regularly in Austria, Finland, Slovenia and Poland. With the Altenberg Trio he taught at the Konservatorium Wien Privatuniversität and the Accademia pianistica de Imola. The trio also held numerous courses in other colleges in Italy, Finland, Russia, Holland, Albania, Denmark and the USA. In 2010 he was appointed Professor at the Hochschule fur Musik Detmold.
Jakub Jakowicz (Poland, violin)
Studied violin at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music under the supervision of his father Krzysztof Jakowicz. He was also the last student of prof. Tadeusz Wroński – one of the Polish legendary violinists.
The artist made his stage debut at the age of 11. He has played with all leading Polish orchestras. In 1998 Krzysztof Penderecki invited him to play at the Penderecki Festival in Cracow, where he performed Capriccio per violino e orchestra under Jerzy Maksymiuk. In 2001 Jakub Jakowicz made his debut with Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Pinchas Steinberg, performing Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Since then, he has made solo appearances with several renowned orchestras such as Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale in Florence, Czech Philharmonic in Prague, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Drezden Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Orquesta Nacional in Madrid, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo and Concerto Köln. He has worked with many conductors including Pinchas Steinberg, Jerzy Semkow, Antoni Wit, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Jacek Kaspszyk, Kazimierz Kord, Jan Krenz, Yan Pascal Tortellier, Eiji Oue, Marek Pijarowski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Agnieszka Duczmal, Kirill Karabits, Michail Jurovski, Marc Minkowski and Stefan Solyom. In 2009 and 2011 he was invited by Antoni Wit to be a guest-soloist during the Warsaw Philharmonic’s concert tours in Great Britain.
Szymon Krzeszowiec (Poland, violin)
Violinist – soloist and chamber musician. He graduated from the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, under the tutelage of Prof. Roman Lasocki, as well as the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, under Prof. Herman Krebbers. He is a laureate of violin competitions in Poznań (Zdzisław Jahnke Violin Competition), Warsaw (Tadeusz Wroński Solo Violin Competition) and Brescia (Italy), as well as the first prize winner in chamber music competitions in Copenhagen and Sondershausen (as part of Aristos String Trio). In the last three decades, he has performed as a soloist with the leading Polish orchestras, such as the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, as well as most philharmonic orchestras in the country.
Since 2001, he has been the leader of the Silesian Quartet, with which he has regularly performed all around the globe. Their recording of Grażyna Bacewicz’s complete string quartets (for Chandos) earned the Quartet the prestigious Gramophone Classical Music Award for the Best Chamber Music Album of the Year in 2017. In 2019 Silesian Quartet has been awarded the Golden Medal for Merit to Polish Culture – Gloria Artis and the Coryphaeus of Polish Music.
Szymon Krzeszowiec cooperates permanently with the pianist Wojciech Świtała, with whom he recorded a complete set of Johannes Brahms’ violin sonatas for Sony Classical Poland. He is also a member of the Wajnberg Piano Trio.His oeuvre comprises over 40 CDs recorded for such music labels as EMI Music Poland, BIS, Chandos, CDaccord, Naxos, ECM, DUX, dacapo and Radio Katowice.
Szymon Krzeszowiec also pursues pedagogy, running the String Department and a violin class at his Alma Mater. He supervises the artistic aspects of the International Academy of Art in Zakopane and the International Violin Festival in Katowice. Since 2004, he has been a tutor at the summer Ensemble Festival in Książ. He is often invited to national and international violin competition juries.
Marcin Markowicz (Poland, violin)
Violinist and composer; b. 19th March 1979 in Wrocław. He completed his violin studies with Roman Lasocki and Krzysztof Jakowicz at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw (diploma with distinction). In 1998-2000 he studied at the Musikhochschule Lübeck with Christiane Edinger, and in 2005 he obtained a scholarship to study with the legendary Prof. Roman Totenberg in Boston. He has participated in master classes in Poland, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States, working under such masters as Ida Haendel, Sherban Lupu, Robert Szreder, Grigori Zhislin, members of Juilliard Quartet, Cleveland Quartet, The Fine Arts Quartet, the Silesian Quartet and Szymanowski Quartet. Recipient of scholarships from: the Foundation of Polish Culture (1994), Foundation for Culture (1998), the Dutch Iris Foundation (1999) the Roman Totenberg Foundation (2001, 2002, 2005) and Saul Cohen Foundation (both in America) as well as the Ministry of Culture (2002).
Marcin Markowicz has won awards in competitions for music performers and composers: prizes in the Competition for Young Instrumentalists in Kraków (twice: 1996, 1997), the “Composer Debut Award” from the Contemporary Music Club in Kraków (1997) and an honourable mention in the National Andrzej Panufnik Competition for Composers (1999).
As a soloist and chamber musician he has performed at festivals in Bayreuth, Ratzeburg, La Ville d’Eu, the Warsaw Autumn, Turning Sounds in Warsaw, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in the USA and the Contemporary Music Festival in Greece. As a soloist he has performed with the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (dir. Jacek Kaspszyk and Michał Klauza), the Sudety Philharmonic, as well as ensembles from Kraków and Solingen.
Marcin Markowicz’s compositions have been presented at festivals in Belgium, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, the United States, Bulgaria, China, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, as well as in Poland during the 26th Musica Polonica Nova Polish Contemporary Music Festival in Wrocław (2008), the 3rd Festival of World Premieres. Polish Contemporary Music in Katowice (2009), and the Witold Lutosławski Festival Chain VI (2009). His Sonata for violin and piano was commissioned by the Ludwig van Beethoven Association as part of the “Collections – Composing Commissions” programme implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance. The composition was premiered by Agata Szymczewska and Grzegorz Skrobiński at the Festival of Polish Music and the EMANACJE International Music Festival in 2015.
In 1996-98 Markowicz was a soloist and concertmaster of the Ostinato Chamber Orchestra in Kraków. He was also a co-founder and leader of the Transemble chamber ensemble in Warsaw (2004-05). In 2003-05 he collaborated with Warsaw’s Dramatyczny Theatre. In 2004 he was the concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra of the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. In 2005-06 he played in the Amadé Kammerphilharmonie in Aachen. Since 2005 he has held the post of artistic director of the Princess Daisy Ensemble International Chamber Arts Festival in Wałbrzych. Since 2006 he has been the concertmaster of theWitold Lutosławski Philharmonic in Wrocław. He plays the 2nd violin in the Lutosławski Quartet, which he founded and which has performed since 2007 as a Wrocław Philharmonic ensemble. As a guest concertmaster he has appeared since 2009 with the Beethoven Academy Orchestra in Kraków.
In 2009-10 and 2013-14 he lectured at the Academy of Music in Katowice. He regularly teaches master classes of violin and chamber music in Zakopane, Wałbrzych and Matera (Italy). He also serves on the jury of the Grażyna Bacewicz National Violin Competition. He is the initiator and artistic director of the National Forum of Music Orchestral Academy in Wrocław.