As a soloist and one of the most passionate and in demand pianists in chamber music today, Magda Amara is a regular guest on many international stages. Playing in venues such as the Musikverein, Konzerthaus Vienna, Theater an der Wien, Mozarteum Salzburg, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and Tonhalle Zürich, her performances bring her to many important concert halls in Europe and beyond. M. Amara has been invited to many prestigious festivals, including Dvořákova Praha, Le Sion Festival, Festival de Radio France in Montpellier, International chamber music festival Utrecht, Best of NRW, Neuberger Kulturtage and Attergauer Kultursommer, and enjoyed successful collaborations with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the North Netherlands Orchestra, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Brno. As a devoted chamber musician, she has collaborated with outstanding partners, among them Janine Jansen, Renaud Capuçon, Julian Rachlin, Dora Schwarzberg and Stefan Vladar, as well as members of the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras. She shares a very close musical relationship with the Dutch cellist Harriet Krijgh, with whom she recorded two CDs, released by the Austrian Label Capriccio in 2013 and 2015. Her projects in the last season included concerts at the Lucerne Festival, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Musikverein Vienna, Lincoln Center New York and many others. Magda Amara was born in Moscow and graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory in the class of Sergei Dorensky. She completed her studies with Stefan Vladar at the University of Music in Vienna, and has placed at eleven national and international competitions, including First Prize at the Jeunesses Musicales and Ennio Porrino Piano Competitions, and Third Prize at the Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition.
Winner of the Grand Prix and First Prize at the 2016 Toruń International Violin Competition in Poland, and a prizewinner at the 2015 Premio Paganini Competition in Genoa, Albrecht Menzel’s career has gained international recognition. As soloist Menzel has played with, among others, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Magdeburg Philharmonic, the North West German Philharmonic Orchestra, the Leipzig Symphonie Orchestra, the Frankfurt Brandenburg State Orchestra, the Łódź Symphony Orchestra, the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, the Silesian Philharmonic Katowice, the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra del Carlo Felice Genova under the baton of Kurt Masur, Vasily Petrenko, Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, Kimbo Ishii und Juozas Domarkas. Under the baton of Maestro Kurt Masur, Albrecht Menzel performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto op. 64 with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra at the Mendelssohn Festival. “…Albrecht Menzel charmed his audience with virtuoso sounds, breathtaking tempos and a rousing, lively interpretation of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto op.64, which is heard not often in great concert halls in the world…” (Leipziger Volkszeitung 2011) Albrecht Menzel has also appeared as a soloist together with Anne-Sophie Mutter at the Philharmonie Berlin, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Palau de la Musica Barcelona, Aix-en-Provonce Grand Theatre, and toured with Anne-Sophie Mutter in the USA, Canada and Europe, giving concerts at New York`s Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Albrecht Menzel has appeared at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Prinzregententheater Munich, NOSPR Katowice, House of Music Moscow, Teatro Carlo Felice Genova, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Musikverein Vienna and Gasteig Munich, and has been invited to international festivals including the Mecklenburg Vorpommern Festival, Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Music Festival Dresden, International Eilat Music Festival Israel, Festival Moscow meet Friends, Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad Switzerland and George Enescu Festival. As a chamber musician Albrecht Menzel played with artists like Gidon Kremer, Jan Vogler, Steven Isserlis, Julian Rachlin, Igor Levit, Nils Mönkemeyer and Julien Quentin. Albrecht Menzel has been honored with scholarships by the Jürgen-Ponto Foundation Frankfurt, the Eduard-Söring-Prize and with the Gerd-Bucerius-scholarship by the German Music Foundation Hamburg. His Album “Thoughts”, featuring famous works “The last rose” and “Erlkönig” by Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst and sonatas by Robert Schumann, was released in 2015 on the OehmsClassics label, in a production with Radio Berlin Brandenburg. Born in 1992 in a family with silesian roots, Albrecht Menzel began playing the violin aged four and made his solo debut aged 13 at the Dresden Music Festival. He was educated by the renowned violin pedagogue professor Boris Kuschnir and studied at the University Vienna Conservatory with Julian Rachlin. Albrecht Menzel plays a violin by Antonio Stradivari (Cremona 1709), on loan by the German Music Foundation Hamburg.
Violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn has earned a stunning reputation as one of America’s most beloved soloists. She appeared as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy of Music and in the year 2000 gave her New York debut at Alice Tully Hall with the New York String Orchestra. She has since performed at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Fisher Center and the Kimmel Center. Passionate about youth and education, she serves as President and Artistic Director of the Luzerne Music Center which provides training for gifted young musicians ages 9 to 18 in upstate New York. Ms. Pitcairn attended the Marlboro Music Festival and is a graduate of the University of Southern California where she later taught alongside her former teacher, the renowned violin professor Robert Lipsett, and the Colburn School in Los Angeles. Her former teachers include Julian Meyer, Sylvia Ahramjian, Jascha Brodsky and Shmuel Ashkenasi. The artist performs with one of the world’s most legendary instruments, the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius of 1720, said to have inspired the Academy Award–winning film The Red Violin. Pitcairn is featured on the 10th Anniversary edition of The Red Violin DVD in a special feature called “The Auction Block”. Named the Red Stradivarius violin while in the possession of Joseph Joachim, it was a gift from her grandfather in 1990 at Christie’s Auction in London. Originally from a musical family in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she began the violin at age three. Pitcairn believes strongly in philanthropy and is a frequent performer for such charitable events as the American Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Helping Hands and Hearts Foundation and the Nakashima Foundation for Peace. Her favorite activities are skiing, tennis, horseback riding, wine tasting. On the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius, she uses the revolutionary Wittner Finetune-pegs. Her carbon titanium violin case is courtesy of GEWA.For Ms. Pitcairn’s tour schedule, please visit www.redviolin.com.
Voytek Proniewicz made his solo debut with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in 2005. Since then he has appeared with the orchestras of Wrocław Philharmonic, Szczecin Philharmonic, Rzeszów Philharmonic, Kielce Philharmonic, Gorzów Philharmonic, Toruń Symphony Orchestra as well as Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva Orchestra and many youth orchestras. He performed under the baton of Jan Krenz, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Mariusz Smolij, Tadeusz Wojciechowski, Tomasz Radziwonowicz, Ewa Strusińska and played violin concertos of Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Bruch as well as different works of Sarasate, Wieniawski, Lipiński, Kreisler, Lutosławski, Piazzolla. The violinist performed at the concert halls of Rudolfinum Philharmonic in Prague, Cracow Philharmonic, Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk, Poznań Philharmonic, Lublin Philharmonic, Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice and in many other Polish cities as well as the entire world – Vienna, Paris, Madrid, Brussels, St. Petersburg, Munich, Vilnius, Palermo, Hanoi, Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Caracas. Voytek Proniewicz recorded three CDs for the NAXOS record label – Karol Lipiński String Trios Op. 8 and Op. 12 (2018) – ICMA 2019 nomination, Ferenc Liszt Works for violin and piano (2014) and Pupils of Chopin (2011). The artist recorded music for the movie Chopin – The Space Concert. As a soloist performing Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat major he appeared on the CD “Polish music” performed by Sinfonia Viva Orchestra – ICMA 2017 nomination. In May 2009, Voytek Proniewicz, together with Sinfonia Viva Orchestra, gave a world premiere performance of Krzesimir Dębski’s composition „Dos Lid Far Jidisze Fidl” for violin and string orchestra. The artist performed at the Festival of Polish Music in Cracow, “Sphere of Silence” Royal Łazienki Music Festival in Warsaw, “Classics on the grass” Festival in Warsaw, Jerzy Waldorff Summer Festival in Radziejowice, the Mozartiana Mozart Festival in Gdańsk, Andrzej Nikodemowicz Festival in Lublin, Veranos de la Villa festival in Madrid, European Music Festival in Vietnam. The violinist is a 3rd prize laureate at the Ludwig van Beethoven International Competition in Hradec nad Moravici, the Czech Republic (1998), 1st prize holder at the Stanisław Serwaczyński National Violin Competition for Young Violinists in Lublin (2002), 3rd prize laureate at the 15th Kiejstut Bacewicz International Chamber Music Contest in Łódź (2004) and received a distinction at the Karol Szymanowski International Competition in Łódź (2005). Voytek Proniewicz graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw in the class of Prof. Mirosław Ławrynowicz in 2005. In 1998, the Polish Television produced and broadcast a film entitled “Violin Impression” which was devoted entirely to the person of the young violinist. He was also granted a scholarship by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in 2001, the scholarship by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage “Młoda Polska” in 2009 and an award from the President of City Gliwice for Excellence in Arts and Culture in 2013.
Pianist Louise Thomas has concertized extensively throughout Europe, North America and Asia at such concert venues as the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow, the Franz Liszt Academy Museum in Budapest, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Weill Hall in New York City. Louise Thomas was born in Ireland and completed undergraduate musicology studies at Trinity College, Dublin. She received a German Government scholarship to continue piano performance studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany where she received a Konzertdiplom in the solo piano class. Dr. Thomas won second prize at the Ibla-Ragusa competition in Sicily where she was awarded the Béla Bartók Prize. She also won the concerto competition at the University of Southern California and performed with Maestro Sergiu Comissiona. Dr. Thomas received her doctorate in piano performance in 1999 from USC where she studied with Prof. John Perry and Director of Keyboard Collaborative Arts, Dr. Alan Smith. Dr. Thomas joined Chapman University in 2001 as Director of Keyboard Collaborative Arts. In June 2014, she was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Performing Arts at Chapman and in 2015, was promoted to Full Professor.
