Chairman of the jury
Eugène Traey
Belgium, °1915 - 2006
Count Eugène Traey (1915-2006) was born in Amsterdam of Belgian parents and studied music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Antwerp, where his piano teacher was Emmanuel Durlet. He went on to study in Paris under Robert Casadesus and in Germany under Karl Leimer and Walter Gieseking. After this international training as a pianist, Eugène Traey pursued a career both as a concert performer and a teacher at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, of which he was the director until 1980. He gave recitals, performed with orchestras and took part in chamber music recitals with Arthur Grumiaux and Jean Laurent, as well as performing piano duos with Frédéric Gevers. He was the founder of the deSingel concert hall in Antwerp and was a regular member of juries at international competitions (Moscow, Warsaw, Munich and Tokyo, among others). From 1982 until 1995 Eugène Traey presided over the jury of the Queen Elisabeth Competition.
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Jacqueline Fontyn
Belgium, °1930
The parents of Jacqueline baroness Fontyn recognised her exceptional talent when she was only a toddler and entrusted her, soon after her fifth birthday, to the wonderful Russian piano teacher Ignace Bolotine. She had lessons daily, and Bolotine encouraged her to develop her taste for improvisation. At the age of fourteen, she decided to become a composer. She received her grounding in the techniques of composition from Marcel Quinet, then went to Paris where Max Deutsch, a fervent disciple of Schoenberg, taught her the twelve-tone system. She wrote in this style until 1979, although always with considerable freedom and flexibility. In 1956 she attended Hans Swarowsky's conducting class at the Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna.

From 1963 to 1990 she held the post of Professor of Music Theory, rising to Professor of Composition, first at the Koninklijk Conservatorium, Antwerp and then at the Royal Brussels Conservatoire. She is a regular guest of universities and conservatoires in Europe (Germany, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland), the United States, the Middle East, Asia (China, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan) and New Zealand. Her catalogue of over a hundred works covers orchestral, vocal, chamber and instrumental pieces which are played throughout the world, figuring in the programs of leading orchestras and major festivals.

She has received many awards, most notably the Spanish Oscar Espla Prize and the Prix Arthur Honegger from the Fondation de France. She was asked to write the set piece, a Violin Concerto, for the finals of the 1976 Queen Elisabeth Competition, and has twice undertaken commissions from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, Washington.
Since 2006, all her manuscripts are kept in the Library of Congress. Jacqueline Fontyn is a member of the Belgian Royal Academy and in 1993 the King of Belgium granted her the title of baroness in recognition of her artistic merit.

Broad harmonic effects, rhythmic flexibility and never ceasing exploration of instrumental resources are the hallmarks of her constantly evolving musical language. Its expressive and poetic dimensions appeal to the sensitive listener keen to discover new horizons.
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Karel Goeyvaerts
Belgium, °1923 - 1993
From 1943 to 1947 Karel Goeyvaerts studied piano, harmony, counterpoint, fugue, composition and music history at the Royal Flemish Music Conservatory in Antwerp, and went on to study at the National Conservatory in Paris, where he pursued studies in composition under Darius Milhaud and analysis with Olivier Messiaen, and where he mastered the 'Ondes Martenot' with the inventor of this instrument, Maurice Martenot.

It was particularly Messiaen who left a great impression on the young Karel Goeyvaerts. The Sonata for 2 Pianos, written in 1950-51, can, for instance, be seen as a synthesis of certain of Messiaen's ideas with Webern's application of dodecaphony, of which Goeyvaerts made detailed analyses. This sonata was to have a major influence on the young generation of avant-gardists in general and Karlheinz Stockhausen in particular. Witness to this are the many personal and musical links between the two men, the extensive correspondence, and compositions by Stockhausen which almost literally took over the basic concept of this sonata (for instance, Kreuzspiel). In 1953, Goeyvaerts and Stockhausen, together with several other composers, realised the first music produced by means of electronic generators (in the studios of the WDR in Cologne).

In 1957 Karel Goeyvaerts temporarily withdrew from the musical world, although he continued to compose. In 1970, he was appointed by the Belgian Radio and Television (BRT) as producer at the Institute for Psycho-Acoustic and Electronic Music (IPEM) in Ghent. After several years, he became the head producer for New Music at Belgian Radio 3 (the classical channel) in Brussels. In June 1985 he was chosen Chairperson of the International Composers' Rostrum a prestigious and active association under the auspices of the UNESCO International Music Council.

Karel Goeyvaerts was a member of the Royal Academy for Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium. In 1992, he was nominated as first holder of the KBC Chair for New Music in the department of Musicology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. This position required him to teach a course for final-year undergraduates and to write a composition. The composition Alba per Alban, which he was writing to fulfil the obligations of this position, remained unfinished at the time of the composer's sudden death in 1993.
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Willem Kersters
Belgium, °1929 - 1998
From 1945 Willem Kersters studied at the Royal Conservatory of his native town Antwerp, where he earned first prizes in solfège, harmony and piano. He then furthered his studies at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels under Jean Louël (counterpoint), Jean Absil and Marcel Quinet (fugue), Marcel Poot (composition) and René Defossez (orchestral conducting).

After receiving his diploma in music education, he worked for several years at secondary schools in Tienen, Leuven and Aarschot. From 1961 to 1968 he was a music programmer at the regional broadcast in Limburg of the BRT (Belgian Radio and Television). From 1962 he also held functions at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, first as a teacher of harmony, and later as the head composition teacher. In addition, he became the head of the theory department at the Maastricht Conservatory in 1967. Among his pupils may be cited Alain Craens, Koen Dejonghe, Jan De Maeyer, Luc Van Hove, Wim Henderickx and Marc Verhaegen. In 1989 he stopped teaching at these two conservatories.

As a composer, Willem Kersters received numerous awards both in Belgium and abroad, including the Second Count de Launoit Grand Prize in the International Queen Elisabeth Composition Competition in 1961 for the ballet Triomf van de Geest (Le Triomphe de l'Esprit, 1959), the City of Trieste Prize in 1963 for his Second Symphony (1963), and an award for his Second String Quartet (1964) in the International Composition Competition for String Quartets in Liège in 1965. In 1968 and 1972, he won two awards for his complete output, the Eugène Baie Prize from the Province of Antwerp and the SABAM Prize (from the Belgian asscociation for authors' rights). Kersters composed the obligatory piano concerto for the 1978 edition of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. At the end of 1990, he was elected a member of the Royal Academy for Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium.
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Jean-Marie Simonis
Belgium, °1931
Jean-Marie Simonis (1931) is a laureate of the Brussel's Royal Academy of Music, where he got several distinctions. he won the Prize of Rome as well as several composition prizes, among which the SABAM Prize for the whole of his works.

His Cantilène (Cantilena) for violin and orchestra was the imposed concerto for the final round at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1985. In 1975 and in 1978, his Evocations and his Notturno were already chosen for the semi-finals.

Honorary professor at the Royal Academy of Music of Brussel's, Jean-Marie Simonis has taught at the Queen Elisabeth Musical Chapel ans he is a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium since 1985.

He has composed a lot of symphonic, vocal and instrumental works. Most of his works have been published and a dozen have been recorded on plates or CD's.
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Piano 2020 postponed to May 2021
How the competition unfolds
H.M. Queen Mathilde
Piano Competitions' Juries
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