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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Irina Arkhipova
- 2010
Irina Arkhipova originally studied architecture but switched to voice and studied with Malisheva, graduating in 1953. That same year she won an international singing competition in Warsaw. She began studies with Savransky at the Moscow Conservatory and from 1954 to 1956 sang with the Sverdlovak Opera where her roles included Marina in Boris Godunov, Eboli in Don Carlos, Charlotte in Werther and Marfa in Khovanshchina. Her first appearance at the Bolshoi Theater was as Carmen in 1956 which became one of her most famous roles. The Bolshoi became her operatic home and she sang all of greatest roles there. At the Bolshoi she was especially noted for roles in Queen of Spades, War and Peace, Tsar's Bride and Mazeppa as well as her earlier roles in Boris Godunov, Don Carlos and Khovanshchina. After 1960, she began to appear outside Russia and first won fame as Carmen in Naples. She sang Helene in War and Peace at Teatro alla Scala in 1964 where in later seasons she sang Marina in Boris Godunov and Marfa in Khovanshchina.

Her first American appearance was in a recital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with John Wustman as accompanist. Her sensational performance of Azucena at the Orange Festival in 1968 brought her even more international acclaim. Her San Francisco Opera debut came in 1972 as Amneris. In 1975, she made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, as Azucena and in 1988 she returned to London as Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera. Although she sang at the Metropolitan Opera House with the Bolshoi Theater several times, she did not sing with the Metropolitan Opera until 1997 when she sang Filippievna in Eugene Onegin at the age of seventy-two. She also appeared at the opera houses in Berlin, Paris, Hamburg, Lyon, Marseille, Belgrade and the Savonlinna Festival. She directed several opera productions as she moved into semi-retirement. She was married to heldentenor Vladislav Piavko. In 1993, a voice competition was set up in her name.

Her recorded legacy is vast but much of it has only been available in Russia. While her Marina in Boris Godounov was reissued by Melodiya, her Eboli in Don Carlos, Joan in the Maid of Orleans by Tchaikovsky and Laura in Dargomizhsky's The Stone Guest are still unavailable. Almost none of her wonderful song recitals are currently available. In particular, the songs of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Mussorgsky bring out the best in her interpretive art.
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Martina Arroyo
United States of America
From the stages of the world’s most prestigious opera houses - New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera, London’s Covent Garden, Milan’s La Scala, the Vienna State Opera, and the Buenos Aires Teatro Colón - to the concert halls of Salzburg, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and New York - the name of Martina Arroyo (New York) has become synonymous with music-making of the highest order. Famous for her interpretations of Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, and Mozart, she is equally at ease with contemporary music. She has made more than 50 recordings, including major operas and orchestral performances with internationally renowned conductors. She is a Distinguished Professor Emerita of the faculty of Indiana University, a Trustee of Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was a member of the National Endowment for the Arts for six years, and was a recipient of the first American Council for the Arts awards. Martina Arroyo is founder and artistic director of the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Inc., which sponsors two programmes for young singers, a ‘Role Development Class’ and ‘Prelude to Performance’, which is a six week summer residence programme. Martina Arroyo has been awarded the Kennedy Center Honor, as well as honorary doctorates from several universities and institutions, including the Juilliard School, Hunter College, the New England School of Music, and Rutgers University.
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Jane Berbié
France
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Ria Bollen
Belgium
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Christiane Eda-Pierre
Martinique, France, °1932
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Robert Gartside
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Yvonne Minton
Australia
Yvonne Minton was one of the great mezzo-sopranos of the late sixties and seventies. Having begun her singing studies in Australia, she came to London in 1961 for further study. In 1964 she joined the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as a soloist where her many successes included the roles of Octavian, Sesto, Didon, Orfeo, Fiordiligi, Kundry, Brangane, Frika and Marina. She was soon sought after by the main opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic, appearing at all the major European and American Opera Houses including Bayreuth and the Salzburg Festival. She was a regular guest at the Opera Houses of Cologne and Paris where she took part in the first production of Lulu conducted by Pierre Boulez and recorded by Deutsche Grammophon. Alongside her operatic career, Yvonne Minton has also been an active concert singer. Her back catalogue is impressive and embraces both her opera and concert work. She focuses her activities now on teaching young singers, taking part in an advanced voice training programme in Marseilles and conducting master classes.
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Vladislav Piavko
Russian Federation
Vladislav Piavko was the leading tenor of the Bolshoi Opera for about 25 years. His interpretations of Aida and Il Trovatore, Tosca and Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Boris Godunov, Khovantshina, Iolanta, The Queen of Spades (Pikovaja Dama) are among the brightest pages of the Bolshoi Opera of the 20th century. He is an excellent performer of modern music, his Sergej (Lady Makbeth of Mzensk by Dmitry Shostakovich) and Nozdrev (The Dead Souls by Rodion Shedrin) have achieved a great success.