Toruń Symphony Orchestra
In 2018, the Toruń Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 40th anniversary. It was founded as the Toruń Chamber Music Orchestra in the artistic season of 1978/79 and performed under the auspices of the City of Toruń since 1990. The orchestra receives the funding for its activities from the City of Toruń, to which it owes its dynamic development. Since February 2006 it is officially named as the Toruń Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra has gained a firm standing among many other cultural institutions in our town. This is due to the concerts performed in Toruń as well as at numerous tourneés, both in Poland and abroad. In the course of thirty-five years of their artistic activity, the orchestra played in most of Polish cities, in many European countries (e.g. Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, France, Belarus, Lithuania), at many prestigious festivals. The orchestra is especially proud of a one-month tourneé in China, two concerts at the Opera Gala in Pamplona, as well as the concert at the Cirque Royal in Brussels (in October 2010). Among the significant achievements of the Toruń Orchestra is the International Summer Festival ‘Music and Architecture’ (organized every year since 1997). Every July and August, the concerts at the festival gather large audiences in the historic interiors of Toruń monuments and present the art of eminent conductors and extraordinarily talented soloists. In July 2010, the Toruń Symphony Orchestra accompanied José Carreras at his performance in the Toruń Motoarena. The orchestra has performed at a number of Polish and European festivals and recorded for the Polish Radio and Television and for the Radio Suisse Romande. In 1996, still as the Toruń Chamber Music Orchestra, the orchestra recorded the album ‘Famous Classical Miniatures’ conducted by Jerzy Salwarowski and in 1997, a monography of the music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Also in 1997, the orchestra recorded the Great Mass in C minor (KV 427) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (conducted by Knud Vad in Soroe, Denmark). In 1999, also in Soroe, the orchestra recorded Mozart’s Requiem in D minor (KV 626), Ave verum corpus (KV 618) and Laudate Dominum (KV 339). In 2001, in Soroe, the orchestra recorded two works by Ludwig van Beethoven: Leonora Overture No. 2 (Op. 72a) and the oratory ‘Christ on the Mount of Olives’ (Op. 85) with the Soranus Choir and the Copenhagen Academic Choir (Knud Vad – conductor, Ann Petersen – soprano, Adam Zdunikowski – tenor, Ole Stovring Larsen – baritone). Another aspect of the artistic activities of the orchestra is the musical education for children and youth not only in Toruń, but also in the region (Kuiavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship). For many years, the orchestra – in collaboration with the Szymanowski Music School in Toruń – has organised special concerts to provide opportunities for young talented artists to perform as soloists. The general director of the Torun Symphony Orchestra (currently gathering 62 musicians) is Marek Czekała.
Valentino Worlitzsch has established himself as one of the leading cellists of his generation, regularly convincing international juries, audience and critics alike with his captivating performances. To this effect, he received first prize, audience prize and two special awards at the German Music Competition in Bonn and won first prize and two special awards at the International Music Competition “Pacem in Terris” in Bayreuth; he earned both prize- and audience-awards at the “Ton und Erklärung” Competition and was awarded special prizes at the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann in Berlin and at the Leoš Janáček International Competition in Brno. Furthermore, he was a semi-finalist at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich as well as at the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition in St. Petersburg and was distinguished as the best participant ex aequo at the Pierre Fournier Award in London. Born in 1989 in Hannover, Valentino Worlitzsch attended his first cello and piano lessons at the age of four and was already a prize-winner of national and international competitions during his early teenage years – as a cellist and pianist, soloist and chamber musician. He studied with Bernhard Gmelin in Hamburg, Michel Strauss in Paris and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt in Weimar, where he has also been teaching as Schmidt’s assistant since 2015. Parallel to his cello studies, he also studied piano under Karl-Heinz Kämmerling as well as conducting under Nicolás Pasquet. As a soloist, Valentino Worlitzsch has performed with, among others, the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Munich Radio Orchestra, the Nuremberg Symphonic Orchestra and the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia and has already played at notable venues such as the Berliner Philharmonie, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Wigmore Hall in London or the St. Petersburg Philharmonia. In addition, he passionately devotes himself to chamber music – his partners include Elisabeth Brauß, Volker Jacobsen, Nils Mönkemeyer, Eldar Nebolsin, Christopher Park, Natalia Prischepenko, Wolfgang E. Schmidt and William Youn. He is also a regular guest at renowned festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Ludwigsburg Festival and the Heidelberger Frühling. Valentino Worlitzsch has been a longstanding scholarship recipient of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, the German Foundation for Musical Life and many others. He plays a Grancino cello from the German Musical Instruments Fund. Since 2018, Valentino Worlitzsch has been principal cellist of Frankfurt Radio Symphony.