Vladislav Piavko's performances on the European opera stages with world famous singers as his partners (Gena Dimitrova, Anna Tomova-Sintova, Raina Kabaivanska, Berit Lindholm, etc) strengthened the international prestige of the Russian vocal school and opera performing art. His performance of the title part in Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff in Livorno (1984) was a world sensation : as Russian tenor he was only the fourth singer for 100 years who was able to sing this extremely difficult music. For these performances he was awarded special Medals of Honour.

His record of Khovantshina was awarded the Prize of the Academy of Music of France, the record of The Dead Souls was awarded by the Critic Choice Prize (Great Britain). In 2006 Vladislav Piavko recorded Otello by Verdi, as a special project for the 40th anniversary of his artistic activity with Moscow opera singers Irina Arkadieva as Dezdemona and Evgeny Polikanin as Jago.

Keeping his own artistic activity as a singer, Vladislav Piavko also concentrates on pedagogical and social activity. He devotes himself to the professional support and promotion of young Russian opera singers and musicians and gives master classes in Russia and abroad. He is a member of jury of a number of International Vocal Contests and First Vice-President of the International Music Union of Russia and the Irina Arkhipova Foundation. He organises music festivals, public and charitable concerts, records, radio and TV broadcast. He is the artistic leader of the International Opera Festival in Cheljabinsk and of the very popular projects “Russian Tenors’ Parade” and “Russian Lied of two centures - from Mikhail Glinka to Georgy Sviridov”.

Born in 1941 in Krasnoyarsk, Vladislav Piavko graduated in 1965 from the Russian Theatre Academy, Moscow and successfully passed the audition to the Bolshoi Opera. In 1966 he made his debut in the Bolshoi as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly by Puccini and sang there as the first tenor until 1989. From 1979-1985 he has taught at the Russian Theatre Academy and currently is a professor at the State Moscow Conservatory. From 1989-1996 he was a soloist of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin.
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Hermann Christian Polster
Germany
Born in Leipzig, the bass Hermann Christian Polster is highly regarded in the field of oratorio. He started his musical training with the Dresden Kreuzchor. He continued his musical studies with his father - Fritz Polster - and went on to study musicology at the University of Leipzig. His international career led him to perform in both concerts and oratorios, for example with the Kreuzchor in Dresden and the Thomanerchor, the Bachsolisten, and the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. He has performed throughout the world with many leading conductors, and has appeared on radio and television and recorded for several record labels. Hermann Christian Polster taught at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Hochschule in Leipzig. He gives frequent international master classes and often sits on juries at singing competitions.
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Vera Rozsa-Nordell
, °1917 - 2010
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Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
, °1915 - 2006
Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was the consummate soprano who appeared in the world's greatest concert halls, from Covent Garden to La Scala and the Metropolitan in New York. She was perhaps even more admired as a lieder-singer.

The daughter of a Prussian schoolmaster, she was born in 1915 near Posen, Germany - now in Poland. She received her early musical training in Berlin but started her professional career with the Vienna State Opera. She toured with the company and, as the Countess in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, found what was to become one of her signature roles. At the end of World War II, Walter Legge, then an assistant director at Covent Garden, went to Vienna on a talent-spotting trip. He met Dame Elisabeth and in due course married her in 1953 in Epsom, England. Afterwards she made her home in London and took British citizenship, though she remained essentially an international singer.

Good-looking, full of vivacity and charming, Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was also a woman of fine intellect and a fanatically hard worker. She used her beautiful soprano voice with impeccable artistry and was a splendid actress. Of her operatic roles, perhaps the one that suited her best was that of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier. She had a big repertory of songs, including works by Benjamin Britten, Schubert, Brahms and Hugo Wolf. Her interpretation of the latter was distinctive in the way she coloured each syllable of each word.

She would divide her time between lieder recitals and opera performances for the rest of her career. Her last operatic performance was in Brussels in 1971 as the Marschallin. In 1976, Cambridge University gave her a rarely-awarded honorary doctorate of music. When her husband died in 1979, she announced that she would not sing in public again. She did, however, continue to lecture and give her masterclasses - some of which were shown on the BBC.

When Britain, her adopted country, made her a Dame in 1992, it provoked controversy about her early links with the Nazi Party that would disturb the tranquillity of her later years. She had been boycotted for several years in the United States for the same reason. But there was never any doubt about her determination to exploit every opportunity to establish herself as a force in her profession. Throughout her career she sought constantly the adulation of the audience, though she scornfully dismissed any suggestion that she was a diva. She will be remembered by many radio listeners, however, as the castaway who chose seven of her own records when she appeared on Desert Island Discs.

She moved to Switzerland in later life before settling in Vorarlberg, Austria.
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Graziella Sciutti
Italy, °1927 - 2001
Described by Alan Blyth as a 'supreme conjuror with the Italian language' in the recent Wigmore Hall centenary volume, the Italian soprano Graziella Sciutti excelled above all in soubrette roles, in which her good looks and vivacious stage presence complemented a moving if never large voice and impeccable diction. She had few rivals in this repertoire during the postwar period, and even became known as the 'Callas of the Piccola Scala'.

While still a student at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, she sang in Bach's St Matthew Passion under Karajan in Rome. In 1951 she made a big impression in her first major role, as Lucy in Menotti's one-act opera The Telephone at the Aix festival. Further roles at Aix followed, including Mozart's Susanna, Zerlina and a celebrated Despina. She went on to perform in most of Europe's major opera houses before turning to directing, producing operas all over the US and in Europe in the 1980s and '90s; she won an award for her 1997 Bohème for the New York City Opera.

Among her recordings are her Carolina in Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto under Sonzogno at La Scala, recorded in 1956. Her engaging Susanna, which she sang at Glyndebourne and recorded for HMV, was considered 'lively but a little thin-voiced' by Alan Blyth. In Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri (EMI) her Elvira was considered by Richard Osborne 'a delight, but you don't buy L'italiana for Elvira'. She recorded Zerlina for Giulini's 1959 Don Giovanni (EMI).
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Eric Tappy
Swiss tenor, born in Lausanne, Eric Tappy has been prominent on the international scène for nearly 30 years, as much for oratorios as for opera where he is thought to be the perfect performer of baroque pieces and of Monteverdi, in particular. In 1968, he received the Prix Edison du Disque for his interpration of Orfeo. Until 1981, the date when he announced his retirement from the musical scene, he was one of the leading interpreters of Mozart, performing on the world's leading stages. He sang at numerous international festivals, including Salzburg, notably in the production of Ponnelle-Levine.
His repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary music, including the works of Stravinsky and his preferred roles such as Pelléas, Alwa (Lulu) and Lensky. He has sung under the direction of leading conductors such as Ansermet, Kleiberth, Kubelik, Karajan, Sawallisch, Levine and Harnoncourt, and has made many recordings, films and premieres.
As of 1981 he instigated and directed the Atelier d'Interprétation vocale et dramatique of the Lyon Opera House and was later, until 1999, Professor at the Conservatoire de Genève. In 1994 he was appointed to the rank of Officer des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. His combined teaching of vocal techniques, performance and direction has led him to be invited to give master classes in Salzburg, Brussels, Copenhagen, Oslo, Gothenberg and Villecroze in the Var.
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José Van Dam
Belgium
The Brussels-born bass baritone José Van Dam is one of today’s greatest singers. Since his debut in Paris in Les Troyens, he has been a regular guest at the world’s most prestigious opera houses and festivals (including the Paris Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala in Milan, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Metropolitan Opera, the Teatro Colón, and the festivals of Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, and Orange). His roles have included Falstaff, Simon Boccanegra, Philippe II (in Don Carlos), Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov, Amfortas (in Parsifal), the Flying Dutchman, and Wozzeck, to name but a few. His performance in the title role of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise was warmly received in Paris and Salzburg, at its premiere in 1983 and again in 1992. His operatic career has not prevented him from branching into oratorio and lieder, in which his repertoire is equally extensive ; he has sung under Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Georg Solti, and Seiji Ozawa, among others. In addition to boasting an impressive, award-winning discography, he has also appeared in films, most notably in the famous Le Maître de Musique. José Van Dam has received the titles of Kammersänger of the city of Berlin and of Chevalier in the order of the Légion d’Honneur. In August 1998, he was ennobled by King Albert II.
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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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